Olympics Trigger Linguistic Makeover for Strange Chinese Meals

 - Jun 21, 2008
References: africa.reuters
The Chinese have a long tradition of colourful names for their dishes. Take the popular dish kung pao chicken for example. It is a traditional Sichuan dish. It is thought to have been named in honour of a Qing (late 19th century) official whose official title “Gōng Bǎo” led to the dish we all know and love.

In the interest of feeding the incoming hordes, the organizing committee for the Beijing Olympics have had to deal with the translation of restaurant menus into English. The process was contentious, requiring many rounds of discussions in order to come up with an official translation list for restaurants in book form. Nationalistic ire has already erupted over the bland linguistic makeovers. One internet commenter said “I don't like this new naming method, it's abandoning Chinese tradition. There are many stories in the names of these dishes.” Indeed.

Alas, visitors to the Games will now miss out on those stories as ”Husband and Wife's Lung slice”, an appetiser has become “ beef and ox tripe in chili sauce”. ”Mapo tofu” is the new name for ”Bean Curd made by a Pock-Marked Woman”. The delightfully named ”Chicken without a Sexual Life” is now a dull ”Steamed Pullet”. They should have kept both forms to please the traditionalists and delight the tourists!