I recently found myself in a food hall of sorts in Beijing, hungry for something a little bit more substantial than the various snacks that most of the vendors were offering up. There was a full fledged restaurant in the back, but the menu was fully Chinese, with no pictures to point at.
There’s an app you can get on your phone called Google Translate, where you can point your camera at something and it’ll translate it on the fly. When I first heard about this, I thought, well, travel has been revolutionized. Then I tried it. It sorta-kinda works, depending on what you point it at, but for some reason when you try it on menus the results tend to be gibberish.
Still, I was desperate enough to give it a shot, and amongst the nonsense was a line that said something about “old noodles.” So I pointed at that and ordered it.