Beijing Olympics: “Tastes Like Chicken”

I love languages, and I love food. When the two come together – especially with hilarious results – the world needs to know about it. Thus, this Reuter’s article is the subject of my post today.

It seems someone has brought to Beijing‘s attention that within just a few weeks, the masses will descend on their fair city – and they’re going to want to eat something. More specifically, something they can understand. Thus, the government has made available to all restaurants, an English translation service for a wide variety of popular dishes.

And now, for your culinary and linguistic pleasure, tonight’s specials, old and new:

Husband and wife’s lung slice
Beef and ox tripe in chili sauce

Bean curd made by a pock-marked woman
Mapo tofu

Chicken without sexual life
Steamed pullet

Bon apetit!

(Yes, those are the real translations.  No one is that creative at 8.30 in the morning.)

3 thoughts on “Beijing Olympics: “Tastes Like Chicken”

  1. ma pa dofu (also known as mapo tofu) is my favorite chinese comfort dish, and r. and i make it regularly (cheap ingredients, totally satisfying). the translation is funny, but it’s all about the story behind how the dish evolved. chinese cookbooks are a little bit like ready a fairy-tale book, because nearly every dish has a story as to how it got its name.

    mapa dofu’s name came about because of a customer asking a street vendor if she could mix in some tofu with the pork in the dish she was making him. in some versions, the customer is pock-marked, in others, it’s the cook. the dish became well-known because its taste is improved by the mixing of the two ingredients together, and maybe because a new culinary secret was revealed: that mixing meat and tofu together is a great combination (the tofu takes on the flavor of the meat).

    next time you come across a chinese cookbook with english translation, read some of the stories behind the names of the dishes!

  2. Im still rolling on the carpet!! thinking of the poor chick with no sex life..awsome
    just for the record the pool is now up and running and also the new table for the al fresco intratainment.. have i tempted you enough?
    Also i have improoved the ginger cake you love so much…allora?

  3. Yup, was gonna say, “Pockmarked Mother Chen’s Bean Curd” is the name in one of my Chinese cookbooks, and man is it a great dish. Be happy to make you some once I get down there; it’s a winner.

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