Polish Language Blog

Unfortunate Polish Menu Translations Posted by on Oct 28, 2008 in Culture

Though I am no longer in Gdańsk, I will keep writing about it until either I run out of things to say, or you, my dear readers – get bored.

I didn’t go to Hel this time, but no worries, I’m returning to Poland in about three weeks to pick up my ID card (dowód osobisty) and apply for a passport. And to transfer my drivers license. And to do a bazillion other, equally important things.

Next time, I also plan to eat more. Much more. During this visit I spent more time reading menus (always an exciting hobby in Poland, one worth cultivating, trust me!) than actually eating. I did have a great plate of pierogi at “U Dzika” (warning – their site is super ultra slow) on Piwna Street in Gdańsk – I ordered the 5 kind mix. Curiously, in the German version of the menu five kinds of pierogi become four, and in the English one it simply says “kind of boiled dough pockets” without mentioning you can choose five different kinds.

The pierogi were decent enough, though I have a strong suspicion they came pre-made, frozen and defrosted when needed – the dough had that strange, gummy feel to it. Still, it was a tasty, satisfying meal and the menu didn’t make me giggle.

I love reading menus, and Polish menus translated into English can be as funny as those in Japan. One restaurant had a “fried savage” on the menu. In Polish it turned out to be simply “kiełbasa pieczona,” which wasn’t even “pieczona” but grilled. In other words – grilled sausage, bratwurst to be exact.

And what about this? I’m at a loss for words, which frankly, doesn’t happen very often.

Is this carelessness or laziness? Or both? In the salad items “z” is translated correctly as “with,” so what’s up with this “witch cheese” in the pizza section? Where’s this embarrassing restaurant? It’s Republika on Długa Street. I asked inside who translated their menu, but they didn’t know, or didn’t want to tell me.

And that brings us nicely to the topic we’ll be discussing next time. No, not pizza, but those pesky little words – z, na, po, u, w.

Gary – it will be preposition time – just for you! 🙂

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  1. expateek:

    Ooooh! Awesome! Witch cheese, and just in time for Hallowe’en! I’m totally ready to come and eat pizza in Gdansk. Should I bring my broomstick??

  2. Anna:

    Expateek (I always have this compulsion to write it as “expatique” LOL!),
    The entire menu at Republika is quite hilarious. You’ll love it!
    PS. I can’t comment on your blog cuz me don’t have none of ’em blogger/open ID thingies.

  3. Fran Turner:

    Hey, Anna – I can’t see the picture and I’m so curious, now. Can you see if you can fix it?


  4. Anna:

    Hi Fran!
    It’s showing fine on my end. Are you able to see all other pictures in other posts? I wonder if it has something to do with a slow loading database/picture library. Sometimes those serves get lazy like that.

  5. Fran Turner:

    Hi Anna,

    This is the only one that I cannot see. Sigh!

  6. Fran Turner:

    And when I click on it, I get a “not found” message. Something’s not right!

  7. Fran Turner:

    Here’s the link that is “not found”, if that helps.

  8. Anna:

    Ok Fran, does it work now? I removed it and reloaded it. Please let me know!

  9. Fran Turner:

    dziekuje- I can see it now. Speaking of interesting items on menus, I remember one time in Bilbao,Spain, we stopped at a Woolworth’s (yes this was a few decades ago). On the menu was “banana splint”. This gave us the giggles so bad we thought they were going to throw us out.

  10. Ayesha Pursglove:

    I know I dont comment much but I do read each of your blog posts – I know how good it feels to get comments so let me just tell you. I love your work. You do such a Great Job of simplifing things in such a simple way (usually lol) and you have really helped me grasp some tough concepts. I always look forward to seeing you in my inbox. Thanks and keep on rockin so I can keep on learning even at my slow turtle pace In 5 years I should be able to have an actual converstion lol. but really dont ever stop you are the only real “education” I get with polish lessons

  11. Phil:

    During my recent holiday in Poland, i explored the wonderful world of the cappuccino. The Polish version varied from what I call a flat white, through to a magnificant concoction that included a large cone of creme on the coffee, built up to a height of 1.5 cups above the top of the cup and then sprinkled with small pieces of fruit.
    Each cup was an experience in itself, but i did get the occasional true cappuccino as I drink them at home.

  12. Anna:

    “banana splint”??? – wow! that’s one for the books! 😉

    glad you enjoy the blog! And we’ll try to help you have an actual conversation a bit sooner than 5 years, OK?

    I hear ya! I ordered what I thought was an ice coffee, and dang, this thing came with cream, chocolate shavings, and a shot of something fruity flavored. It must have had about 5000 calories, if not more. And it simply said “kawa na zimno” on the menu.

  13. Michael Dembinski:

    My fave (Hotel Orbis, Tychy, August 1989):

    Zestaw surówek

    A set of rawness