Admit it. You regret not paying a little more attention in Chinese school. If only you just learned the Chinese characters for “chicken”, “pork”, “stir-fried”, “steamed”, “boiled”, “buns”, or the other common words on a Chinese menu, you wouldn’t have to be in this position. Better yet, you think back to the times when you were a kid and your folks would order such delicacies with ease.
“If only I paid more attention to Dad when he ordered that fish scent eggplant thing with the minced pork…”
You know the feeling. When you’re out with your friends at a restaurant and the menu is only in Chinese, but none of your friends know how to read Chinese. The struggle is very real.
Or to those who are not Chinese venturing into this dim sum place that your co-worker recommended, but all you see is gibberish next to the ticky-boxes.
There’s nothing better than ordering chicken or pig’s feet as a surprise.
Damn you chicken feet!!!
Face it – when it comes to food in Markham, options are dominated with Chinese food choices. And while most restaurants are now smart enough to include English, there are still some that do not.
What’s worse is that it’s usually the really good restaurants that don’t have English on their menus.
The restaurant owners know this and think, “Pfffttt… the food here is so good, we don’t need to waste money on English menus.”
What’s funny (and sad) is sometimes we have too much pride. I’m sure the server can read out and translate the menu to you, but that’s lame and embarrassing, especially for someone who looks head to toe Chinese, only to not be able to order.
And trust me, I’ve personally tried to find ways around the embarrassment of asking. In fact, I’ve gone as far as using the Google Translate app to translate the Chinese menu:
I think I’ll have a “Making money Duck Song Pack” with a “Health and Beef Roll Soup”.
And I know we are not alone on this. In fact there’s a category of Foursquare/Swarm/Yelp tippers who truly look out for their fellow food-comrades by phonetically spelling out different dishes:
Honestly if that’s not looking out for one another, I don’t know what is.
Seriously, we really shouldn’t have to work that hard just to get good Chinese food. I think it’s time everyone can enjoy everything on the menu.
So as a plea to those Chinese-only menu restaurants, I challenge you to get it together before it’s too late.
As you know, in the next five to ten years it’s going to be us menu-illiterates who will be the majority patrons of your fine establishment.
So please do something before we’re all reduced to start ordering in broken phrases of, “Ngor Yew Yut Gor Hak Jeew Ngow Pa Faan, please!” (“I would like one Black Pepper Beef Steak Rice, please!”)
Written by guest blogger, Snappingus.