China renaming menu items to make them less bizarre

Sometimes not knowing the language of the country you are visiting is a good thing.

How else could you possibly justify ordering a local dish called “Husband and wife’s lung slice” or possibly “Chicken without sexual life” in Mandarin? This way, you simply believe something must have gone awfully wrong with the translation.

Chances are, it is an accurate translation.

China is known for a wide variety of the most bizarre food names. Some of them are so bizarre, in fact, they make foreigners turn elsewhere. So, with the Olympics a few short weeks away, China is not taking any chances and giving its cuisine a linguistic makeover, CNN reports.

It is proposing that restaurants change the names of exotic, but bizarrely named, delicacies to make them more delectable for the estimated 50,000 visitors arriving in August for the Summer Games. The government has put down more than 2,000 proposed names in a 170-page book that it has offered to Beijing hotels.

The appetizer “Husband and wife’s lung slice” is taking on the more appetizing “Beef and ox tripe in chili sauce.” “Chicken without sexual life” has been transformed into “Steamed pullet.”

The Chinese say the names of their dishes focus more on appearance than taste or smell. But Westerners are more accustomed to names that describe the ingredients and how they are cooked — such as pot roast.
OK, I get that. I’m all about appearance. But, honestly, how do you focus on appearance and come out with a name like “Chicken without sexual life,” that’s beyond me.

[Thanks, Noelle, for the tip.]