Yesterday I mentioned the phrase “It’s like watching paint dry.” This video of a street vendor making jianbing (煎饼・Chinese breakfast crepes) is like watching socks go around in a clothes dryer.

Compare that method with this one:

I’m sure there are as many ways to make this as there are street vendors in Beijing.

A funny account of someone addicted to jianbing: “Let he who has turned down a delicious jianbing first call me fatty” (from Roads & Kingdoms).

Also: “Why Jianbing is China’s Most Popular Street Breakfast” (from Serious Eats)

And if you want to try making it yourself: a recipe (from Genius Kitchen).

Another recipe, with a slightly different take on it, called Jidan Bing (from The Woks of Life).

Or wait four years and make a plan to go to the next Winter Olympics in Beijing.



Chocolate ears

I found this video on a post from Youngzine about chocolate and Valentine’s Day. Youngzine is a good source of reading and watching/listening material — mostly about news & current events —  for EFL students of any age, though the specified target audience is native English speaking children.

The video has a couple of funny subtitle mistakes. Listen and see if you can correct them.

at about 1:46:

at about 2:30:


Ink fish and sad cold noodles

This article from Atlas Obscura describes some very funny translation fails on menus, including:


smallpox — a deadly disease that has been eradicated (last known case: 1977). In Japanese, it’s 天然痘。

Some you can probably guess:

  • “ink fish”
  • “chicken in her own juices”

Some of the other really funny ones:

  • “steak on the way home”
  • “mouth bags”
  • “sweaty tacos”
  • “nuts of St. Jack”
  • “sad cold noodles”

And some simple bad editing and misspelling:

  • “Human Taste” (instead of Hunan Taste — Hunan is a province in southern China. In Japanese it’s 湖南省)

Like I tell students all the time, if you want to really explain what お好み焼き is, you can’t just say, “Japanese pancake” and you certainly can’t just translate “Grilled whatever you like”.

Take this example (three translations of a French dish called ile flottante) and try it with some hard to translate foods from Japan or your major language country.