Understanding English Menus – Part 1

Understanding English MenusEven a simple task such as eating out can be very daunting if English is not your native language. Many of the restaurants and bistro’s in England have not adopted the ‘pictorial menu‘ approach that you will find in most other European tourist destinations.

Picture the scene:
You are sitting in a lovely little seaside restaurant, the views are fantastic, and even the sun is shining (yes, I know we’re in England, but just pretend). Then you take a look at the menu! You know that you want to try some of the local seafood, because that’s why you came here, but what are all these strange things on here? Devilled Shrimp? Dublin Bay Prawns? Tiger Prawns? Langoustines? Cray Fish? Surf and Turf?

Even if English is your native language things can be confusing. A ‘Shrimp’ to an English person is very different to what an Australian or New Zealander would expect. If you were to “throw a shrimp on the barbie” over here, it would be very disappointing indeed! 

Without actually seeing these dishes, many people would not have a clue what they were. So what do you do?

Waitressa) Ask the waiter what each item is, and hope he doesn’t make you look stupid for not knowing.
b) Look around at the other tables to see what they are eating, and take a guess.
c) Order something safe that you know on the menu, and miss out on the local specialities that you came here for in the first place.

With the help of a ‘pictorial menu‘, you can increase your confidence and order exactly what you want. If we use the seafood examples from above, you would see something like this:

Dublin Bay Prawns
Dublin Bay Prawns
Tiger Prawns
Tiger Prawns
Cray Fish
Surf and Turf
Surf and Turf

For hundreds more English Menu examples, see the Menu Reader on SayAgain.info.

This entry was posted in Everyday English, Understanding English Menus and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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