Thursday, December 31, 2009

German Chinese Restaurant

December 31, 2009. I haven't posted anything in a while because of holiday travels (spent a few weeks in Europe). Before I resume my regular postings, I thought I'd share a particularly memorable experience: eating dinner in a Chinese restaurant in a small German village.

Here's a picture of what was on the table when we arrived: each setting included a quintessential German beer coaster and a napkin teaching Germans various Chinese phrases. Left hand column: "Guten Appetit" = 請您慢用 (qǐng nín màn yòng) - more literally, "please eat slowly." Note the German orthography here: "jon" = "yòng" since J = Y sound.

Our fortune cookies came with fortunes in 4 languages (English and German on one side, Dutch and French on the other).

Here's a picture of the spread. The duck, in foreground, was eine Haus-Spezialität (house specialty). Yum!


  1. I don't have a photo, but the menu was in German with (reasonably accurate) English translations underneath.

  2. The beer coaster advertises two varieties of Räuberchen, light (blond) and dark (schwarz). The Chinese writing on the napkin uses 您 (nín), the polite form of "you."

  3. Good stuff. I wasn't aware of how Pinyin assumes English rendering of letters (and even then not entirely the same). One thing I do miss about Europe was the sheer number of languages. I remember buying popcicles for the little one from Italy, and with 12 languages printed on it. I also miss speaking Polish with co-workers and learning French too, as well as a litlte Irish.

  4. Interesting - I've been accustomed to Pinyin for so long that I hadn't really thought about the eccentric quality of that romanization scheme before (many letters pronounced like standard English, but some like x and c are not). I love the open coexistence of so many languages in Europe too - something you don't see to the same extent in places like Japan or Taiwan.