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Apr 23, 2008 01:21 PM

Amusing menu gaffes - what's yours? [moved from Boston board]

The website for the new Andover restaurant, Serene, is rife with typos and misspellings, such as Shrimp Gramanier, and other errors, e.g. the risotto is SERVED with arborio rice! Many ethnic restaurant menus reflect their owners' imperfect command of English, often to charming/amusing effect. The menu for the excellent The Pongal, a new Indian restaurant in Billerica, contains the following: "...special plates served with day of the potato preparation...". I envision a 1950's horror movie with a monster in a rubber spud suit - Mr. Potato Head Runs Amok. The owners have other Pongals in India; googling led me to a review in an Indian newspaper, which said that a particular dish "goes down your gullet effortlessly". Can't help it, I picture the place settings including a feeding tube laid out next to the other cutlery.

What's your favorite menu chuckle?

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  1. You can find a ton of gaffes in any of the menus in chinese restaurants. My favorite was the 'chicken paws' I saw on the dim sum menu/flyer I found on my car from the New Shanghai restaurant. I'm Chinese so I can laugh, right?

    1. The "goes down your gullet effortlessly" reminds me of one of my favourite English expressions- "slips down a treat" to describe fabulous food or drink. I was in a Chinese restaurant in Paris where they had attempted to translate the menu badly into English and they offered " Chinese stir fried with vegetable". I always wondered who the unlucky person would be.

      1 Reply
      1. re: deshuitres

        a place here had a sign... "stir fried vegetarian with tofu" sadly someone told them what it meant and they fixed the sign. such a shame, always made me smile.

      2. At a Mothers Day lunch I saw "Mother's Milk and Cookies." I can only assume...

        10 Replies
          1. re: almansa

            ok but the disturbing thing is that there's a chef in NYC who has been serving cheese made from his wife's breast milk...

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              very disturbing. what some won't do for shock value. but of course all "outré" and pushing-the-envelope self-described extreme foodies will laud it.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                why is that disturbing? if you think about it, having the milk from some other animal ought to be weirder than having human milk.....

                1. re: thew

                  ha ha, thew. somehow i knew who might defend this.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    Actually I seem to recall a short story (forgot the title, but I remeber it was one of the ones in "Dangerous Visions" (or maybe "Again Dangerous Visions") about an earth where this was the norm.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      visions of big warehouse like structures full of buxom women chewing high calcium foods and taking drugs to optimize output..... now thats disturbing.

                        1. re: thew

                          all this reminds me of the specialty Aux Mandarins at 1, rue de Berri in Paris: "chef's kidney - les rognons du chef".

                          1. re: Parigi

                            Parigi: was he a heavy drinker? that might be intriguing...

              2. Oh dear, my all time favorite at a restaurant in Mallorca Spain many years ago:

                The menu was in Spanish and English. They had really intended to say "BBQ Rabbit", or "Rabbit Grilled over a Wood Fire."

                Instead, the English language menu said: "Rabbi on hot wood." Shades of the Spanish inquisition, shiver...

                1 Reply
                1. re: StriperGuy

                  That's priceless! Oh, and that reminds me - the section of The Pongal menu which describes the tandoori breads is entitled "Bread from Clay" , calling to mind the biblical loaves and fishes miracle!

                2. "Free Delivery: $1" or something along those lines - used to be on the menu for Pu Pu Hot Pot.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: jgg13

                    I went to a Chinese spot in Toronto years ago that offered a "Poo-Poo" platter. My friends and I thought that was hilarious.

                    1. re: KevinB

                      Correct me if I'm wrong, but a pu-pu platter is the actual name for a type of mixed appetizer plate :-). I laughed the first time I saw it in DC, too.

                      1. re: vorpal

                        Pūpū is a Hawai'ian word. Loosely, it just means "finger food." The pupu platter has become a fairly standardized Americanized Chinese dish (egg roll, chicken wing, crab rangoon, fried shrimp, etc.), but pupus in Hawai'i are much more diverse. And they're delicious!

                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          and the Hawaiians adopted it from the "Paniolos" or Hawaiian Cowboys who were originally mostly Spaniards (espanols). I was really shocked one day when driving thru a heavily latino part of LA to see a "Pupuceria", sort of a tapas bar.

                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                            So pupus come from pupusas? That's a very cool theory.

                            But some sources claim that it was originally used to refer to relishes served with kava kava. ( That doesn't sound very paniolo. Pipikaula, sure. But banana relish? Not so much.

                            Another theory is that it's a loan word from Cantonese, although that seems less plausible.

                            We need an etymologist here!

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              converging cultures... always interesting. Perhaps the spanish picked it up during half a millennium of exploring the pacific.

                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                good point, and the Portugese and Dutch.

                                it is fascinating when cultures mesh and what they take away.