Menu for Illusion Only

on Saturday, May 30, 2009

It's Friday night. To celebrate, my wife and I went to have dinner at a Hong Kong style Restaurant which we had not been to for awhile. After struggling through the heavy Friday evening traffic, it felt wonderful to be seated at the table, sipping Chinese tea and looking at the large menu.

And then, I found my self staring at the menu. Staring, staring and then laughing. The menu was mostly in Chinese but they were also considerate enough to include an English translation and there is where the fun started. Here are some of the gems:-

"The pictures are only for illusion only."

"The food comes complete with ingredients"

"Like hero and beautiful woman,
good food goes with good wine.
We recommend our corn no saur wine."

"Try our fresh lazy river fish."


In honor of such literary brilliance, I offer the following other jewels for your reading pleasure.

I know Chinese have a reputation of eating anything but cowboys and germs........really?
And here's a bonus picture. When you don't know what it is called, just stick with what you know.


29 comments:

Owen said...

Oh my, just a bit linguistically "challenged" ! Beautiful descriptions there... and quite a mouthful to pronounce, some of them... "I'd like a bowl of living bowel, please, that's right, the bowel."

And no frog legs on the menu?

Ruth D~ said...

Love it! And the curved yellow fruit . . . priceless.

xup said...

Hilarious!! I love reading the Chinese translations of stuff....products bought in Canada, made in China.. instructions in Chinese/English translation = loads of fun. So what's the cowboy thing? What did they really mean?

citizen of the world said...

My favorite food comes complete with ingredients.

VioletSky said...

Wonder if the 'fresh lazy river fish' was 'slow-cooked'? Love the curved yellow fruit.

cabcree said...

those are great! thanks for sharing! hope you all had a good time and laugh. :)

Jocelyn said...

Oh, there's just something very dear about "curved yellow fruit."

I always howl at such sincere attempts at translation...makes me want to order even miscellaneous germs.

jmb said...

Such things cause us endless amusement but I can't help imagining some poor person (even a group) trying to come up with something but having very rudimentary language skills.

Well when all is said and done successful communication is what counts, but unfortunately I haven't got a clue what some of them mean so he/she/they has/ve missed the boat after all.

the watercats said...

Can I have a big bowl of immerses of fish heads pleease!....
Fish heads fish heads roly poly fish heads..... etc etc.. eat em up yUm!... I wish we had a resteraunt round here like that, I'd live there!

the walking man said...

I wonder if anyone has thought of starting a business offering translations from Chinese to English.

It would add real meaning to the term "will work for food"

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Owen,
Why would you want frog legs when you can get living bowel?

Ruth,
Next time you go grocery shopping, consider picking up a dozen oranges, a bunch of purples and the yellow fruit.

kat said...

Now I am thinking that My Menus leave a lot to be desired!

kat said...

We do have a Cowboy Steak

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Xup,
The menu is trying to convey that this dish consists of "veal" - the meat of young calves. But the translator used "boy" instead of "young" cause a boy is a young man. Instead of "cattle" he/she used "cow". Hence veal becomes cowboy. I don't know where the "thing" came from. :)

cz,
Don't you just hate those dishes which come with missing ingredients?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Violetsky,
I'm guessing that the non-lazy fish were harder to catch.

cabcree,
sadly, the comedy was better than the food. :(

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Jocelyn,
I myself prefer oranges and a bunch of purples.

jmb,
Someone once tried writing a German- Spanish dictionary by using a German-English dictionary and an English-Spanish dictionary. That was also quite hilarious.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Watercats,
Why, I guess the menu is quite attractive to you cool water cats.

Mark,
I'm not sure I would work for a big bowl of living bowels.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Ah, Kat,
you may have cowboy steak but they have a whole cowboy leg!

Molly said...

I'll have the leg of cowboy please, medium rare......

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I laughed so loud I woke up my husband. Fresh, lazy fish have probably had a bad upbringing, but I draw the line at leg of cowboy and pig livings bowel. Also, nix on kidneys, no matter how flowery.

I do love curved yellow fruit, though.

Bon appetit!

Janice Thomson said...

How hilarious - love that last one!
What the heck is : white of immerses three pill? Goodness I'd be dead afraid to try that one...(pun intended)

Sally's World said...

LOL...great, wonder what the cowboy legs come with???

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Molly,
Now we know why the vast herds of cowboys seem to have disappeared from the American West.

hearts,
My apologies to Flip for causing him to lose sleep. Being in the City by the Bay, you should have some good examples of translation errors yourself.

janice,
Some of those descriptions border on poetry, don't cha think?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Sally,
Probably with buffalo chips! :)

On a limb with Claudia said...

ahahahahahahahahhaahahahha!! Well done!

I don't actually know what "Hong Kong Style" is. We have Mandarin or Cantonese here but not Hong Kong. How is it different? (LOVE food!;)

Hey, you won mutterings last week - I'll email you tomorrow for details.

geewits said...

Curved yellow fruit! That's precious. I guess it has been a well kept secret until now that Malaysians eat cowboys. Who knew?

Owen said...

While out scouring the blogosphere this evening, I could not help noticing a wily looking squirrel cracking nuts in a post done on 27 May here :

http://joannadover.blogspot.com/

Thought your most eminent squirrel self should be informed... ;-)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Claudia,
Well, I think that Hong Kong cuisine is a blander (as in simpler flavors versus richer sauces)off-shoot of Cantonese cooking but it also has some Western influences like the use of cheese in some rice dishes. However, their various noodles and BBQ meats are particularly popular.

Oh, and thanks for alerting me to my winnings! Ooooo, how exciting.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

geewits,
Well, among the Chinese here pork is more popular so I guess we are more likely to eat "pig boys". On the other hand, the Muslim population prefer young goat meat which I guess we would call "kids"!

Owen,
My goodness. Your blogosphere wanderings are truly epic in proportions. Thanks for the link. That squirrel image would look very nice as a stained glass work.

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