Canadian puzzled at ‘Putin(e) fries’ in Taiwan

Photo courtesy of Josh Ellis/Twitter and @KremlinRussia_E/Twitter

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Languages can be tricky sometimes, and more often than not, things and meanings can get lost in translation if you rely on Google to translate. 

Josh Ellis, a Taiwan-based photographer, recently made that point in a tweet of a sign placed at a storefront advertising for “poutine fries” — a Canadian delight made of french fries topped with brown gravy.

Contrary to all expectations, the Chinese translation of “Poutine fries” (butin shutiao, 普丁薯條) left many expats, especially Canadians, both confused and amused at using the last name of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin (佛拉迪米爾·普丁), for the name of the dish.

The Canadian photographer explained that he was traveling in Taitung, southern Taiwan when he came across the creative translation.

He wondered whether the fries would be served at Walter Reed, a medical center that has allegedly been infiltrated by Russian agents to acquire U.S. President Donald Trump’s medical records.

Another Twitter user also took a jab at the funny translation with a picture of a “Putin Clinic” (普京) in Daan District, Taipei. 


Another also suggested that the translation may have been chosen as it was better than “Pudding fries” (“布丁薯條”).

Foreigners in Taiwan have long pointed out at the many funny English-to-Mandarin and Mandarin-to-English translations, including a recent picture of a pork chop rice stand that became viral online after the owner translated the popular dish “Bye good ben don,” which sounds phonetically similar to “pork chop lunch box” in Taiwanese.