cross-posted, originally written: 19 July 2004
The transplantation of Chinese marketing concepts into Anglo-Saxon culture can sometimes be interesting. We’ve all seen those strange sentences on t-shirts, stationery and other knick-knicks; those amusing slogans that don’t make sense but which always sound so pretty.
Case in point, I noticed a café in Chinatown in Sydney called “Little Lamb Hot-pot”. The picture is a cute cartoon sheep face smiling at potential customers. This was a Northern Chinese restaurant and thus lamb features extensively on the menu, but the idea of eating Mary’s pet, especially after it had beckoned and smiled at me with those wide eyes, was not appealing at all. I don’t know, perhaps the rampaging Mongolian influence meant that those Northern Chinese were hardened to these ‘cute’ notions.
Another café of note is in Market City, also in Chinatown – the Blue Ice Internet Po Po House II. This is presumably the start of a long lineage of Blue Ice Internet Po Po Houses soon to be springing up at a mall near you. I have deduced that this place is perhaps of Taiwanese origin as it serves those strange bubble teas and other iced concoctions but it also has internet access – hence ‘Internet’ in its name. As to what a 'Po Po' is, your guess is as good as mine. It does mean ‘grandmother’ in various Chinese dialects, but there is nothing grandmotherly about this slick joint, awash in blue lighting, transparent plastic and neon highlights. It would have to be pretty funky grandma that would frequent this establishment.
I’m collecting a list of strange restaurant names, so please drop me a line if you know of any.