Note from the author: Welcome, foodies! This secret menu translation has received a bit of attention since some folks posted links on Chowhound and Yelp, and you'll even find a stack of hardcopies of this webpage at the restaurant (Joy Restaurant Secret Menu/Stack of Menus). I'm happy that somebody out there has found this information useful.

Unfortunately, I don't get to visit Joy Restaurant nearly as often as I would like. You can help me dine vicariously by sending corrections and updates to tingtingjahe AT gmail.com. Xie xie! --R

The Chinese characters are encoded as Unicode/UTF-8. If you don't see Chinese characters in the text below, then tell your browser to display the page as UTF-8 (typically under the View->Encoding menu).

Update 2010: Norman @ Foodnut informed me that the restaurant has a new address (1489 Beach Park Blvd), a new name (5 Joy), and an updated menu. You can see the FoodNut restaurant review on their website.

A Translation of the Secret Menu from Joy Restaurant

card_front.jpg For Tracy's uncle's birthday, the family went to dinner at Joy Restaurant (1489 Beach Park Blvd, Foster City, CA), which specializes in Taiwanese, Sichuan, Hunan, and Mandarin dishes. Joy Restaurant is a small, unassuming place, tucked away in a strip mall near the water. The decor is deceptive: for our meal, the kitchen delivered a stream of wonderfully unfamiliar dishes to our table. Nearly everything had been ordered from the Secret Menu.

In typical Chinese restaurant fashion, Joy Restaurant offers two menus: the English menu, with the usual Chinese-American offerings, and a Chinese menu, written in hanzi--what I call the Secret Menu. In many cases, the Secret Menu is handwritten on posters or strips of paper and hung about the restaurant walls. I bet some patrons glance at the Secret Menu and interpret it as mere calligraphy--something to get tattooed on your butt. But why settle for beef-and-broccoli? At Joy Restaurant, the Secret Menu was printed (not handwritten), and stacks of photocopies were available. Smelling a unique opportunity, I grabbed a copy of the Secret Menu.

card_back.jpg So what follows is an attempt to translate the Secret Menu from Joy Restaurant.

名廚小舘 / míng chú xiǎo guǎn / Famous Kitchen Restaurant

** 本店名菜 / běn diàn míng cài - a famous dish from this restaurant

* 本店特色菜 / běn diàn tè sè cài - a special dish from this restaurant (see Secret Menu Translation Notes on tè cán)

小菜類 xiǎo cài lèi/ small dishes

Menu

Price

Pinyin

Translation

Notes

**陳皮脆鱓

6.95

chén pí cuì shàn

crispy (freshwater) eel with tangerine peel

sichuan dish, eel fried crisp with tangerine peel

*粉蒸肥腸

4.50

fěn zhēng féi cháng

Chitterlings in rice flour

coated in seasoned rice flour & steamed

*粉蒸排骨

4.50

fěn zhēng pái gǔ

spare ribs in rice flour

coated in seasoned rice flour & steamed

*麻辣豆魚

5.50

má là dòu yú

fish with beans and szechuan pepper (?)

anybody know what this is?

*炸臭豆腐

4.50

zhá chòu dòu fu

deep-fried stinky tofu

yum!

*辣椒小魚乾

4.50

là jiāo xiǎo yú gān

hot pepper small dried fish

烤麩

4.50

kǎo fū

seitan (wheat gluten)

see Secret Menu Translation Notes on kǎo fū

*豬血糕(2)

3.50

zhū xiě gāo

pig blood cake

Fried; served on wooden skewers

*蒸臭豆腐

6.50

zhēng chòu dòu fu

steamed stinky tofu

請看右側周末小點 / qǐng kàn yòu cè zhōu mò xiǎo diǎn / please see right side for weekend snacks

周末加售特別小點 zhōu mò jiā shòu tè bié xiǎo diǎn / additional special dishes on the weekend

麵餅類 miàn bǐng lèi/wheat noodles and cake dishes

Menu

Price

Pinyin

Translation

Notes

** 小龍湯包(8)

6.50

xiǎo lóng tāng bāo

shanghai soup dumplings

How do they get the soup inside the dumplings? Ancient chinese secret!

** 花素蒸餃 (8)

6.25

huā sù zhēng jiǎo (8)

vegetarian steamed dumpling (8)

** 中華路鍋貼 (6)

6.95

zhōng huā lù guō tiē (6)

Zhong Hua Road potstickers

A fantastic dish. The unique shape of Zhong Hua Road potstickers maximizes the amount of crispy skin; see Secret Menu Translation Notes

**紅油抄手(12)

4.95

hóng yóu chāo shǒu

wontons with chili oil

抄手 = "folded hands" = wonton

**韭菜盒子(2)(15分)

5.95

jiǔ cài hé zi (2) (15 fēn)

2 fried chive "ravioli" - 15 minutes

hé zi is literally "case" or "box"

手抓餅

3.95

shǒu zhuā bǐng

shredded pancake

where "pancake" is scallion cake-style pancake

銀絲卷 (蒸)

2.25

yín sī juàn (zhēng)

silver thread roll (steamed)

yín sī = shredded radish (McCawley 233)

金絲卷 (劄)

2.25

jīn sī juàn (zhá)

gold thread roll (fried)

jīn sī = shredded carrots (McCawley 233); deep-fried bread?

蔥油餅

3.95

cōng yóu bǐng

green onion cake

yum

粉麵飯類 fěn miàn fàn lèi/rice noodles, wheat noodles, and rice

Menu

Price

Pinyin

Translation

Notes

紅燒牛肉細粉

5.95

hóng shāo niǔ ròu xì fěn

red-cooked beef with bean threads

xì fěn = vermicilli/ bean threads

* XO 醬刀削海鮮炒麵

10.50

XO jiàng dāo xiāo hái xiān chǎo miàn

hand-cut noodle chow mein with seafood and XO sauce

See Secret Menu Translation Notes for dāo xiāo.

* 木須刀削炒麵

7.50

mù xū dāo xiāo chǎo miàn

hand-cut noodle chow mein with moo shu

"moo shu" is the traditional mix of pork, julienned vegetables, egg, tree-ear fungus

刀削紅燒牛腩麵

7.50

dāo xiāo hóng shāo niú nǎn miàn

hand-cut noodles with red-cooked beef stew

nǎn = stewing beef (McCawley 143)

紅燒牛腩麵

7.50

hóng shāo niú nǎn miàn

red-cooked beef stew

ǎn = stewing beef (McCawley 143)

* 排骨飯或湯麵

6.95

pái gǔ fán huò tāng miàn

rice or noodle soup with spare ribs

或 is short for 或者/huò zhe ("or")

雪菜肉絲湯麵

6.50

xuě cài ròu sī tāng miàn

pork noodle soup with pickled mustard

"ròu sī" is julienned pork. For xuě cài, see Secret Menu Translation Notes

搾菜肉絲湯麵

6.50

zhà cài ròu sī tāng miàn

pork noodle soup with pickled mustard root

zhà = pressed. See Secret Menu Translation Notes on zhà cài.

* 上海粗炒麵

6.50

shàng hǎi cū chǎo miàn

fried shanghai-style thick noodles

** 滷肉飯

4.25

lǔ ròu fàn

stewed pork with rice

pork braised in lǔ (soy, anise, etc), served over rice. Irresistable.

* 雪菜肉絲炒年糕

6.95

xuě cài ròu sī chǎo nián gāo

stir-fried pork with pickled mustard and rice cake

see Secret Menu Translation Notes for nián gāo

齊菜肉絲炒年糕

6.95

qí cài ròu sī chǎo nián gāo

stir-fried pork with greens and rice cake

see Secret Menu Translation Notes for notes on qí cài

湯類 tāng lèi/soup category

Menu

Price

Pinyin

Translation

Notes

*西洋參土雞湯(預定)

28.00

xī yáng cān tǔ jī tāng (yù dìng)

organic chicken soup with American ginseng (order ahead)

literally: western-style earth chicken soup; see Secret Menu Translation Notes on "xi yang can tu ji tang"

*豆辦雞片湯

6.50

dòu bàn jī piàn tāng

fermented bean sliced chicken soup

蠶豆辦醬 (cán dòu bàn jiàng) is Sichuan fermented broad-bean sauce

**醃篤鮮片 (大)

17.50

yān dǔ xiān piàn (dà)

Yan Du Xian soup (big) lit: salty sincere delicacy

A classical Shanghai soup: ham, fresh pork, bamboo shoots. See Secret Menu Translation Notes

砂鍋鰱魚頭 (紅或白,25分鐘,大)

18.95

shā guō lián yǔ tóu (hóng huò bái, 25 fēn zhōng, dà)

clay pot fish head (red or white), 25 minutes, big

lián = a type of fish (Jennifer)

酸白菜白肉砂鍋(大)

15.95

suān bái cài bái ròu shā guō (dà)

fatty pork and pickled napa cabbage clay pot (big)

lit: pickled bok choi (napa?) white meat clay pot; bái ròu = really fatty pork (Jennifer)

麻辣沙鍋(大)

18.95

má là shā guō (dà)

sichuan pepper clay pot

什錦沙鍋(大)

17.95

shí jǐn shā guō (dà)

mixed vegetable clay pot

什錦菜/shí jǐn cài = mixed vegetables (Jennifer)

酸菜豬血湯

6.25

suān cài zhū xiě tāng

pig blood soup with pickled vegetables

*大腸酸菜豬血湯

7.25

dà cháng suān cài zhū xiě tāng

pig blood soup with (pork) intestine & pickled vegetables

西湖牛肉羹

6.25

xī hú niǔ ròu gēng

west lake beef thick soup

gēng = thick soup (Jennifer)

海帶苗豆腐湯

6.25

hǎi dài miáo dòu fǔ tāng

kelp, "sprouts," and tofu soup

海帶 (hǎi dài) is kelp, i.e. konbu. 苗 (miáo), literally "sprouts," is "young seaweed"--lighter green and more tender than sprouts

魚丸湯

5.50

yǔ wán tāng

fish ball soup

海鮮類 hái xiān lèi/seafood dishes

Menu

Price

Pinyin

Translation

Notes

**正宗避風塘炒蟹 (酸清湯河粉,請預定)

29.95

zhèng zōng bì fēng táng chǎo xiè (suān qīng tāng hé fěn, qǐng yù dìng)

Authentic Bi Feng Tang fried crab (pickled greens soup, flat rice noodle, please order ahead)

In the "Bi Feng Tang" style, the crab is buried under a dry, crumbly mixture which is mostly garlic. See zhèng zōng and Bi Feng Tang under Secret Menu Translation Notes.

客家小炒

8.95

kè jiā xiǎo chǎo

hakka stir fry

stir-fried dried squid, leeks, and pork. tasty.

**豆酥鱈魚

19.95

dòu sū xuě yú

sea bass with crispy beans

Steaks of sea bass on a sizzling platter, topped with crispy (soy?) beans and scallions. Jennifer likes this one.

*椒鹽雪魚

19.95

jiāo yán xuě yú

salt-pepper sea bass

xuě yú="snow fish"=sea bass

清蒸雪魚

19.95

qǐng zhēng xuě yú

steamed sea bass

* 紅燒划水 (25分鐘)

15.95

hóng shāo huá shuǐ (25 fēnzhōng)

braised fish tail (25 minutes)

A Shanghai dish. lit: red-cooked paddle water

** 寧式鱔糊

14.95

níng shì shàn hū

níng shì eel paste

Eels cooked in the style of 寧波 (Níng Pō), a coastal city in 浙江 (Zhè Jiāng). Typically shredded eel, stir-fried with ginger, bamboo, and scallions.

蔥烤烏參

19.95

cōng kǎo wū shēn

(roasted) sea cucumber with green onions

Because the menu is blurry, I originally thought 烏參 was "crow house."

九層塔爆蜇皮 (辣)

12.95

jiǔ céng tǎ bào dàn pí (là)

sizzling jellyfish with sweet basil (hot)

jiǔ céng tǎ = sweet basil, bào=fried on a very hot platter. Think "jellyfish fajita"--or don't.

清炒蝦

11.95

qīng chǎo xiā rén

shelled shrimp, fried

See Secret Menu Translation Notes on qīng chǎo xiā rén

核桃蝦仁

12.95

hé táo xiā rén

shelled shrimp fried with walnuts

鮮百合蝦仁

13.95

xiān bǎi hé xiā rén

fresh lilly buds (with) shelled shrimp

bǎi hé = lilly buds

**避風塘炒蟹

15.95

bì fēng táng chǎo xiè

Bi Feng Tang fried crab

See the first dish in this section; not sure how this differs from above dish, zhèng zōng bì fēng táng chǎo xiè

**蟳仔米糕(前一天預訂)

28.95

chîm á bi ge (xún zǐ mǐ gāo) (qián yī tiān yùdìng)

crab with glutinous rice (order 1 day in advance)

This is a Taiwanese dish. See chîm á bi ge or xún under Secret Menu Translation Notes.

雞鴨類 jī yā lèi/chicken duck dishes

Menu

Price

Pinyin

Translation

Notes

** 去骨寳全鴨(配荷葉夾)(兩小時)

35.95

qù gǔ bā bǎo quán yā (pèi hé yè jiā)(liǎng xiǎo shí)

eight-treasure boneless whole duck (wrapped in lotus leaves) (2 hours)

an entire boneless duck, stuffed with sticky rice and other ingredients. an amazing dish--I've never seen this anywhere else.

* 紅扒全鴨(5磅)

17.95

hóng pá quán yā (5 bàng)

red-striped whole duck (5 pounds)

braised whole duck

**泥封儅貴雞(前一天預訂)

27.50

ní fēng fù guì jī (qián yī tiān yù dìng)

mud-sealed wealthy chicken (order 1 day ahead)

fu=wealth, fortune. The more fortunate version of the traditional beggar's chicken (a whole chicken, sealed in clay and baked)

** 三杯雞腿肉

9.25

sān bēi jī tuǐ ròu

three-cup chicken

lit. three-cup chicken legs; three cups of what? It depends on the recipe. a classic Chinese dish; Joy's version has basil (the Taiwanese version?)

雪菜香乾雞丁

8.95

xuě cài xiāng gān jī dīng

savory chicken with pickled mustard lit: snow vegetable fragrant dry chicken cubes

if you've had this dish, please email me

宮保雞丁 (辣)

8.95

gōng bǎo jī dīng (là)

kung-pao chicken (spicy)

gōng bǎo = "palace guard"?

肉類 ròu lèi/meat dishes

Menu

Price

Pinyin

Translation

Notes

**京醬肉絲(配手烙單餅四張每加一片50 cents)

9.95

jīng jiàng ròu sī (pèi shǒu láo dān bǐng sì zhāng měi jiā yī piàn 50 cents)

pork with Běijīng sauce (includes hand-made cakes 4 pieces, every additional piece 50 cents)

Běijīng sauce: thick, brown, and sweet.

**無錫排骨

9.95

wú xí pái gǔ

WúXí-style spare ribs

Similar to sweet-and-sour spare ribs. See Secret Menu Translation Notes on wú xí.

**大硝蹄

17.95

dà xiāo tí

steamed pork hock

lit: big nitrate hock. Jennifer reports that this is an entire steamed pork hock, served with soy sauce and black vinegar for dipping. Really good!

**紅燒圓蹄

16.95

hóng shāo yuán tí

red-cooked "round" hock (butt?)

** 五更腸旺

9.95

wǔ gēng cháng wàng

intestine-and-blood stew

chowhound: thick-soup containing intestine, blood, tofu. Served in pot over sterno. gēng = thick-soup. Lit: "wu geng" intestine prosperous

** 名廚小炒(辣)

8.95

míng chú xiǎo chǎo (là)

joy restaurant stir fry (spicy)

Chowhound: Diced firm tofu, fermented black beans, pickled dried daikon, ground pork, green pepper

*雪菜百頁肉絲

8.95

xuě cài bái yè ròu sī

stir-fried pork with with bean curd sheets and pickled mustard lit: snow vegetable, bean curd sheets, shredded pork

**砂鍋獅子頭

9.95

shā guō shī zi tóu

clay pot "lion head" meatballs

*梅菜扣肉

9.25

měi cài kòu ròu

steamed chinese bacon with dried, preserved mustard greens

a classic hakka dish and my favorite

**蒜苗瘦臘肉

8.95

suàn miáo shòu là ròu

leeks and lean ham(?)

suàn miao = leeks

**蒜泥白肉

7.95

suàn ní bái ròu

thinly-sliced pork belly in garlic sauce

(Jennifer) suàn ní = sauce with lots of garlic (lit: garlic mud). bái ròu = fatty pork.

*糖醋肉排

9.50

táng cù ròu pái

sweet-sour spare ribs

炸肉排(1)

4.95

zhā ròu pái

fried pork chop (1)

香乾肉絲

8.95

xiāng gān ròu sī

pork with dried tofu

pork, stir fried with shredded marinated & dried tofu (xiāng dòu fu gān) and yellow chives

蔥爆牛肉

8.95

cōng bào niú ròu

sizzling beef with green onion

(Jennifer) bao = cook on a very hot platter; literally, "explode"

麻辣水煮牛肉

8.95

má là shuǐ zhǔ niú ròu

lit: spicy boiled beef

A sichuan dish; the meat is "boiled" in hot oil

九層塔炒牛肉(辣)

8.95

jiǔ céng tǎ chǎo niú ròu (là)

stir-fried beef with basil (hot)

蔌菜類 sù cài lèi/vegetarian dishes

Menu

Price

Pinyin

Translation

Notes

*雪菜豆瓣酥

8.95

xuě cài dòu bàn sū

crispy broad beans with pickled mustard

*鮮百合蘭豆

8.95

xiān bǎi hē lán dòu

fresh lilly with "orchid"(?) bean

not sure about lán dòu: snow peas?

**竹笙絲瓜

8.95

zhǔ shēng sī guā

"bamboo flute" fungus and silk gourd

(Jennifer) zhǔ shēng = a type of fungus

開洋絲瓜

8.95

kāi yáng sī guā

silk gourd with little dried shrimp

(Jennifer) kāi yáng = anything with little dried shrimp. Silk gourd/sī guā is loofa.

*清炒絲瓜

8.95

qīng chǎo sī guā

stir-fried silk gourd

Silk gourd/sī guā is loofa.

*雪菜毛豆百頁

8.50

xué cài máo dòu bǎi yè

tofu skin with pickled mustard and soy beans

各式空心菜

()

gè shì kōng xīng cài

water spinach, prepared in any style

gè shì = all styles. See Secret Menu Translation Notes for kōng xīng cài.

乾煸四季豆

8.95

gān biān sì jì dòu

dry-fried string beans

*開洋白菜

8.95

kāi yáng bái cài

bok choy with little dried shrimp

*麻婆臭豆腐

8.95

má pó chòu dòu fu

stinky tofu, ma po style

Ma po tofu is a classic sichuan dish--very spicy. This is an interesting variant and it was good

菜脯蛋

8.95

cài pú dàn

scrambled eggs with preserved turnip

hakka dish, just like mom used to make

*砂鍋臭豆腐

8.95

shā guō chòu dòu fu

clay pot stinky tofu

*小魚莧菜

8.95

xiǎo yú xiàn cài

little fish with amaranth

xiàn cài = amaranth. Looks like spinach with red streaks.

A 菜

--

A cài

"A" vegetable

the ubiquitous "A" vegetable, which resembles romaine lettuce. What is "A" vegetable? See Secret Menu Translation Notes!

刨冰,甜點類 bào bīng,tián diǎn lèi / shaved ice and desserts

Menu

Price

Pinyin

Translation

Notes

**紅豆小圓子湯

3.00

hóng dòu xiǎo yuán zi tāng

red bean and dumpling soup

(Tracy) xiǎo yuán zi = little dumplings; chewy little balls, like tapioca pearls but made of rice flour

紅豆牛奶刨冰

3.00

hóng dòu niú nǎi bào bīng

red bean, (condensed) milk shaved ice

周末特別小點 zhōu mò tè bié xiǎo diǎn / special weekend dishes

Menu

Price

Pinyin

Translation

Notes

* 台式割包(2)

4.50

tái shì gē bāo

Taiwanese-style pork sandwich

lit: "taiwan-style cut bun": steamed bread, pork, cilantro. See Secret Menu Translation Notes.

** 醬肉燒餅

4.50

jiàng ròu shāo bǐng

pork with flatbread

slices of pork with jiàng (sauce), tucked inside shāo bing flatbread

** 油條

1.95

yóu tiáo

chinese "fritter" (lit: oil stick)

combine with shāo bǐng and dòu jiāng for a traditional Chinese breakfast. See Secret Menu Translation Notes on yóu tiáo.

甜豆漿

1.75

tián dòu jiāng

sweet soy milk

jiāng = thick liquid, as opposed to jiàng = thick sauce

鹹豆漿

1.95

xián dòu jiāng

salty soy milk

(Jennifer) augmented with green onions and other stuff

**鹹糯米糰

2.75

xián nuò mǐ tuán

salty glutinous rice "roll"

pork "floss" (i.e. rou sung), pickles, and a piece of yóu tiáo, rolled up sushi-style in glutinous rice; a typical Taiwanese breakfast item.

川味

6.95

chuān wèi shào zi liǎng miàn

Sichuan-style "shao" cold noodles

cold noodles with sauce. tasty! shào as in shàoxīng

湖北熱乾麵

6.95

hú běi rè gān miàn

Hubei hot noodles

"hot" = temperature hot

Other Secret Menu Items

On my second trip to Joy Restaurant, there were several Secret Menu items posted on the walls. Jennifer translated a few of them.

Original Text

Pinyin

Translation

Comment

蟹黃糕

xiè huáng gāo

crab roe cake

a pastry?

泡江豆肉末

pào jiāng dòu ròu mò

pickled green beans with minced meat

The green beans are pickled and very crunchy. Red peppers, ground pork. Tasty!!

葱頭

cāng tóu

chive/scallion "heads"

stir-fried pork with chive flowers and dried tofu (dòufu gān). I like my original translation of "fly heads," though "scallion head" is more appetizing

Change Log


CategoryFood

Joy Restaurant Secret Menu (last edited 2010-07-27 04:26:03 by RobertYu)