Unexpected Delights at Beijing’s Number One Building

Fluent Fiction – Mandarin Chinese
www.FluentFiction.org/Mandarin Chinese
Story Transcript:
Zh: 在北京的一家老北京大饭店,又名“京城第一楼”,正对着天安门。这里的菜品名字奇特,味道不可言喻,令人总是惊喜连连。这个晚上,张伟带着他的约会对象刘英,准备在这享受一顿丰盛的晚餐。
En: At a famous old Beijing restaurant in Beijing, known as Beijing’s Number One Building, facing Tiananmen Square, the dishes here have unique names and indescribable flavors, always pleasantly surprising. On this evening, Zhang Wei brought his date, Liu Ying, to enjoy a sumptuous dinner here.

Zh: 张伟,一个外地来京的年轻人,一直对北京的文化充满了好奇。他心情紧张又期待。他曾听说,只有那相当流利的普通话才能真正点出京城第一楼所有菜品的韵味,所以他花了大量的时间,尽可能地改善自己的普通话。他希望能让刘英喜欢上自己。
En: Zhang Wei, a young man from out of town who has always been curious about Beijing’s culture, was feeling nervous yet excited. He had heard that only fluent Mandarin could truly bring out the charm of all the dishes at Beijing’s Number One Building, so he spent a lot of time improving his Mandarin as much as possible. He hoped to make Liu Ying like him.

Zh: 刘英是土生土长的北京人,她爱好京城的一草一木。她看着张伟那一副紧张而认真的模样,心里又是感动又是好笑。
En: Liu Ying, a native Beijinger, loves every aspect of the city. She looked at Zhang Wei’s nervous yet earnest demeanor, feeling touched and amused at the same time.

Zh: 青砖小瓦的老北京楼房下,刘英和张伟找了个角落坐下,身旁摆满了各种旧时物件,王杰是他们的服务员,面带微笑,手持菜单走过来。
En: Under the old Beijing building with blue bricks and small tiles, Liu Ying and Zhang Wei found a corner to sit down, surrounded by various old objects. Wang Jie was their waiter, smiling as he approached with the menu.

Zh: 张伟接过菜单,满怀信心地说:“我们要一份炸酱面,一份烤鸭……”他用他至今为止最完美的普通话,认真点着菜。然而,当他想点“拔丝地瓜”的时候,却一时紧张,发音错误,变成了“拔丝毛驴”。
En: Taking the menu confidently, Zhang Wei said, ‘We’ll have a plate of fried noodles, a Peking duck…’ using his most flawless Mandarin to carefully order the dishes. However, when he wanted to order ‘sweet potato in syrup’, he hesitated and pronounced it incorrectly as ‘syrup donkey’.

Zh: 王杰一愣,刘英却笑出了声,整个饭店的人都回头看向他们。张伟感到脸颊火辣辣的,无地自容。
En: Wang Jie was taken aback, but Liu Ying burst out laughing, drawing attention from everyone in the restaurant. Zhang Wei felt his face burning with embarrassment.

Zh: 然而,接下来发生的事让张伟完全惊呆。王杰笑着说:“拔丝毛驴,确实是我们店里的一道菜。”说完,他转身就去了。原来“拔丝毛驴”真的是菜品之一,只不过是间餐厅的一道特色创意菜,将刀豆精心烹煮后,做成了形似“毛驴”的模样,再裹上糖霜。
En: However, what happened next completely stunned Zhang Wei. Wang Jie smiled and said, ‘Syrup donkey is indeed one of our dishes.’ With that, he turned and left. It turned out that ‘syrup donkey’ was actually a dish, a creative specialty of the restaurant. The dish, resembling a donkey, was made by carefully cooking knife beans and coating them with sugar.

Zh: 张伟一瞬间明白,刘英肯定认为他是故意的。他满脸通红地向刘英解释:“我真的不知道这是菜名…我是想点拔丝地瓜的。”刘英瞪大了眼睛,然后忍不住笑出了声。她说:“我知道。我觉得这个是你的一种用心,我很感动。”
En: In a moment of realization, Zhang Wei understood that Liu Ying must have thought he did it on purpose. Blushing, he explained to Liu Ying, ‘I really didn’t know that was the dish name… I meant to order sweet potato in syrup.’ Liu Ying widened her eyes, then couldn’t help but burst into laughter. She said, ‘I knew. I think it shows your thoughtfulness, and that’s touching.’

Zh: 张伟松了口气,两人互视而笑。尽管还有些尴尬,但更多的是释然。窗外的夜晚静悄悄的,张伟明白,这场晚餐,没有因为一个错误而变得尴尬,反而变得更有意思。这也许就是他和刘英间令人期待的开始。
En: Zhang Wei breathed a sigh of relief as they shared a smile. Despite some lingering awkwardness, there was more understanding. The night outside the window was quiet. Zhang Wei realized that this dinner didn’t become awkward because of a mistake; instead, it became more interesting. Perhaps this was the anticipated beginning between him and Liu Ying.

Vocabulary Words:
张伟 : Zhang Wei
刘英 : Liu Ying
北京 : Beijing
饭店 : restaurant
文化 : culture
普通话 : Mandarin
菜品 : dishes
味道 : flavors
丰盛 : sumptuous
紧张 : nervous
服务员 : waiter
菜单 : menu
拔丝地瓜 : Sweet potato in syrup
尴尬 : embarrassment
创意 : creative
特色 : specialty
领悟 : realization
用心 : thoughtfulness
理解 : understanding
有意思 : interesting
开始 : beginning
惊喜 : surprising
奇特 : unique
期待 : excited
韵味 : charming
尴尬 : awkwardness
流利 : fluent
感动 : touching
笑 : laughing
惊呆 : surprised