I was never particularly interested in food until I had my first proper Chinese lunch somewhere in Zhejiang province. I thought it was too good. I went further and read a book “The food of China” by E.N. Anderson. This definitely the most astonishing non-fictional read that ever dropped in my hands starts like that:
“Dedicated to the hungry people of the world, in the hope that China’s experience in feeding one-fourth of humanity will be made more widely useful through this book”.
I started talking to my friends and to expats living in china. What I found out was that people are confused. Honestly they were enthusiastic but full of prejudice and wrong information. Strange animals, too oily, they use WEIJIN[MSG]. The worst came to the Chinese menus translated into English. I think the unbeatable leader of menu pictures taken is this one rahoi.com.
Then I decided to create a blog to help people to order food in China and to understand what they eat and what is behind the taste.
I was thinking for a long time what would be the best format to do it. Especially for hungry ones going to China that do not speak any Mandarin. So the solution for the time being is instead of looking at the menus in restaurants with no proper English translation is to take a print out of regional cuisine with you (i.e. Sichuan when you are going to Sichuan restaurant) and to show to the waiter what dish you would like to have. The list for each of the typical regional cuisines were done based on "generally accepted" typical regional dishes (how Chinese classify them) lists and restaurant menus. There is also one peculiarity of how we came up with english description - instead of blind translation of names we looked all the way through to Chinese recipes and put a short summary of how the dish is typically cooked.
This is just the beginning. More to come on big cities specialties and vegetarian delights.
I am bringing my apologise in advance. I am not a native speaker of English and Mandarin and to save time I will write as I can. So if you see some really dramatic errors please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be a very 努力 student and will process timely all your corrections. Try not to post it as comments to save space for Chinese menus ☺