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Badly Ordering Food by Menu Photos During China Travel

What I ended up ordering from the photo. Oh.
What I ended up ordering from the photo. Hmm…

You’re hungry, you’re in Beijing, China, and you’ve stumbled into a restaurant where the menu is in pretty Mandarin characters with big pictures.

“Surely,” you tell yourself as you walk in the door, “pictures are all I need to order something yummy.”

Then you find yourself staring at the options on the wall displayed in the lower left photo in this article. Hmm… There appear to be six different choices, each with rice (that much is clear), greens, something round and brown, and then a different mystery meat in each square.

It takes some debating with your friends, but you finally conclude that the brown orb on each plate is an egg that has been steeped in some sort of sauce. Good enough! But what about the meats? Look at this photo with me and play along with this real-life guessing game.

Can you guess the mystery meat in each box?
Can you guess the mystery meat in each box?

Box 1: Clearly a chicken leg. Great.

Box 2: Duck leg? Looks crunchy and delicious.

Box 3: Um… steak?

Box 4: What the heck?! Pig hoof? Muppet hand??

Box 5: Um, more steak?

Box 6: Entrails of some sort.

I chose Box 3, thinking it was steak. It arrived and was not steak. It was… um… we think kidney? Or some other sort of organ. See the first photo of this article and weigh in. It looked like an infinity sign and leered at me, and I couldn’t get up the nerve to eat it, no matter how much I hate wasting food. The rest of the plate was very good, though!

The moral of the story: you can tell a lot less about food from photos than you think! And there exists a part of some animal that is shaped like an infinity sign.

For an article on blindly ordering food in Thailand, click here!


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Friday 5th of April 2013

Well...almost better than tongue and kidney! But absolutely better than McD's : )


Friday 5th of April 2013

Hehe-- True :)


Sunday 9th of December 2012

This made me chuckle. Remember something very similar in Nanjing, stomach was rumbling something awful that night! As much as it pains me, sometimes it just pays to go to mcdonalds....


Sunday 9th of December 2012


Sofia L.

Friday 2nd of March 2012

That's so funny! By looking at those pictures, I thought that they were pretty good and chose the 1st one since I actually know what that is, but I hate how the food on the picture isn't what it seems it is.

Dalia Morales

Friday 17th of February 2012

Well you know the saying, "You never know what it is until you try it." All of that food looks really good, maybe not the best food int he world, but really yummy. :)

Christine Yu

Saturday 28th of January 2012

Even being Chinese, this scares me... A lot. I eat unusual food but nothing as close as this.

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