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Is it common for a restaurant to have menu(s) without a local language?

Is it common for a restaurant to have menu(s) without a local language?

Old Apr 24, 19, 10:29 pm
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Is it common for a restaurant to have menu(s) without a local language?

For example, is it common that, when I try to visit a place where I know some (but not all) its languages, but it turns out that the menu(s) are not written in the languages I know, but only in the other local languages I don't know.

I'm asking this question because I live in Hong Kong, but some restaurants only have menu(s) in Chinese, and some only have menu(s) in English.
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Old Apr 25, 19, 2:15 am
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Some restaurants have “secret” menus.

Others, like one I visited in Moscow, have tourist menu with inflated prices and non-local dishes, and then a local one.
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Old Apr 25, 19, 4:59 am
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Originally Posted by miklcct View Post
For example, is it common that, when I try to visit a place where I know some (but not all) its languages, but it turns out that the menu(s) are not written in the languages I know, but only in the other local languages I don't know.

I'm asking this question because I live in Hong Kong, but some restaurants only have menu(s) in Chinese, and some only have menu(s) in English.
When the menu is written in a language you don't understand and excludes another language that is widely spoken locally the best advice is to take the hint.
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Old Apr 25, 19, 5:45 am
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It used to be fairly common in the UK in smarter French restaurants to have menus written solely in French - but then pretty well all the clientele would have good command of menu French. It's now confined to the very best restaurants. At the Waterside Inn a couple of months ago, we were all given French menus - I don't know if English was available.
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Old Apr 25, 19, 5:49 am
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Sometimes the French menu is more informative, for example magnet de canard is much more specific or descriptive than duck or even duck breast. Similarly, the words for chicken in both French and German specify the age and gender of the bird and these details usually don't appear on the English menu.
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Old Apr 25, 19, 6:38 am
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Haven’t been for a while, but it certainly used to be the case that there were restaurants in Barcelona that would have their menu solely in catalán.

I was invited to a place in Bilbao some time ago (it was sort of a dining club) where everything was in euskara. I speak Spanish and can follow Catalonian, but the Basque language may as well be Kurdish. I let my host choose for me, the meal was fabulous!
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Old Apr 25, 19, 2:28 pm
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We once dined at a Chinese restaurant in Frankfurt where the menu was in Chinese and English - no German. Still puzzled.
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Old Apr 25, 19, 4:19 pm
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Originally Posted by milepig View Post
We once dined at a Chinese restaurant in Frankfurt where the menu was in Chinese and English - no German. Still puzzled.
I'd be willing to wager that most of their German customers speak English or at least enough to read the menu. And English is more useful than German as a common language in Europe, especially in a commercial hub like Frankfurt.

I actually prefer when a menu has the local language and English side by side rather than separate menus. As I speak basic Spanish and French, I find the English translation can be a little off, sometimes too literal.
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Old Apr 25, 19, 4:30 pm
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The languages displayed actually show their intended targeted customers.

So I won't be surprised that some restaurants do not have a menu based on the local language.
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Old Apr 25, 19, 4:36 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
magnet de canard is much more specific or descriptive than duck or even duck breast.
Not to mention... much more attractive?

(You meant to write magret)
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Old Apr 30, 19, 3:39 am
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
The languages displayed actually show their intended targeted customers.

So I won't be surprised that some restaurants do not have a menu based on the local language.
Yes. So a restaurant in a non-English speaking country which only has an English menu should be avoided as it's clearly a tourist trap.

But certainly within Europe I'm often a little disappointed in countries with more commonly spoken languages when the menu has a translation - I like to practice my basic restaurant language skills.
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Old Apr 30, 19, 6:37 am
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
But certainly within Europe I'm often a little disappointed in countries with more commonly spoken languages when the menu has a translation - I like to practice my basic restaurant language skills.
Having the translation means I can improve my vocabulary.

I can manage to feed myself in any country using the Latin alphabet but when in those European countries using Cyrillic an English translation is much appreciated.
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Old May 1, 19, 10:47 am
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China, j'amuse


This was from a menu at 紫藤轩, a halal restaurant in Beijing. (Chinese "halal" restaurants always come with beer, and probably pork. Not the same thing with Lanzhou lamian holes-in-the-wall.)
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Old May 14, 19, 4:35 am
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Here in the PH we barely have localized menus unless the name of the dish is really in Filipino.
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Old Oct 1, 19, 8:25 pm
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
Yes. So a restaurant in a non-English speaking country which only has an English menu should be avoided as it's clearly a tourist trap.

But certainly within Europe I'm often a little disappointed in countries with more commonly spoken languages when the menu has a translation - I like to practice my basic restaurant language skills.
English isn't the only language of tourist trap menus. I was in a restaurant in Ohrid, Macedonia that was written in Russian, Italian and Macedonian in that order. I could only interpret the Italian pages.
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