Mermaids and Fried Wikipedia: the art of translating menu items into English

Traveling in a country where you aren’t super confident with the lingo can be extremely daunting, and simple acts like ordering food become a bit of a nightmare. If you don’t speak the language, you won’t know what foods are on the menu or how they are prepared. Dictionaries, both paper and electronic, are definitely helpful tools when deciphering a menu and many restaurants also try to provide at least some English—one of the most used languages in the world—on their menus.

But sometimes, for all their good intentions, restaurants fail. While this may make ordering lunch a little bit trickier, it is at times like these that we are blessed with some wonderfully bad translated food names.

Today’s special dishes come compliments of restaurants in Taiwan and China that just couldn’t quite find the right words to describe their respective delicacies. Look forward to dishes including mermaids, fried Wikipedia and confused pizzas after the jump.

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This is what a Tokyo crepe with every dessert topping they’d let us order looks like 【Photos】

Tokyo’s Harajuku neighborhood means different things to different people. The beautiful people living the Japanese high life are drawn by the brand-name jewelers on the tree-lined Omotesando boulevard. Teens, meanwhile, flock to the narrow Takeshitadori shopping street to score up-to-date fashions that leave their parents scratching their heads in bewilderment.

And for those with a sweet tooth, Harajuku is all about the crepes.

Our intrepid Japanese-language correspondent P.K. recently took a break from seeing how many slices of roast pork or boiled eggs he could cram in his stomach and instead decided to see how much dessert he could consume in a single serving, as he decided to max out a Tokyo crepe by ordering one with every available dessert topping.

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Japanese restaurant makes awesome anime and game character pancake art, takes requests 【Videos】

Even if you’re not ordinarily a very artistic person, we bet you get a spark of inspiration when you’ve got a pancake on your plate. Who hasn’t drawn a doodle or sketched a smiley face in maple syrup, or at least initialed their flapjacks with the sticky, tasty condiment?

After all, tasty as they may be, pancakes look pretty dull if you don’t add any decoration…unless you’re dining at this restaurant in Japan where the pancakes come pre-decorated with images of Pikachu, Mario, and dozens of other anime and video game characters.

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We check out Sushi Bar Yoshihachi, a taste of American sushi in Okinawa

As a nearly 10-year resident of Japan, whenever I’m back to visit the States I love taking friends and acquaintances out to a nearby sushi bar and being easily the most knowledgeable sushi snob in the whole place. While my buddies are pouring over the weird fusion sushi – inevitably featuring fried shrimp sticking out at crazy angles like that spider-head monster in The Thing – I’m busy cramming the more delicately-flavored and exotic nigiri cuts into my gullet, rolling my eyes around in the back of my head and making exaggerated, mmmm, ohhh man, noises and sometimes giving the side-eye to the guy reluctantly prodding his uni nigiri like it’s going to come to life and slither off the table.

I’ve developed a taste for Japanese style-sushi, in other words, and I’m not afraid to be a jerk about it. But, back here in Japan, I’ll be damned if I don’t sometimes get intense cravings for a good ol’ California roll. Luckily, there’s a great place serving authentic American California rolls and other “Americanized” sushi in Okinawa, just a (relatively) short hop from Tokyo, and you can bet we went to try it out!

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Japanese condiment company Kikkoman encourages Brits to desecrate white rice with tasty sauce

One of the first things that foreign visitors to Japan learn about Japanese cuisine is that white rice served by itself is meant to be enjoyed as it is, not soaked in soy or doused in dipping sauce. But many people who aren’t all that well-acquainted with Japanese food find the taste of plain boiled rice bland, and love to drizzle sweet and salty sauces all over in order to jazz it up a bit, even if it does make eating it with chopsticks ten times harder.

The UK is one place that probably isn’t known for having a high level of familiarity with Japanese food. Chains like Wagamama and Shoryu Ramen do exist, but they tend to play fast and loose with the definition of Japanese food, and as a result many British diners wind up getting their tastebuds in a bit of a tangle. But now, Japanese company Kikkoman is actually encouraging this desecrating behaviour by bringing out a new product in the UK market: Kikkoman Sweet Sauce for Rice! As you might expect, it’s raising eyebrows in Japan.

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Japanese chef shows off amazing cooking skills with high-flying omelettes 【Video】

If any of you have ever tried your hand at making omurice– a Japanese rice omelette- then you’ll know it can get a bit tricky when trying to plate up. This chef, however, not only makes the process look super quick and easy, but he even turns the process into a mini performance as he shows off his skill!

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Furikake rice toppings gaining popularity in US, but are Americans doing it wrong?

Until recently, rice-loving Americans looking to add a little zing to their favorite grain would need to trek out to the nearest Asian grocery store to pick up a pack of furikake rice topping. But now, according to Japanese media, the toppings are gaining traction on the US west coast and is becoming more widely available.

Furikake consists of a mish-mash of ingredients that have been dried and powdered and, in Japan, is intended specifically and only to be sprinkled atop a steaming hot bowl of sticky Japanese rice; which explains why many Japanese people are reacting with shock at how the Americans are choosing to deploy the condiment.

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10 vegetarian foods you can order at almost any Japanese restaurant

Vegetarians traveling to Japan may find it difficult to find food that fits their dietary lifestyle. Fish seems to be in everything including the soup stock used to make miso soup. To make matters worse, many foods in convenience stores, bakeries or even Starbucks have misleading labels, and that “vegetable sandwich,” or “vegetable pizza” may actually have meat in it too!  You can order foods like okonomiyaki or monjayaki with no meat, but you still can’t be sure it won’t come with shredded fish flakes on top that there isn’t fish lurking in the dashi-based sauces.

I always recommend to my vegetarian friends that rather than asking Japanese restaurants to make something special for them, it’s better to just order food that doesn’t have fish or meat (or dairy) in it from the beginning. Fish has always been a staple in the Japanese diet, but the eating of wild and domestic game was banned for over 1,200 years in Japan, and Buddhist tradition gave rise to a special vegetarian cuisine called shojin ryori. Even now, the traditional Buddhist meal called ozen (rice, miso soup, pickles, boiled/simmered vegetables and beans), is still served at funerals in Japan.

So traditionally, there is a lot of vegetarian food in the Japanese diet. You just have to discover it. And RocketNews24 is here to help! In this article we’ll introduce you to common Japanese dishes that can be ordered at almost any Japanese restaurant that have no meat, fish or animal products in them, so, let’s jump into Japanese vegetarianism 101.

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Eggplant found with naturally grown-in accessory holder

In Japan “straps” can be found everywhere. They’re like key chains, but with an elastic band. People primarily attach them to their mobile phones, but you can also spot them on anything else under the sun like gym bags or sleep apnea machines.

Now it seems that mother nature is getting in on the action by creating an eggplant with a loophole just right for attaching straps to. And attach straps is just what the lucky owner did.

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Not just Sailor Moon, but Sailor macarons as anime combines with elegant confectionaries

The recent release of fine porcelain Sailor Moon cups and saucers has anime fans ready to add a touch of elegance to their table. Of course, what’s tea time without some equally posh snacks, right? So if you’re looking to keep your refreshments in the same anime family, why not pair your pour of Darjeeling or Lady Grey with some Sailor Moon macarons?

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Sweet omelette-flavored gummies? Famous Japanese YouTuber tries it so you don’t have to!

Tamagoyaki– best described as a fluffy, sweetened rolled omelette that’s often served chilled is a staple in typical Japanese bento lunches. A gummy candy flavor it is not…until now! Adding to an ever-growing list of odd flavors coming from Japan, tamagoyaki-flavored gummies are now a thing, and well-known Japanese YouTuber Hikakin has gotten his hands on these rare odd gems and given them a taste. The verdict? Watch and see for yourself!

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Want a great-tasting meal when eating alone? Put a mirror on the table, Japanese researcher says

There’s a restaurant in my neighborhood that I ate dinner at shortly after I moved to Yokohama. Since in those days I worked night shift, I walked through the door around 9:30 p.m., asked for a table for one, and ordered my food.

It turned out to be one of the blandest, least satisfying meals I’ve ever had, but that restaurant is still in business, more than a decade later, so the food can’t be that bad. In hindsight, I think the fact that it was about the 20th meal in a row I’d eaten alone was affecting my sense of taste. Spending too much time by yourself can mess with your head, and the social aspect of eating with a friend can really add a lot to your enjoyment of the meal, which is why a researcher in Japan says that if you’re going to be eating by yourself, you should put a mirror on the table.

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Yoshinoya studying what happens to the body after three months of eating beef bowls

In a lot of ways, Japan’s equivalent to the hamburger is the beef bowl, or “gyudon” as the locals call it. Tasty, fortifying, and cheap, beef bowls are so prevalent and popular in Japan that they essentially have their own strata in the personal food pyramids of many college students and bachelors.

Realizing that much of its customers’ bodies are literally made out of beef bowls, Japan’s largest gyudon chain is now embarking on a research project to investigate what happens after three months of eating the dish.

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The Snack Poster: Illustrations to spread the love for authentic Japanese foods

For those unaccustomed to Japanese food, even the most common edibles may seem quite odd and, well, unappetizing, at first glance. The first time you saw monjayaki, did you not think it looked a little…weird? Of course, not all Japanese cuisine is unappealing to the eyes, but even the delicious-looking food is still not widely known throughout the Western world.

A California-based Japanese food blogger is trying to change that. Gaining momentum from the success of her Ramen Poster, artist Fanny has come up with another hand-drawn infographic displaying some of her favorite Japanese street foods and snacks: The Snack Poster.

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Japan now has Kit Kat croissants, in chocolate and matcha green tea flavors

The delicious delights of being in Japan aren’t limited to the amazing sushi and tea. Being in the country also surprisingly gives you access to the world’s greatest variety of Kit Kat flavors and variations.

We’ve already seen the tasty confectionaries show up in cheesecake flavor and atop pizzas, and now the crossover between the chocolate wafers and baked goods continues as one of Japan’s most popular coffeehouses is now selling Kit Kat croissants.

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Awesome lunch boxes full of Disney’s Tsum Tsum characters are almost too cute to eat!【Photos】

As we expect you already know, character lunch boxes or “chara-ben,” short for “character bento,” are all the rage in Japan. And their creators are rarely shy about sharing their awesome work, so you can find hundreds of examples of how to make lunch time more adorable on social media networks like Instagram and Twitter.

One of the biggest themes for chara-ben right now is Disney’s Tsum Tsum, a line of stuffed toys that has been adapted into a smartphone game by Line. There were so many great photos, we had to compile our favorite Tsum Tsum chara-ben shots from Instagram for you to check out. But don’t forget to grab a snack, because you’re definitely going to get hungry!

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Nagoya-based Japanese-sweets maker wows the Internet and customers with cute animal-themed manju

Namikoshiken is a Nagoya-based sweets store that’s been in business since 1927. They produce some of the most adorable animal-themed manju, buns with various filling like sweet bean jam, we’ve ever seen! With all that experience and a product this cute, it’s hardly a surprise they’re blowing up the Internet with photos of their manju spreading like wildfire online.

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Conveyor belt sushi chain taking the bold, eco-friendly step of getting rid of all its conveyors

Kaitenzushi restaurants have come a long way. In the beginning, their system of having diners grab their own plates of sushi from a revolving conveyor belt was seen as a quirky technological novelty, or by more severe critics as a sub-par tarnishing of the proper sushi-eating experience.

Since then, though, kaitenzushi has become one of the most broadly beloved sectors of the Japanese restaurant industry, having grown so popular that certain operators are experimenting with unique new kaitenzushi niches. Now, one company is planning to take its revolving sushi restaurants into a bold new direction by revamping them so that the sushi doesn’t revolve.

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We try vegetarian sushi at Tokyo’s newest sushi train restaurant 【Pics & Taste Test】

If you’re vegetarian or simply not a fan of raw fish, a visit to a sushi train restaurant with friends isn’t exactly going to fill you with joy. While the touch panel screens and the treat of watching your orders arrive on a conveyor belt is always entertaining, wouldn’t it be nicer if there were a few more fish-phobic options on the menu?

That’s exactly what a new chain of restaurants in Japan is offering, with vegetarian sushi, made with fresh, seasonal vegetables, and a host of other meat-based dishes, including ham and pork-topped sushi options, available for customers.

We paid a visit to Sushi Nova at their brand new location, the first of a hundred to hit Japan by 2019, and were incredibly impressed with what they had to offer.

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Our reporter tries to order a 100-slice beef sandwich at Subway Japan【Photos】

At Japan’s branches of Subway, what you might think of as more conventional sandwich toppings—like cheese or vegetables—wrestle for space on the menu with other optional extras, like a scoop of tuna mayonnaise or five prawns for 100 yen. And when a man like our very own reporter P.K. Sanjun sees that he can have his Subway sandwich topped with an extra five prawns, his first thought is: “I wonder how many prawns I could fit in one sandwich?!”

So when P.K. heard that there were actually secret toppings that you can order at Subway, and that one of those off-menu toppings was roast beef, he prepared his brain, and his stomach, for an extra-large order, and headed to Subway to find out: just how much beef can one Japanese sandwich hold?!

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