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Apr 10, 2013 01:16 PM

Chinese food to English translation

I seem to remember a few years ago someone talking about a book that had Chinese food terms in both Chinese and English - sort of a dictionary of dim sum and popular food terms. We will be going to Hong Kong soon so something like this would come in handy. Anyone remember the name of the book?

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  1. Congratulations on your upcoming trip!

    If you have the data plan and a smart phone, I would suggest using the app PLEICO.
    You can take pics of a character and get an immediate translation.
    More importantly, you can take pics of a Phrase and get an immediate translation.

    About guides-- I've owned several, and they tend to be too basic for the interesting food that I've wanted to eat/buy. I'll skim through my book list later tonight, though.

    1. has some suggestions,although I like Kris in Beijing's suggestion better.

      1. One more piece of experience.
        In my Mainland life, I often discovered that a menu would say "Pork and green vegetable in garlic sauce."

        The servers wouldn't know which veg-- even the kitchen didn't know the name. It was the same at Markets-- they didn't often use a specific name.

        And, more often than not, that "green veg" was whatever the cook decided to use, based upon season and availability.

        Broccoli, Chinese spinach/watercress, or bokchoy, were always available, but asking for them to be "subbed in" often caused confusion and embarrassment all around.

        1. Perhaps the book was James D. McCawley's, "The Eater's Guide to Chinese Characters." University of Chicago Press; Chicago, 1984. ISBN #0-226-55592-5

          2 Replies
          1. re: scoopG

            I had that!
            I don't recall a THING except the production quality was terrible....
            And by 2004, it was olddddddd.

            1. re: scoopG

              Is that the one Calvin Trillen wrote about in one of his "Tummy Trilogy" books?