by Don  

Меню is a word that both Russian and English have borrowed from French, and it of course means menu. Because it ends in a sound that is not typical for a nominative singular noun in Russian, the noun is indeclinable, which means that it never changes endings. That's right: the genitive singular of меню is меню, as is the instrumental plural and all the other forms. However, the adjective that modifies the noun will definitely change for case. Since меню is both indeclinable and inanimate, it is treated as a neuter noun in Russian. Thus the phrase 'this menu' declines like this:

Nomэто менюэти меню
Genэтого менюэтих меню
Preэтом меню
Datэтому менюэтим меню
Insэтим менюэтими меню

Here are a few sample sentences:

Передайте, пожалуйста, меню. Pass me the menu, please.
Вам нужно меню? Do you need a menu?
Я закажу без меню. Я уже знаю, что я хочу. I'll order without the menu. I already know what I want.
Не поверишь, какое меню в ресторане «Нептун». Там морепродуктов без конца! You won't believe the menu at the Neptune Restaurant. There's no end to the seafood offerings!

When you first get to Russia and look at a Russian menu, your brain will likely undergo a complete meltdown. They phrase things differently. They list the weights of the components for many dishes. They have different customary dishes. And things are simply organized differently. So here for your viewing pleasure, I shall provide you with a Russian menu. It's a little trickier than Moscow menus because it contains borrowed Tatar words like элеш and перемяч which even Russians don't necessarily know outside of Tatarstan. It's the menu of a little kiosk that is located not far from the building that houses the филфак of the Tatar State Humanities Pedagogical University. There was a week where I had coffee there every morning. A preview of their menu is at the right. Click on the menu to see a larger version. An English translation of the menu is below.


1.Shawarma (1)602
2.Baked potato (280 g.)250.83
3.Side salad (40 g.)150.50
4.Grilled chicken (1)1906.33
5.Thigh-drumstick (1)501.66
6.Thigh-drumstick (½)250.83
7.Plate (1 thigh-drumstick, fries, cabbage salad, ketchup mayonnaise) 752.50
8.½ plate (½ thigh-drumstick, fries, cabbage salad, ketchup mayonnaise) 501.66
9.Fries, cabbage salad, ketchup, mayonnaise (150g, 40g, 20g, 20g)250.83
10.Mayonnaise (20g)30.09
11.Ketchup (30g)30.09
12.Chicken shishkebab351.17
13.Rice pilaf with beef451.50
14.Sausage link (1)90.30
15.Sausage link + fries341.13
19.Rolton noodle soup — instant150.50
20.Rolton mashed potatoes — instant160.53
21.Chicken pizza451.50
22.Sausage pizza451.50
23.Mushroom pizza451.50
Baked goods
21.Lavash (1)200.67
22.Stuffed triangle220.73
23.Beef croissant280.93
24.Chicken croissant250.83
25.Large savory hole-less doughnut stuffed with chicken301.00
26.Pig in a blanket150.50
27.Cabbage with bacon100.33
28.Potato calzone90.09
29.Sausage pizza280.93
30.Waffle cone with fried sweetened, condensed milk200.67
31.Small savory doughnut160.53
32.Sweetened farmer’s cheese pastry150.50
33.Tea (black, green)60.18
34.Tea with lemon60.18
35.Black coffee (coffee, sugar)90.27
36.3-in-1 coffee (coffee, cream, sugar)90.27

If you read carefully, you'll notice the same item is listed twice at different prices (#22 & #29). I still haven't figured that issue out. And considering the numbering problem on the menu, I'm guessing that they haven't figured it out either.


Comment from: Aleksey [Visitor]  

Pizza can be with different sorts of sausage: salami or more cheap one.

08/13/10 @ 16:56
Comment from: Yegor [Visitor]

May be that’s because pizzas are of different weight or quality? They could easily forgot to show that.

Don responds: Oof, good heavens. You are entirely right. In my haste I didn’t even look at the weight. Some day I’ll have to write a blog entry about how we don’t see things under our very noses. Actually, now that I think about it, I did write such an entry years ago in my yoga blog. (Alas, that blog is not currently active.)

07/16/10 @ 07:35

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