'Chicken without sexual life' off menu in Beijing

By Xin Dingding (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-09-04 07:39

If you fancy "chicken without sexual life", "husband and wife's lung slice" or even "bean curd made by a pock-marked woman" then you will have to look elsewhere.

"Spring chicken", "pork lungs in chili sauce" and "stir-fried tofu in hot sauce" are the correct translations of dishes at some Beijing restaurants, according to an initiative designed to help visitors navigate bilingual menus.

Currently, odd translations of food served up in the capital's eateries are causing food for thought.

The Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Program, and the Beijing tourism administration, is about to change all that.

The project is part of Beijing's municipal tourism administration's preparation for the Olympic Games next year, when at least 500,000 foreigners are expected to visit.

Beginning March 2006, the translation project gathered a database of dishes and drinks from 3-star rated hotels and large restaurants. A draft list was put online at the end of last year seeking public feedback.

Subsequently, a second draft added more than 400 common dishes at restaurants in Beijing's Houhai and Wangjing districts, where foreigners like to gather.

The recent draft has been online since last Saturday, at www.bjenglish.com.cn and www.bjta.gov.cn.

The finished draft is likely to be published in October, said an official with the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Program, quoted by the Beijing News.

The final version will be published online and "recommended" to restaurants.

Restaurants will not be forced by the government to use the suggested translations, the newspaper quoted an unnamed tourism administration official as saying.



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