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Old 05.04.2012, 22:26
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my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

since we moved over here just about a year ago, and once I figured out sufficient German / Swiss German to read a menu, I have been conducting a completely non-scientific study of menus at local establishments in and around Zurich. soooooo...

why in the Hades is it that the "English" menus at pretty much every place here in the Zurich area are not as robust as the regular menu? and I know this because, no matter what crowd I go out to eat with and no matter where, the default reaction from the wait staff is to hand me the gringo menu. in just the past 10 days, the English menu would have left me missing out on a fantastic rindsfiletwuerfel mit spinat und herdoepfel, as well as a traditional kalbbrat mit zweibeln sauce und roesti (the roesti was the best I've had). and heaven forbid I might actually be in the mood for geschnetzeltes.

I realize that we gringos have unsophisticated palates and that all we want are cheeseburgers and pizza, but if you're going to offer an "English menu" is it too much to ask to have it offer the good stuff, too???



P.S. I did search for similar threads, so apologies if I missed some other poor soul's similar and prior complaint.
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Old 05.04.2012, 23:05
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

Well here in Geneva both menus offer the same dishes. Sometimes though the English translation is so bad i understand more the French descriptions
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Old 05.04.2012, 23:14
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

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Well here in Geneva both menus offer the same dishes. Sometimes though the English translation is so bad i understand more the French descriptions
Best I saw recently was "Alpen maccaroni" translated as Pennine .....
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Old 05.04.2012, 23:15
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

In some tourist resorts in Egypt the Arabic menu and the English menu are exactly the same, the only difference are the prices
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Old 05.04.2012, 23:29
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

It is like a computer game. Once you obtain a skill, like speaking german, you pass to the next level and get extra features
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Old 06.04.2012, 20:33
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

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It is like a computer game. Once you obtain a skill, like speaking german, you pass to the next level and get extra features
gnau wie es sii sott

it's even worse when places have "specials of the day" or "house specials" which are printed on standalone paper and slid into the menus. they don't even bother with the English, nor do they slide the printouts into the English menus.

come to think of it, maybe we expats would complain less about the food here in Switzerland if we were looking at the proper menus???

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Old 17.04.2012, 14:47
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

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gnau wie es sii sott

it's even worse when places have "specials of the day" or "house specials" which are printed on standalone paper and slid into the menus. they don't even bother with the English, nor do they slide the printouts into the English menus.

come to think of it, maybe we expats would complain less about the food here in Switzerland if we were looking at the proper menus???

maybe you would complain less if you learned German so you didn't need to be given the english menu?

Seriously, where else would you get an English menu, I don't think I was ever offered a German or French menu in the UK or Canada. So that is complaining on a very high level
(and yeah, I am pulling your leg, but if it makes you feel better just groan at me, I can take it..)
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Old 17.04.2012, 14:50
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

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Well here in Geneva both menus offer the same dishes. Sometimes though the English translation is so bad i understand more the French descriptions
gata, but you have to remember here in Geneve we have a more advanced palate than those northerners



( case in point = Beer n burger II )
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Old 17.04.2012, 15:07
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

I believe all restaurants used to do a full translation of all dishes but since EF started up, their enthusiasm has taken a nose-dive.

After reading our tongue in cheek remarks about things like 'pith soup' (work that one out!) they've decided we are not worth the trouble. Of course, they don't get the bits they still do translate right anyway, but they get fewer complaints from us as there is less to criticise and until we get a bit of German we don't actually realise how many dishes are missing on the English version we are given.
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Old 17.04.2012, 16:07
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

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maybe you would complain less if you learned German so you didn't need to be given the english menu?

Seriously, where else would you get an English menu, I don't think I was ever offered a German or French menu in the UK or Canada. So that is complaining on a very high level
(and yeah, I am pulling your leg, but if it makes you feel better just groan at me, I can take it..)
hani nimmer es menu im Englisch abgfroegt, it is always magically handed to me. all part of a vast conspiracy to deny us gringos access to those fabled Swiss specialties like sausage, cubed veal, egg noodle and potato pancake.

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Old 17.04.2012, 17:16
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

Sadly, it's not just in Switzerland that this happens. While in Milan last weekend our family popped into a restaurant and we were each given an 8 page menu. We're not by any stretch fluent in Italian, but were figuring out the menu just fine. Waitress overheard us speaking English to each other and swapped our menus for a 2-page English menu that only listed pizza and wine on it! OH asked for the Italian menu back but was told that we "wouldn't enjoy it" (I assume they meant we wouldn't enjoy anything on the menu other than pizza???)
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Old 17.04.2012, 17:56
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

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Sadly, it's not just in Switzerland that this happens. While in Milan last weekend our family popped into a restaurant and we were each given an 8 page menu. We're not by any stretch fluent in Italian, but were figuring out the menu just fine. Waitress overheard us speaking English to each other and swapped our menus for a 2-page English menu that only listed pizza and wine on it! OH asked for the Italian menu back but was told that we "wouldn't enjoy it" (I assume they meant we wouldn't enjoy anything on the menu other than pizza???)
Indeed surprising that it listed wine
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Old 17.04.2012, 21:37
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

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Sadly, it's not just in Switzerland that this happens. While in Milan last weekend our family popped into a restaurant and we were each given an 8 page menu. We're not by any stretch fluent in Italian, but were figuring out the menu just fine. Waitress overheard us speaking English to each other and swapped our menus for a 2-page English menu that only listed pizza and wine on it! OH asked for the Italian menu back but was told that we "wouldn't enjoy it" (I assume they meant we wouldn't enjoy anything on the menu other than pizza???)
And you haven't even seen the "English" menus for "Indian Chinese" food in India!
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Old 18.04.2012, 00:58
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

I really hate being given or offered an English menu when I'm eating out abroad (well at least anywhere where I can read the local language - so that rules out Cyrillic, Arabic and Kanji menus etc., etc). And that has happened to me in CH and a few other countries when I have been talking with Mrs TD in English in the restaurant. If they offer a choice I reply "give me the local language menu please" (usually in the local language where I can)

As a dedicated foodie, I pretty much know what the local cuisine can offer and I am willing to try pretty much anything. Being a foreigner and asking for the local delicacy... Woah, RESPECT!

TD

PS One of the best meals I ever had was on a cruise on the Nile, having struck up a rapport with one of the boat's chef (on buffet duty), I persuaded him to serve me what he was cooking for the crew... I had the most amazing Lamb with okra and rice - whilst everyone else was being served a boring Spaghetti Napolitaine
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Old 18.04.2012, 07:05
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

Its a pity more people don't think like the TrainDoctor and stop complaining abiout the english menu being less complete or non existent. Since when did england publish meals in languages other then the national lingo, if you ask for a english menu and only get a limited chjoice then you only have yourself to blame!!!
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Old 18.04.2012, 09:28
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

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Its a pity more people don't think like the TrainDoctor and stop complaining abiout the english menu being less complete or non existent. Since when did england publish meals in languages other then the national lingo, if you ask for a english menu and only get a limited chjoice then you only have yourself to blame!!!
Completely agree. We're adventurous with our food and really not afraid to try anything. I think in our case people sometimes assume we'll want the English menu (and it's more "normal" offerings) because we have young children with us. If only they knew that our kids are adventurous foodies, too And, what to do in a situation when you request the local menu but are declined? We didn't want to be rude or pushy in Milan and further the "rude and arrogant American" stereotype...
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Old 18.04.2012, 12:42
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

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Its a pity more people don't think like the TrainDoctor and stop complaining abiout the english menu being less complete or non existent. Since when did england publish meals in languages other then the national lingo, if you ask for a english menu and only get a limited chjoice then you only have yourself to blame!!!
my complaint was that a place that is going to offer an English menu and foist it upon its gringo diners should at least offer the same stuff as they offer everybody else, not that they had an obligation to offer an English menu. I am perfectly fine with a Swiss German menu (how else would I be able to tell the difference between the menu offerings?), though it's not like translating "schweinbrat mit zweibeln sauce und roesti" is all that hard to translate into English.

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Old 18.04.2012, 12:48
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

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Seriously, where else would you get an English menu, I don't think I was ever offered a German or French menu in the UK or Canada. So that is complaining on a very high level
I once shared a table in the USA with an elderly German gentleman who didn't speak a word of English, but was on a multi week tour of the USA. I helped him with the menu and to translate his orders for the waiter. I asked how he got by without English and he said he's always managed to find somebody who could speak some German. In fact even as I was speaking German to him, we were approached by another guy who could speak some minimal German but was very keen to share it with us.
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Old 18.04.2012, 12:52
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

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I once shared a table in the USA with an elderly German gentleman who didn't speak a word of English, but was on a multi week tour of the USA. I helped him with the menu and to translate his orders for the waiter. I asked how he got by without English and he said he's always managed to find somebody who could speak some German. In fact even as I was speaking German to him, we were approached by another guy who could speak some minimal German but was very keen to share it with us.
and imagine his disappointment if the menu given him at every restaurant only offered schweinbraten mit kartoffelsalat.

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Old 18.04.2012, 12:57
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Re: my 2nd non-scientific study - english menus

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Sadly, it's not just in Switzerland that this happens. While in Milan last weekend our family popped into a restaurant and we were each given an 8 page menu. We're not by any stretch fluent in Italian, but were figuring out the menu just fine. Waitress overheard us speaking English to each other and swapped our menus for a 2-page English menu that only listed pizza and wine on it! OH asked for the Italian menu back but was told that we "wouldn't enjoy it" (I assume they meant we wouldn't enjoy anything on the menu other than pizza???)
Happened to me in Chinese restaurant in Dallas. A Chinese friend took me there, saying it was the ultimate experience in Chinese cuisine. I think I was the only white guy in the whole restaurant and all the staff spoke Chinese and even all the signs were in Chinese and only Chinese (a good thing I didn't need to go to the bathroom). My friend was given a six-page menu in Chinese and I got a scruffy one-page menu in English (which was so badly written that it was impossible to actually understand any of it). However, my friend translated items of the Chinese menu for me and we ordered from that to the great surprise of the waiter who double checked to make sure I knew what I was ordering.
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