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.

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