Oct 042011
 

Let us preface this by saying, humbly, that if I attempted to translate an American menu into Mandarin, what would result would look like stick figures doing a conga line. Now, with that humility out of the way, please sit back and laugh as hard as I did, perusing this dinner menu from a Chinese restaurant in the Bund district of Shanghai.

So which dish would YOU order? :)

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  42 Responses to “The Funniest Restaurant Food Menu of My China Travels”

  1. Some of the food names in Mandarin literal mean what they translate to English like stinky tofu in mandarin actually means stinky tofu in English. Although I think the crud is actually a very bad typo I hope :P

  2. The live chicken looks delicious, however the pig blood looks interesting. The mustard orchid explodes pig belly dish….does the explosion occur inside a pig’s belly? Some of these dishes should be on the Night Market.

  3. These dishes are very weird, but I might want to tasted the soup. I don’t need the chicken in the soup, though.

  4. I just realize that some of the food have meat in it. Did you know that there is kind of like the same dishes in this restaurant to the Chinese McDonald’s? They don’t have the same food compared to Boston. In Boston, there is usually sandwiches and french fries. In China, there is rice with some chicken to go with it too. I want to have the same McDonald’s in Boston because you can eat dinner there too.

  5. Hahahaaaaaaaaa!!!! TOO funny…but,that chicken in soup looks so scary. shredded chicken stirs and does what? stir-fry,stewing and no result? unacceptable! Hairy beans? this gives me the creeps.

  6. I wrote a haiku for you:

    mustard orchid burns
    vainly in the bean crud pot
    hiding secret spice

    :)

  7. The soup with the chicken on it looks do gross! It looks like they cooked it live. (so wrong and brutal) :( :D

  8. The chicken soup is… a little weird but I bet tastes good!

  9. I just realized that bean curd on the menu is actually just tofu.

  10. Only the names in English are wierd but if you know Chinese, the names are equally delious food! I would love to try the Deep-fried Smelly Bean Curd even though I ate it in Shaihai before. It is only smelly on the outside and is crunchy, soft and spicy on all sides. The Meat Meter of Olive Dish Sauteed French Beans should taste like beans in spicy sauces. The food on the menu looks and sounds like Cantonese food, not northern style.

    • Yum! Thanks for the interpretation! My favorite line of your comment is “It is only smelly on the outside” :)

  11. Yum, I would like to eat all these meals! Some of the names are really weird, but it still looks good.

  12. Let’s have a moment of silence for the chicken.

  13. Ew. Hairy bean? Burn a chick? Crud? That chicken soup scared me, you still have the chicken head attached to it like it’s eyeing you.

  14. Ms. Marshall, did you taste all of these dishes? The pickled pig with wine looks as if it wasn’t even cooked. The third picture looks very creepy, as if it was suppose to eat you!

  15. The Chicken soup looks a bit too fresh!

  16. OK, the restaurant needs to get a new translator.
    Burn A Chick= Spicy Chicken
    The boiler wraps up Flesh: Cooked Unpeeled Shrimp
    Vegetable From and Hairy Bean= Hairy been with Spices.
    Fried Bullfrogs with hot Spicy Sauce= Spicy Tadpoles :)
    Some of these are so ridiculous, I can’t even translate them, also they used TRADITIONAL Chinese, which almost nobody ever uses.

    • This is so helpful, Jason! Thank you!

    • I use traditional Mandarin, I grew up learning only traditional and all my relatives in Taiwan (even the young ones) learn it in school. So actually traditional is still very much used but for foreigners learning Mandarin it is of course much easier to learn simplified.

  17. The nice looking “Pig Blood” is actually pig blood with some preservatives. The preservatives gets the blood to harden to a bean curd – pudding combination that tastes disgusting.

  18. I will choose the, “fried bull frog with hot spicy sauce”. It is because it is spicy.

  19. When I saw the first dish, I started to laugh on what you thought about it. I think these dishes are really weird. They have the most weirdest pictures, too. Some of your captions also made me laugh. All the captions and pictures are really funny but I think the pickled pig tongue one was the most funniest. I can imagine you saying it.

  20. The reason why in the picture you took, the translation was strange because they do it directly. If I was to order something, I would order 年糕 or in English, Year Cake.

  21. My favorite ones are the “Chicken Soup”, “Burn A Chick”, and “Vegetable from & hairy bean”.

  22. Haha, one of your funniest posts yet :) I think my fave is the “braised bean crud”.

  23. I choose the brasied bean curd in clay pot because out of all the names this has got to be the most american sounding name.

  24. Hi Ms.Marshall, your trip to Shanghai, China looks so fun especially the restaurants there. In china, people there eat almost everything even humans, too. If I were there too, at the same restaurant I would have the same interpretations as you and my younger sister and I would take pictures of it, post it on facebook and have a good laugh about it. :)

  25. The translation for the dishes are so funny! xD
    “Mustard orchid explodes pig belly”, “The boiler wraps up flesh”, and “Stir-fry before stewing with no result eel back.”

  26. I think what you wrote for each of the recipes were really good at naming in your own way. I agree with Spencer Gao when he says to try jelly fish because it is really good!! You have got to try it, it is better than noodles and chicken if you cook it with soy sauce.

  27. Wow – amazing how this all translates.
    Most would probably not be as bad as the wording.
    You tell me – what did you order and was it any good?
    Good pics of the food and labels!
    Cheers,
    John D.Wilson

  28. If I weren’t so conscientious, I’d’ve stolen a menu from a restaurant we went to in Hangzhou and published it as conceptual poetry. Along the lines of “Burn the mustard orchid vainly,” but with many more moons, morning dragons, and long, elegantly nonsensical phrases.

  29. 0_0 It’s pretty good stuff. I like tendon jelly. You should try jellyfish sometime soon.

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