Found Poem

Thanks Glen Norris!


  1. Thai here. Those fish in the first 4 menu items are Asian seabass (in hotpot with other seafood/grilled with salt/fried with fish sauce/fried with spicy sweet and sour sauce) and the last item is baked shrimp with mung bean noodle.

  2. My interpretation is that the Fish is too rational; it is constantly evaluating, estimating, seizing things up, never doing.  The Fish’s Hamlet-like indecisiveness incurs the ire of the sea thicket.  Much salt is burned; yet the Fish continues to vacillate and estimate.  Finally the more active and intuitive shrimp leaps into action and bakes noodles made of green grams.  No endless, pallid estimating for him.

  3. The Fish estimates sea thicket is angry.
    The Fish estimates the thicket burns salt.
    The Fish estimates.
    The thicket burns salt.
    The Fish estimates three taste thicket
    The Shrimp bakes noodles made of green grams
    The Fish estimates it not.
    The Fish,
    The Fish,
    Woe betide the Fish.
    The Shrimp does bake.
    The Fish shall estimate.
    And both shall harken
    The Doom of All.

    1. Holy Chinese Menu Batman!  Is that for real?  I couldn’t even finish reading it.  Too much. 

      1. As far as I know, it’s real. IIRC, was a blog written by an American ex-pat married to a Chinese woman and living in China. I saved the entire “May I Take Your Order” page to my computer in 2008, in case it were to ever be taken down. Glad I did.

        There are a couple of images missing from the Google cache near the end —
        “Gold silver lotus root silk fries shrimp fucks”
        “Benumbed hot vegetables fries fuck silk”

  4. It was translated word by word. So the result is non-sensical. If you notice item #2 and #3 are written differently in Thai script, yet their English translations are the same.  How useful is that or how is that possible?  As a native Thai speaker, I think the writer was trying very hard to be funny when he wrote this menu.

    1. meh, both cost the same anyway, 300 baht for fish thicket with burning salts is good pricing. Sawatikup.

  5. The Fish estimates / sea thicket is angry
    The Fish estimates / the thicket burns salt

    The opening stanza has us travel with “the Fish” (global marine biodiversity) as he intuits “anger” in the “sea thicket” (marine habitats). We discover the disproportionate impact on estuarine zones, where shipping and industry has introduced toxic PCBs into habitats with a variegated dispersal of salt- and freshwater areas (ll. 3-4).

    The Fish estimates / the thicket burns salt
    The Fish estimates / three taste thicket
    The shrimp bakes / noodles made of green grams

    In a clairvoyant flash, the Fish ascertains the future of humankind: as marine ecosystems are devastated, biodiversity decreases, with whole orders vanishing, oceans dead, and entire spectra of umami lost to time and memory. In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only farmed carp, tilapia and salmon (l. 6). The lower classes may subsist on a kind of extruded nutrient paste (ll. 9-10).

  6. It is easy to scoff at the attempts of non-English speakers to translate things for those of us too lazy to learn even the rudiments of a foreign language… and that makes it even more fun!

    1. But c’mahn, even google would translate it better from the original… they could get off their lazy butts and type the phrases into a search bar on a smartphone…

    1. I typed ปลากะพง into Google translate, and it gave me “Striped bass”. My guess is that someone used a dictionary manually, which is a no-no. Use the machines. The machines know more than you do.

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