Best Menu Item: Fun with Translations

So visiting a new town brings potential for adventure – some fun, some . . . less so, but still Chinese FoodI love to travel. One of my favorite activities is to observe translations – literal and figurative. Literal translations are things like Chinese food menus translated to English. Figurative might be the way folks in New Jersey make salsa.

I’m daring but not stupid. No way I’m going for salsa in Jersey when I’m only out of Texas for a few days . . .

Instead, this is about a Chinese food menu I picked up last night. After wandering the streets of Newark around Penn Station (why couldn’t they have named it something other than Penn Station . . . this is like all the Peachtree Rd/Cl/Dr/Ave in Atlanta!), back to wandering, I decided to stay in for the evening when it came time for dinner.

The hotel restaurant had been strained to produce a decent reuben and a decent philly cheesesteak so it was time for options. The front desk recommended #1 Garden.

Which again made me wonder, did the family that runs this place think they landed in NYC at The Penn Station near Madison Sq Garden? Did they cry when they realized that instead they landed in Newark at penn station near the Prudential Center? Better hockey team over the past 15 years, but . . . it’s Newark.

#1 Garden has a colorful menu with all the standards. And it has a variety of translations – English and Spanish. It’s kind of like a piece of home.

Under each heading: Beef, Pork, Chicken, etc. they state that your order comes with White rice. For brown rice, add $0.75. Pretty standard, nothing fancy here.

So  imagine my surprise when I see under the Chef’s Specialheading:

(w. White Rice) (w. Broccoli Rice Add $0.75) the Special Taste You Can’s Replace


Broccoli Rice, fantastic!

Is it green? Is it white rice with broccoli pieces? Is it “rice” derived from broccoli – remember, I lived in California for a while….

I want the broccoli rice!

But then I noticed the “Can’s” and realized, oh,

. . . they don’t really mean broccoli rice, do they?

I bet they mean Brown Rice.


I didn’t order the mysterious broccoli rice, but that little bit of potential sparked a series of new food ideas. I’ll send my request to the Food Network, I’m sure they’re just dying to hear about this.

Have a great week.


Image courtesy of  Plaid Ninja

20 thoughts on “Best Menu Item: Fun with Translations”

  1. Broccoli Rice sounds good…
    I can’t have rice since I’m on Paleo but I bet I can have broccoli rice if it’s made out of broccoli!

    As a free-lance translator, I’ve seen some pretty funny translations come my way for review, specifically in the cosmetics industry. In comparison, broccoli rice ain’t too bad. 😉

  2. Hi Lady, restaurant translations are a funny thing
    Newark also is a significant industrial port and boast actor John Amos and musician Paul Simon as well as author Philip Roth as being from there.

    I worked on a halfway house project there the summer before college with my high school church group. It was quite interesting and a great experience.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell

    Single Baby Boomer Dating Success Expert

  3. I had the same opinion of the Philly cheesesteak and the burger at the hotel Restaurant. Lets just say Newark ain’t my kinda town. Next time Get Kevin over to Hartford and i’ll cook for everyone western style.

  4. This reminds me of a TV add years ago. The cowboys are around the campfire having the evening chow and someone notices that the bottle the picante sauce came in says “Made in New York City.” Then they all turn to the cook and give him the evil eye.

    It was funny, and memorable, but you know I don’t know the name of the product the ad was promoting.

    Martin O’Connor

  5. I’m an avid fan of bad english — i love it so! I’ve seen a menu for steak at a japanese restaurant. The cover had all the steaks on it and asked, “How do you like to be done?”


  6. Very funny! I wish you had tried the broccoli rice so that you could have told us about it.
    Anyway, hope your travels are going splendidly.

  7. You should have tried the Broccolli Rice. What are you, some kind of wimp? 🙂

    Love to hear your idea for a Food Network show. The ones where they go off-the-beaten path are good. Did you ever watch Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay?

  8. Oh how I love the translations! The baby bathtub thermometers that I use in my babysitting kits come from China. The back of the package reads: “This product can be exactly reading water’s temperature. Which convenience and safety while using. Making baby’s more enjoyable while bathing. Pay attention to: This products is suitable temperature only from Oc degree to” A little further down there are a few more poorly translated lines, but you get the picture! I would’ve had to order the broccoli rice just to see what I got! lol Great Entertaining post!

    Lisa McLellan

  9. I nver heard of brocolli rice but I’m with you on this one – does it mean it has pieces of brocolli in the rice – then bring it on. I like both and the combination sounds healthy.

  10. Apparently the British were responsible for exporting many of the most popular indian curry recipes to India! – mainly the richer and more delicately spiced dishes. I haven’t had broccoli rice, but vegetable pilau rice is a Friday night staple.

  11. I’m in Mexico right now and I have to say I like American Mexican better than Mexican Mexican.

    Martin O’Connor

  12. LOL funny. I enjoy trying new things but prefer them to be vegetarian…….just in case I’m eating fuffy… I wouldn’t go for the broccoli rice since it sounds genetically modified. Hope you’re having fun in Newark.

    Keri Eagan

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