Corner Bakery Cafe Signage

In March we reported that Corner Bakery Cafe had signed a lease at 777 6th Street in Chinatown. Buildout at the 6th & H Street NW has been underway for several weeks and the future cafe entrance now has signage. Note the Chinese characters on the sign.

Occasionally the literal English translation of the Chinese characters deviates from the name of the business in a mildly amusing way. Can anyone translate the Chinese on this sign literally?

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  1. 1


    I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed…the sign actually does say Corner Bakery Cafe.
    While it literally translates to the words “corner bread coffee shop”, the last five characters are a contraction which directly translates to “bakery cafe”. (rather than saying mianbao dian kafei dian).

    What is weird is that it’s all simplified characters except 麵. To match the rest of the sign, it should be 面.

  2. 2

    FourthandEye says

    Thanks Lauren. Can’t say I’m surprised. Corner Bakery Cafe are 3 simple words so I expected they’d likely have equivalents. Hooters in Chinatown is a better case study. I’ve heard the Chinese characters say “Owl Restaurant”

  3. 3


    Ha they probably do! I’ve never read it on a sign, but I was taught that Hooters translates to “Owl Restaurant”.

    Coca Cola is my favorite. The company chose 可口可乐 because it sounds like Coca Cola – it’s pronounced ke kou ke le. Luckily, the meaning roughly translates into “Causes happiness in your mouth.”

  4. 4

    Bruce says

    Lauren: I’ve read that, when Coca Cola was first introduced in China, the characters chosen literally meant “bite the wax tadpole.” Apparently, they came up with the characters you cited later.

  5. 6

    Steven says

    @Lauren: the sign uses traditional characters. It just so happens that all the characters (except for 麵, as you noted) are the same in their traditional and simplified versions. :)

    Actually, I think most of the signs in Chinatown use the traditional characters; I recall only a couple using simplified, but it’s been awhile since I looked closely.