Daniel Frauchiger, Switzerland
Mike Pomranz
June 22, 2017

“If you were to open a Chinese restaurant named like ‘Dorchester Meadows’ it would probably tank,” the Washington Post’s Wonkblog suggests about halfway through a recent article on Chinese restaurant names. It’s a humorous thought, but also, interestingly, one that appears to be very accurate: Chinese restaurant tend to skew towards specific words when choosing a name.

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With data pulled from Yelp on close to 40,000 Chinese restaurants, the Post was able to analyze these establishments’ names to try to uncover which words were most common. The results are revealing as to just how conventional the names of Chinese eateries can be. The most popular word: “Restaurant.” Following close behind is “China” and “Chinese,” which together can be found in over a third of all the restaurant names. Apparently, when it comes to eating out, Chinese restaurant owners want to get right to the point.

Some of the other most popular words include “Express” and “Panda” (a slant in the data created by one large Chinese food chain in particular) as well as “Wok,” “Garden,” “House,” “New,” “Golden” and “Dragon.” I think I’ve been to that restaurant.

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Of course, Chinese restaurants aren’t alone in following certain naming conventions. I think most people would have a preconception about the kind of food you’re going to get at “Vinnie’s.” Or what the menu will look like at a place whose name includes the word “sub.” But it’s also a reminder that a name doth not a restaurant make. I think the moral is, if you ever see a Chinese restaurant named “Dorchester Meadows,” you have to give it a try. 

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