Translation Practice Lesson 1

This is the end of the lesson. I thought maybe we could try to translate a menu and then show you guys something funny.

Here’s the menu:


The first thing you notice is that even with our limited vocabulary we can recognize 鱼,白菜,鸡,肉, 牛. There are also others that are recurring 片,水煮,辣子。Let’s start with these.

片 (piàn) is a measure word for things like tablets and leaves and also a noun meaning a piece or a slice

水煮 (shǔi zhǔ) means poach or I guess poached in this case, which means it has been simmered in stock probably

辣子 (là zi) is hot popper or chili, thus 辣 would be spicy!

So now we know that there are several spicy dishes and that three of them are broths with different kind of pieces of meats (鱼,肉,and 鳝). Woo. Although we don’t know what 鳝 means we can guess its some kind of seafood cause of the 鱼 radical. It’s actually eel and pronounced “shàn”.

The next dish, if we know are radical we know is 川香毛血旺 (chuān ? máo xuě ?) river-?-hair-blood-? Sounds terrible. And looking up the other characters doesn’t really help us either, 香 (xiāng) fragrant and 旺 (wàng) flourishing. It would be something like “flourishing blood hair with river fragrance”. I looked up a picture:


Also, got this:


So, it’s a soup (probably the one in the picture in the menu). Looking up parts of the dish I found that 毛血旺 is spicy pork blood. Oh, here in Colombia we have a soup that also uses blood, I use to drink it at my grandma’s when I was little, it was grey and gross. Anyways, what is up with the 川香?Guess what? It means something like “Szechuan style” 川 as in 四川 and the 香 makes it 四川香 “Sìchuān Fragrance” so that would make it “Sìchuān pork blood”. (That was a bit difficult). Though, at least knowing the radicals at least pointed us in the right direction with the blood (血).

The next one has some birds and a cow: 鸳鸯 (yuān yāng) mandarin duck and 肥牛 (féi niú) beef fat. I looked up a few pictures and the closest I got was:

So much food

It looks delicious. I don’t know if this is the dish, but if it is it seems like you get slices of duck and beef to dip in that yummy soup?

Next one is 云吞辣子鸡 (yún tūn là zi jī) “Clouds swallow chili pepper chicken”. I couldn’t find the exact picture, but I think it might be something like this:


It appears the “云吞” (clouds swallow) means that the chicken gets swallowed by dumpling paper that look like clouds and in this case, it’s specifically 辣子鸡 spicy chicken. I don’t know if the 云吞辣子鸡 is also in a soup, but maybe.

The next one is kind of more exotic. If you know your radicals you’d figure out that the 螺 has the insect radical 虫 (chóng) and so you have 辣子田螺 (làzi tiánluó) “Spicy river snails”. Here they are:


Then, we have 蒜香回锅 (suàn xiāng huí guō) “Garlic fragrance warmed over”. My question is what has a garlic fragrance that’s been warmed over? It looks like


排骨 (pái gǔ) or spare ribs, looks so good.

Now, what’s up with 白菜荷包蛋 (bǎi cài hé bāo dàn), cabbage pouch egg? Maybe it’s like an egg inside a cabbage pouch… Well, I have no idea and google wasn’t much help. Do any of you know?

Hopefully we can figure out the next one: 剁椒鱼头 (duò jiāo yú tóu) “Chopped Chili Fish Head”. I think that’s pretty straight forward.

And last we have: 麻辣鱼块  (má là yú kuài) Spicy Fish Pieces. Apparently, 麻辣 is a spicy that tastes like Chinese pepper and pimiento. Cool.

That was fun. As promised: So silly.

Hope that didn’t make you hungry.


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