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Shortly before the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government made an attempt to improve the translation of Chinese menu by publishing guidelines and samples.  I have to track that down as it would be quite a fun notice to read.   Finding and deciphering these hilarious English menu is now a sport.  The following is an excerpt from a light-hearted article on Chinese food culture written by Fuchsia Dunlop.  I blogged about one of her books in an earlier post: “gristly, slithery, slimy, squelchy, crunchy, gloopy”


Terrible mistakes on Chinese restaurant menus provoke the mirth of foreigners all over the world. Who could forget being offered “burnt lion’s head” for dinner? A quick internet search brings up reports of such delicacies as “benumbed hot Huang fries belly silk” and “the fragrance explodes the cowboy bone”. My own personal favourite is actually from the chic pink-and-white packaging of a biscuit whose name was translated as “iron flooring cremation” (a one-by-one literal translation of the characters tie ban shao, which should have read “baked on an iron griddle”).


Burnt lion’s head is actually sauteed giant meatballs in a brown sauce.

As a matter of fact, the “fragrance explodes the cowboy bone” is one of my favorite dish. It is really veal rib chops stir-fried in very high heat with scallion and a brown sauce.  Sorry, I cannot find a picture of it online but this packaged brown sauce for Cantonese stir-fry could probably be used to make the dish.

For the full article that explains “chicken without sexual life”, “husband and wife’s lung slices”, and many others, goto:   FT.com / Food & Drink – Unsavoury characters.

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