Available Balance
Beef Noodles in Beijing
May 23, 2016
BEEF NOODLES pic IMG_0461 donkey

Note: This is a true story based on my anecdote.

 Late in January last year of 2015, we were in Beijing, China for a tour of 4 nights and 5 days. We all know that English is a rarity in China so I had planned to use Google Translate. Unfortunately, I was not aware that Google and Facebook are banned in China so that means I had lost my digital interpreter.

 My wife and I were okay in the hotel and on the first day, we survived the language barrier pretty well. But on the second day, there was this small eatery that sells to-go food. It was zero degree temperature so I opted to enter the eatery immediately.

 Once inside, my wife agreed to just buy the beef roll to be eaten in our hotel. I pointed to the photo of their beef roll. When I asked about the filling of the roll, the food server pulled me to the other side of the eatery and pointed to the picture of a cow. My wife and I laughed because the cow looked like a donkey.

 We took out the food and ate at the hotel. Pretty good Chinese beef roll.

 On the next night, we went to another eatery. This time there was the inviting photo of noodles with meat. When I pointed to the photo, the food server pulled me to another poster with a cow. Been there, done that. Okay, since the serving was quite a lot, we ordered one beef noodle for take out to be shared inside the hotel room.

 When the food came, the waiter handed it to me and said, “Here, donkey noodles.”

 Huh, donkey what? I inquired to clarify. Fortunately the food server knows a little English. He said, “yeah, yeah, donkey meat. Before my wife could file a protest, I stared at the poster very well. Indeed, what’s in the picture was a donkey and not a cow.

 BEEF NOODLES pic IMG_0461 donkey

PS. That’s the actual photo of the donkey noodles in the small eatery. The one standing is not a donkey. Waheehee.

Rate This Content

    1. We did one better here in Dallas at a local Mexican grocery. My wife ordered meat from the meat market in the back of the store where they mostly only spoke Spanish and took it home to cook. A few days later I looked up the words for goat meat. There was definitely a strange flavor to it and we ate it not knowing exactly what was on the plate but I think I need an English-Spanish translator for next time.

    2. That is such a great story. Definitely helps to have a translation of the unknown language though so there are no mistakes. I am sure it was quite an experience to think you are eating one animal when it is really a different one.

    3. Better find somebody in the area that could speak the language or else you will be embarrassed and feel so funny about yourself. Anyway, an experience is the best teacher especially when the situation is bad and the worse one. Learn by mistake is the motto of the day when you everyone travels, who doesn’t know the language of the place he is visiting. Communication is well understood when there is an interpreter or a guide.

    4. Sir, you don’t speak Chinese? Oh I thought that you were a Chinese!
      Yup, it is better to get a traveller’s guide when you are in a foreign country while travelling.
      I was laughing when you finally said that you really had a DONKEY not beef noodles.

      Sorry sir but it was funny that the picture you had mentioned that looks like a donkey but not a cow.
      Nobody would have thought that China do sell donkey meals.

      Donkeys are alike the horse family.
      So it would be a real pity to consume the poor lad.

      Anyway, you sure looked happy in the picture.
      Thanks for sharing with us your experience sir!

    5. haha, that is really funny!
      I think the waiter is really kind to point you to a donkey, and yet you do not recognize the donkey!
      By the way, it sure makes a good conversation topic that you have tasted donkey noodle.
      Most youngsters in China big cities can speak English.
      If you are going to the countryside, then that is the problem!


    Leave a reply

    Your email address will not be published.