Those folks over there in Beijing (yep, the one in China) are still getting ready for the Olympics. (It's under Communist rule, what do you expect?) Currently, Beijing is offering the local restaurants an official English translation of the local dishes. Turns out, Chinese doesn't translate all that well to English and it's not much better if you do it the other way around (like a lot of things, really). In fact, some of the translations are down right frightening and would send any potential diner scurrying for the exit.
Let's look at a few examples. First up, appetizers. You tell me that you're going to go into a restaurant in Beijing (or anywhere else, for that matter) and order "husband and wife's lung slice" off of the menu. Correct. Marital pulmonary slab....as a freaking appetizer. Mmmm...doesn't that sound appetizing? NO! Of course not. But it has been miraculously and officially translated in English and you will now be able to order "beef and ox tripe in chili sauce". Sound better? A little? Yeah, I'm having a hard time with the "tripe" part myself. What else do they have?
- Dadi Restaurant is one of the first time-honored brands that offer Western food in Beijing. Set up in 1945, it was located in the West Chang’an Avenue which was called the Restaurant Street in Beijing, and outstood from the restaurants there by its Russian food. Later it moved to Xisi Crossroad and finally to the present location due to business requirement. Because the food and decoration of it are similar with Moscow Restaurant in Beijing and it locates in the urban area, hence the name “Mini Moscow Restaurant in the City.”
For starters, when your restaurant is named "Dadi Western Restaurant", you cannot say, "hence the name "Mini Moscow Restaurant in the City" because that's NOT the name! "Hence" is like saying "and that's why we call it this". But in order to do that, you actually have to call it that before you explain it! But that's not the only problem. Then we have a description of the food. Behold!
- As Dadi Restaurant started its business, it implemented the quality standard of being original. It offers Russian foods that focus on oil and color, and are oily and strong in flavor. Featured with sweet, sour, chili and salty tastes, it has rich variety of high, medium and low grades of foods. It is praise by common people in Beijing Consumable Western Restaurant because of its economical foods. Dadi Western Restaurant has created its featured dishes during dozens years business.
Well, I suppose if I'm in Beijing and I get a hankerin' for some low grade, oily food, I'll know just where to head over to. Until then (which will be right around, oh, never) I think I might want to see a menu first. Just in case. And I'm in luck! Here's a sampling of their menu items:
- Featured dishes: Chicken Roll with Butter, Ham Salad, Jilin Pawn, Pan Fried Hodgepodge, Roast Mandarin Fish with Milk, Stewed Beef in Pot, King Bakemeat, borsch, Fried Pork Chop
"Um, hello, BTB? You might need to have a word or two with the fine folks over at the Duyichu. Perhaps they could be more specific as to what the "food" in the "Fried Round Mass of Food" would consist of. Thanks."