Originally uploaded by gacorley
This happened to me a while ago, but I was recently reminded of it:
A few weeks ago, I went to a little noodle restaurant near our school. I had already eaten those items I could read on the menu, so I ordered something I wasn't quite sure of. What I ordered was 猪肝面 (zhu gan mian). I knew what 猪 meant ('pig, pork') and I like to eat noodles (面), but I didn't know what 肝 was. Looking at the character, I noticed it had a "meat" radical so I knew it was an organ or a part of the body, and I knew how to pronounce it (gan) because of the phonetic element 干, but I didn't know what part of the body it was.
我和朋友在谈这件事，希望不是那么奇怪的东西。旁边的桌子有两个中国姑娘，其中有一个会说英语。会说英语的姑娘听到我们的谈话，想了一会然后告诉我们"It's the liver of the pig." 不久以后服务员端来了一碗猪肝面，我一下子发现很好吃。现在我常常去那家饭馆吃猪肝面。
I talked about this with my friends, hoping it wasn't something too strange. At the table beside us were to Chinese women, one of them could speak English. The one who could speak English heard us, thought for a moment and then told me "It's the liver of the pig." Not long after that, the waitress brought my 猪肝面, and unexpectedly I found it very good. Now I often go to that restaurant to have some pork-liver noodles.