SIA uniforms, mistranslated menu in Singapore-style Beijing restaurant's got us scratching our heads

Borderless' wait staff were seen wearing the sarong kebaya that resemble the uniform of Singapore Airlines stewardess.
PHOTO: Facebook/Arthur Pang

Some travellers appreciate having a taste of home when they're overseas, but a man who recently visited a Singaporean-style restaurant in China was more amused by what he saw there.

On the menu were local favourites such as "Lion city throw bread" (Roti prata) — quite the literal translation of the Chinese name of the dish.

On Monday (April 18), Facebook user Arthur Pang posted some photos of his dinner from the night before at Borderless, a restaurant located in Beijing.

Within a day, his post captured the attention of many online, receiving over 1,600 shares.

A Singapore-styled restaurant in Beijing with waitresses dressed in Singapore Airlines uniform, with awful English translations in their menu. FYI, it is run and managed by local Chinese.

Posted by Arthur Pang on Sunday, April 17, 2022

Apart from wacky English translations of the dishes in the menu, Borderless' wait staff were seen wearing the sarong kebaya at work a la the Singapore Girl, an icon of Singapore Airlines.

In one of Pang's photos, a female staff in a red kebaya was checking her phone in the restaurant. While some took issue at the attire, what caught others' eyes was her choice of footwear.

One said the staff was wearing the "wrong shoes" while another disagreed and wrote: "She's waiting tables in a restaurant, do you all expect her to wear heels?"

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/Arthur Pang

Pang told AsiaOne it was his second time visiting the restaurant, adding how amused he felt after seeing the wait staff wearing Singapore Airlines' crew attire.

"I didn't see that during my first visit a few months back," he said.

When Pang looked through the menu, the English translations weren't accurate, to say the least.

This did not surprise the 48-year-old Malaysian as poor English translations are, according to him, common at local restaurants in China.

While some were simple spelling errors, other dish names left many scratching their heads.

"Tauhu Goreng" in the menu was accompanied by a photo of a completely different dish. We're not too sure about the tofu in Beijing but the ones served in Singapore are definitely not stalky nor green.

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/Arthur Pang

The actual tauhu goreng dish in the menu, however, was eerily translated as "fried tofu with minced Malay meat".

This alarmed a couple of Malay netizens while another netizen thought it's a dish worthy of defeating the nasi goreng Cina (Chinese fried rice).

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/Arthur Pang

Other menu items that made many chuckle include "Singapore shrimp cake" (keropok) and the restaurant's supposed inability to differentiate between fried rice and fried bee hoon.

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/Arthur Pang

From Pang's photos, most of the dishes on the menu don't look that Singaporean but who knows, maybe it is meant to be that way.

The restaurant, which was set up in 2015, is named Borderless after all.

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amierul@asiaone.com