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a problem with Nyona

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I know Nyona has its fans but the one time I went there (three years ago) I had a major problem that's impelled me to never go back. I wonder if anyone has had anything like this.

Here's the story: I'm a big fan of beef tripe and a query to the chowhound board when I first moved to NYC produced the suggestion that Nyona had a tripe dish. I ordered it but what came was simply a beef dish, sort of braised chuck in cut and consistency (i.e., it was soft and melty, not chewy which is what tripe is no matter how long you cook it). Anyone who's had tripe can recognize it, but what Nyona brought to the table was definitely not tripe. It was not tendon or anything like that, either. I called the waiter over and said they had delivered the wrong thing and he denied they had. I insisted and he went into the kitchen and then came back and said the chef also defined they had served the wrong thing. What I had was not a bad sort of beef stew dish but it's not what I wanted and I was -- and still am -- disappointed that they did this kind of switch on me.

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  1. I may have an answer for you.

    I have a copy of Nyonya's takeout menu at home and looks like there is a "Beef Tripe Noodle" under the Noodle section. Is that what you ordered? I believe there is a mistranslation from Chinese to English and that's probably what you have experienced. The dish you were referring to is called "Beef Tripe" noodle in English, which should be "牛肚"麵 ("Niu Du" Mian) in Chinese. Instead, the Chinese name for that dish at Nyonya is actually "牛腩"麵 ("Niu Nan" Mian), which means "Beef Flank" noodle. In a lot of Chinese restaurants, beef flank is served with tough, white membranes still attached to it and that's probably what you have consumed at Nyonya. I think this is a case of mistranslation especially if the waiter is Chinese (I think most of them are because I always order my food at Nyonya in Chinese), then he wouldn't see anything wrong with the name. That's probably why he insisted that there was no mistake made in placing the order. He probably didn't realized that the English translation for that dish was incorrect. Hope this helps.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bearmi

      That may be it. Your description of what the dish actually translates to is closer to what I ate there -- a sort of flank or brisket beef dish but definitely not tripe.