this is sad


this saddens me in many levels.  on a personal one, I've always enjoyed the more whimsical English names for Chinese dishes:  "Virgin chicken", "Buddha's delight", "Ants in a tree", "Eight treasures rice"…

the idea that,

The names of many Chinese dishes have historical, cultural, regional and political connotations that would not necessarily be understood by foreigners, (…)  But the poor English translations "either scare or embarrass foreign customers and may cause misunderstanding of China's diet habits".

is soooo depressing.  wouldn't a traveler want to learn about historical, cultural, regional and political connotations ? even if just to compare to one's own.

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13 thoughts on “this is sad

  1. "wouldn't a traveler want to learn about historical, cultural, regional and political connotations ?"mariser, really. You give the average American traveler way too much credit.McMooshu Pork. McChicken Wings. No translation needed.

  2. you are prob'bly right. still it is sad. I'm so interested on food culture(s): what folks eat, why is cooked the way it is, why is served the way it is, food history, table manners. I find it all so fascinating, I have a hard time accepting that others don't feel the same I think of traveling as a chance to eat stuff I don't get at home.

  3. Very interesting!See, I wouldn't know any of this stuff if you guys didn't post it! So, when I see McChicken Wings, I'll know to look further and dig deeper!On an exciting note, one of my dear friend's daughters might be there competing on the women's rowing team!!!

  4. In defense of the American tourist, have they really polled large numbers of travelers to see if they truly are put off by strange food names? My feeling is that the average population of any country is a lot more sensible than their reputation makes them appear. Or that anyone else gives them credit for.

  5. Excellent point, AM. The "American tourist" is probably often a cliche'. There are plenty of openminded travelers. I am also sure there are lots of those tourists who gave "American tourist" the bad name in the first place!

  6. It is sad. From the control standpoint and the "you just wouldn't understand" standpoint. I WANT to understand – or at least try. Or at least enjoy the experience of being ignorant while in a new place.

  7. Not just Americans. I'm thinking about all the times I get pissed off by other countries' governments when I hear about their outrageous policies and demands, and I have to remind myself that if I were to go interview John (or Juan or Jean) On-the-Street, I'd probably find his views are not that different than mine.

  8. Well, I, for one, have no problem with the correction of the oft used "steamed crap" to "steamed carp." I'm thinking that isn't one of those cultural uses you were lamenting losing, however.

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