Have you tried the cock flavoured noodles?

Reading a menu can be tricky when you’re traveling. It can be as simple as prawns versus shrimp, eggplant versus aubergine or the ever controversial coriander versus cilantro. Globally, we all have our different way of saying things.

Where it can get really interesting though, is when the English translation just doesn’t translate.

In 2002, options for a night out in Libya were limited, but one of my favourite dining memories is a night out with friends who had traveled from Australia to visit. After the obligatory power failure and we’d all sipped on our luke warm raspberry Fanta (it’s a dry country) we perused the menu by candlelight.

Some of the items offered no explanation, there was simply the word “bird” or “lamp”, but with a bit of clucking and baa’ing at the waiter we were able to confirm that it was chicken and lamb. The “Professional Prawns” had us stumped. We had to order them. As we waited for the prawns to arrive wearing suits and carrying briefcases someone got it, “Prawn Provencale” they shouted with excitement.

Our favourite restaurant in Qatar is a place called “Thai Snack”,  it’s conveniently located right next to “Thai massage”, in fact when you enter there are 2 opposing arrows, left or right, it’s always a tough choice. I wondered today if I’d got my menus confused when I noticed on page 2 the “fried morning glory”, thankfully the attached picture had broccoli and bamboo shoots. We could choose between the “see food” or the “ster fried” both were available with “garlice”. I noticed on the kids menu a picture of a plate of chips/fries labeled “french fried”.

As we left Thai snack I noticed the chicken shop across the road was also in on the act, above the rotisserie is an enormous sign “Gulf Broasted.” I haven’t been to the local Chinese – Tex Mex (that wasn’t a typo) but I hear it has a sign on the front door “parking for costumers only” not to be outdone another local haunt has “closed – sorry for the incontinence”.

How about you? Are you wary of those “mean sprouts”or tried the “bowel of soup” and the “chick pee”?

My very favourite though, is from my friend Sal who is currently based in Mumbai. As she was making her way through her local supermarket she discovered the “cock flavoured 2 minute noodles”. It seriously makes you consider eating your words.

Have you made any interesting menu observations? I’d love to hear them.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18254275544017629129 bigwords is…

    Note From Lapland told me about the chip brand – Pussi (the large pack is called Mega Pussi) I still giggle every time I think about it!

    xx

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09543258551991778888 mamabook

    I want that Chinese Tex-Mex. But will the skip the cock flavoured 2 minute noodles. Hilarious!
    Michelle

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14993934232617420348 Deidre

    So funny.

    there is a Japanese restaurant near where I went to university in the US that has “crispy” as an ingredient on the menu which always makes me laugh.

  • http://expatriatelife.wordpress.com/ expatriatelife

    My favourite was “clippings” on a Moscow menu. The mind boggles. Hedge clippings? Hair clippings? Or worse, toenail clippings?

    This one I came across in Dubai. I wonder what Egyptians taste of?

  • http://expatriatelife.wordpress.com/ expatriatelife

    My favourite was “clippings” on a Moscow menu. The mind boggles. Hedge clippings? Hair clippings? Or worse, toenail clippings?

    This one I came across in Dubai. I wonder what Egyptians taste of?

  • http://expatriatelife.wordpress.com/ expatriatelife

    My favourite was “clippings” on a Moscow menu. The mind boggles. Hedge clippings? Hair clippings? Or worse, toenail clippings?

    This one I came across in Dubai. I wonder what Egyptians taste of?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03482513767849843084 My New Normal

    Is it bad that I’m stuck on the fact that you lived in a “dry” country??? How ever did you manage that?? Bootlegging comes to mind!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17798190669591053390 Expat mum

    Well, here (USA) they have Sloppy Joes. In England, my parents’ generation knew them as big baggy sweaters, but here they are very messy meatball sandwiches. If you’re just asked “Will your kids eat a Sloppy Joe?” it throws you for a few seconds.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14802006723093743285 Sybil K

    Flatulence tea in Doha is one of my faves! Not sure if it causes it or prevents it 😉

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17165208811776097332 Heather

    ha ha ha. I’m now desperate to know what the incontinence problem was that caused that place to close. Have wonderful images in my head.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13195684182481935384 Sarah

    My favourite here in France is the sports shoe shop called Athletes Foot. Flaky!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16482428637104976190 Katrina Chambers

    Hahaha! Oh dear, I would not be able to hold it together with this cock noodles.. LOL!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01073209329118063335 Bill and Debra

    That is like looking for an orange colored orange in Belize and not being able to find one…then you find out, they are green in Belize, not an orange orange. Too funny.

    Love it.
    debra
    http://www.takingbelize.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02744937536946299450 liz fenwick

    I wish I had written down the ones i have seen over the years. Brilliant 🙂

    lx

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04079004128313407490 Lulu

    Our friend traveled recently and ordered “worm noodles” … he assumed they meant “warm noodles”. After eating a little, of which he said they were tasty, he noticed the noodles wiggling. Turns out they really were “worm noodles”. Never assume otherwise …

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02554185913419299026 hisqueen

    On a trip to Syria to see the family, one of more upper scaled restaurants offered: Flavored herpes to drink and Fried crap to eat..We made of point of showing the manager exactly what the menu’s should actually say. I’m sure they don’t get many Americans there to eat with their Syrian Husbands. We couldn’t stop laughing. I told the hubby I should get a job as an English translator in Damascus.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16969112221083320172 Diane Robinson Majeske

    Hahahaha! “Sorry for the incontinence!” I might just have to start saying that at work and see if anyone even notices!!! That post was HILARIOUS.

    p.s. I’m a new follower – the one with the basement.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17294423259234525733 Together We Save

    I guess I would starve if I ever traveled much… I am so nervous to try new things.

  • http://www.morethanjustmummy.blogspot.com/ nmaha

    You should have a warning on your post – not office safe. I had to create a coughing bout to cover my giggles.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03596142995497292286 MaidInAustralia

    I remember cracking up ordering ‘crap soup’ on one of my earlier visits to Thailand. And later ‘poo’ noodles.

  • http://sarsm.wordpress.com/ sarsm

    Simply brilliant.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14759336965970856540 littlemissairgap

    A friend is currently living in Manilla & he’s photographing all of the funny signs he’s seeing … generally anything tha has an ounce of toilet humour about it. Keeps us all entertained on Facebook.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09009958051267708835 Amy

    We credit Thai Snak for giving us a new official greeting. When we see friends we simply say “Montan Du”. That was how it was written on the receipt. We understand that the spelling has changed but the greeting is still there.

  • http://www.lifeintheexpatlane.com/ Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane

    Fabulous post! I wish I had kept a record of all those “fun foods” in my various travels.

    In Armenia, one of the small grocery stores where I used to shop had a huge rooster as its logo, and it was known as the Cock Shop, translated by the Armenians I expect. The Americans, the faint of heart ones, used to call it the Rooster Shop.

    I remember in Bali we saw a breakfast menu offering “toes with jam.” I’ve heard of that one in other places as well.

    Great fun!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09427415191530966075 Barbara

    You don’t have to leave home for menu mistakes: in Logan, Utah, USA at the most popular Chinese restaurant in town, the menu offers Human Pork

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07120077413896397663 Samba

    Oh yes… so many of them!
    One of my favorites was a “haiskrem” sign in India.
    Great post by the way!

  • Anonymous

    Fried morning glory is actually correct. It is the translation of what in Thai is called ‘phad pakbung’. You can also find ‘morning glory’ on the menus of many Chinese restaurants worldwide. It is sometimes called ‘water spinach’. More information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morning_glory

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16969112221083320172 Diane Robinson Majeske

    Hahahaha! “Sorry for the incontinence!” I might just have to start saying that at work and see if anyone even notices!!! That post was HILARIOUS.

    p.s. I’m a new follower – the one with the basement.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02744937536946299450 liz fenwick

    I wish I had written down the ones i have seen over the years. Brilliant 🙂

    lx

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01073209329118063335 Bill and Debra

    That is like looking for an orange colored orange in Belize and not being able to find one…then you find out, they are green in Belize, not an orange orange. Too funny.

    Love it.
    debra
    http://www.takingbelize.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14802006723093743285 Sybil K

    Flatulence tea in Doha is one of my faves! Not sure if it causes it or prevents it 😉