Lost in translation…

I don’t know about you, but when I’m abroad I live in permanent fear of restaurants. As soon as you are outside of your own culture, you find yourself having to pick off a menu in a foreign language – and what you thought sounded like roast chicken might actually turn out to be some local so-called delicacy like boiled pig-snouts served with swamp cabbage.

So it was a relief when I went to a small Portuguese restaurant the other day when the waiter produced a menu all in English.

Clearly the local delicacy

Number 14: Clearly the local delicacy

And sure enough – there it was! The unwary tourist-special, lurking among the entrées.. number 14. Frigid Dog-Whelk Salad.

Now I have to admit at this point that I am not familiar with the Dog-Whelk. I have never met one. I cannot tell you whether it is more closely related to the Dog or the Whelk, nor what misfortune befell it, that it ended up in some unfortunate non-Portuguese-literate diner’s salad. Moreover, I doubt that on a first meeting with the Dog-Whelk I would have become chummy enough to have found out what was going so terribly wrong with its sex-life that it would be referred to in its after-life as the “Frigid Dog-Whelk” – no these secrets will go with it to its salady grave

Is number 21 a frog or a fish?

Is number 21 a frog or a fish?

The main courses also had their hidden dangers. Number 21, for example. Rice with Frog-Fish. Personally, my feeling is that if the Chef is uncertain whether the main ingredient is a frog or a fish, then that’s a dish I’m not going to enjoy. I was also a little worried about the Groper on space number 22. Perhaps it might have been better to put that one together with the Dog-Whelk… at least the frigidity problem might have been resolved.

No I decided to avoid the fish altogether, so I turned over to the meat section

Grilled pricks?

Grilled pricks?

Here again, the local delicacies for the unwary were lurking. At number 39: Grilled Beef Prick and at number 43: Grilled Pork Prick. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a restaurant with quite so many sexual problems on the menu (unlike the Dog-Whelk, I am at least familiar with cows and pigs – and I think I can speak for both species when I say they would class having their prick grilled as one of the most serious sexual problems they can think of).

You’re all hoping that I ordered all of the above dishes, right?

Sorry – I have to disappoint you. When it comes to odd sounding cuisine I’m a coward. In a situation like this my entire digestive system shuts down and refuses anything but a cheese and tomato omelette… or some other safe and easily identifiable food.

Definitely not a Dog-Whelk with a mating problem.


Filed under food

4 responses to “Lost in translation…

  1. You might like to try the menu that I saw on Lanzarote last year: http://tinyurl.com/5r3nhv #92 sounds particularly bad (half-baked chicken, anyone?)

    Advanced German readers might like to try to decipher this one: http://tinyurl.com/ypqyv5

  2. “grilled pork prick”…I am still snickering 🙂

  3. I´m maybe not familiar enough with the English language, and I assume they mean “Steinbarsch” with it (no idea if this is right), but when I think of #29, “GRILLED ROCK-BASS”, I just start grinning. 🙂
    Do they have cooked acoustic guitars, too? 😉

  4. I hear ya! The restaurant challenge ranks way up there on my list of expat fears. But what I have decided is even worse is having to deal with taking my American friends to foreign restaurants.

    “No, they can’t make your dish without the ham.”

    “No, they won’t substitute salad for the bratwurst.”

    “No, they don’t have sippy cups for the kids, or styrofoam, or a lid.”

    I’ve only had four visitors, but you can’t imagine how many times I have gone through this. Or, maybe you can.

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