Thursday, 4 July 2019

Protip: Translated Recipes

Finding authentic recipes online is not always easy, especially for dishes originating outside of Western Europe and North America. If you do a Google search for, say, <hummus recipe> or <chimichurri recipe>, chances are that the first few recipes will be by (a) a celebrity chef, or (b) a lifestyle blogger who encountered this dish on their travels, came back to their flat in London or Brooklyn and recreated the recipe but with added kale.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is not to make cynical comments on culinary appropriation and search engine optimisation. Rather, I am here to present a simple and, if I may say so myself, elegant solution to the aforementioned problem – a solution which exploits the fact that Google Translate is now advanced enough that, with a bit of common sense (or cross-checking against other recipes if needed), most recipes can be followed in translation.

Here's an example. I read somewhere about Vietnamese egg coffee, and wanted to try it at home. Now rather than search for <Vietnamese egg coffee recipe>, what I did was:
  • Go to Google Translate.
  • Translate "egg coffee recipe" to Vietnamese, which gives me công thức cà phê trứng.
  • Do a Google Search for <công thức cà phê trứng>.
  • Click on a search result.
  • Right click the page (in Chrome) and translate to English.

And here's the egg coffee Anasua and I made, using this recipe. It was delicious.