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"Steamed Crap" Anyone?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Hungry visitors to next summer's Beijing Olympics won't have to choose between "steamed crap" and "virgin chicken" if Chinese authorities succeed in ridding restaurant menus of mangled English translations.

The Beijing Tourism Bureau has released a list with 2,753 proposed names for dishes and drinks, designed to replace bizarre and sometimes ridiculous translations on menus, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.

Foreigners are often stumped by dish names such as "virgin chicken" (a young chicken dish) or "burnt lion's head" (Chinese-style pork meatballs). Other garbled names include "The temple explodes the chicken cube" (kung pao chicken) or "steamed crap" (steamed carp).

"These translations either scare or embarrass foreign customers and may cause misunderstanding on China's diet habits," Xinhua said.

It's the latest effort by Beijing Olympics organizers to clean up the city and ensure that the best image is presented to the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected next summer.

Etiquette campaigns are afoot to stamp out bad manners such as jumping ahead in line, spitting, littering and reckless driving. The revised menu names are part of an effort to ban unintelligible English, known as "Chinglish," that abounds on signs everywhere.

A team set up by the Beijing Municipal Foreign Affairs Office and Beijing Tourism Bureau has been working on the menu names for more than a year, Xinhua said. Translators developed names for dishes based on one of four categories: ingredients, cooking method, taste, or the name of a person or place.

For example, a dish with mushrooms and ducks' feet will be listed as simply "Mushroom-Duck's Foot." Others proposed names include "Fish Filets in Hot Chili Oil" and "Crispy Chicken."

The tourism bureau is soliciting public opinion on the translations. Once a final decision is made on the list of names, they will be used in restaurants across China, Xinhua said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

(Copyright ©2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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