Saturday, May 5, 2007

Revising Chinese Menu Items

How would you like eating such menu items as "Virgin Chicken", "Burnt Lion's Head" or even "Steamed Crap"?  What?  Those don't  sound appetizing to you?  Well, before you get to many ideas of what these things are, let me just tell you what they are.  These are just the garbled English translations you might find as menu items in China.  Virgin chicken is just a young chicken dish.  Burn lion's head is just Chinese style pork meatballs and steam crap is really steamed carp. 

But these intriguing monikers might soon be a thing of the past as the Beijing Tourism Bureau is looking to put the best foot forward for the upcoming Olympics in Beijing.  Part of that is eradicating such linguistic faux pas.  "These translations either scare or embarrass foreign customers and may cause misunderstanding on China's diet habits," the official Xinhua News Agency reported. 

This is just the latest efforts to clean up the city.  Others include things like lessons in not spitting, littering, and driving badly.  The Tourism Bureau has released a list of 2,753 proposed names for food and drink that don't have the bizarre and sometimes absurd translations.  The new names are based on things like ingredients, cooking method, taste, or the name of a person or place.  They have been working on these for over a year now.

Food & Beverage International

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