Monday, December 8, 2008

Changarros, platos y elote, Oh My!

As usual, I found myself enjoying a delicious meal while learning some really fun, interesting and occasionally useful Spanish.

Ever get the bill and it's so high that you go into total shock thinking to yourself, what did I order?! You can express that shock in Spanish by saying..."¿que rompí?" - What did I break!?

Think of knocking over a shelf full of expensive items and being expected to pay for them all. Thus the analogy of getting stuck with an expensive bill - "¿que rompí?" And of course you can conjugate the verb (romper - to break) to express this sentiment for all occasions - ¿que rompiste? , ¿que rompimos?

I'm sure we've all made jokes about not having enough money to pay the bill for that porterhouse steak we've just devoured, and how we're going to have work off the bill by washing those dishes. Turns out they have the same joke in Mexico - "Voy a tener que lavar los platos". You can also substitute the word "trastes" for platos.

My amiga told me these are Mexicanisms, so your other Spanish speaking amigos may not be aware of them.

Hmm...I think I also said that occasionally I learn some useful Spanish. It just so happens this is one of those times.

If you want to have something "on the side", there's at least two ways to say it. In my case, I didn't want the sour cream (la crema) that came with my meal on the same plate, so I said "quiero la crema aparte". Well, I sort of said that. OK, I lied, I didn't say that. That's what my amiga taught me after the fact. I had to break down and ask the mesero (waiter) in English, but now you have the benefit of having that piece of Spanish handy when you need it. You can also say "quiero la crema en otro plato". And of course, you simply replace "la crema" with the name of the food in question.

I also picked up another interesting word - changarro. Oddly enough, the day after I learned this I saw an entry about this very same word in another blog. You can read about changarros here. I recommend you click the link I gave you, because they explain what a changarro is just as well or better than I can, and they have a nice picture too. Here's a brief excerpt from the link:

Changarros are typically located in improvised spots (the sidewalk, one's house
garage, the median of an avenue) and almost always lack any permit to operate.

I see plenty of changarros in Mexico. They sell all kinds of delicious foods - churros, popsicles, hamburgers (hamburguesas), fruit (fruta), corn on the cob (elote) , tacos and hot dogs. Sometimes the hot dogs are wrapped in bacon (tocino).

An interesting note about hot dogs - that's exactly what they're called - hot dogs. At least in the northen part of Baja Califorinia near the San Diego border. But the real Spanish for them is perro caliente. Look at this thread in WordReference. There's also a few other words for hot dog you can learn about.

Well, that's it for now. Lucky for me I'll be stuffing my face again next week with my amigos and will hopefully learn something else worth sharing.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, reading this post of you I kind of remembered a little something that might be worth knowing. "Changarro" was a non official word of Mexican Spanish a while back but as it became more popular, they made it official along with another word you might know "Chido". Being official words mean they have they're own entry in the Spanish Official Dictionary "El Diccionario de la Real Academia de la Lengua" and you may look for the definition right there to evaluate differences between "puesto" and "changarro"

    Here's the link for the definition

    The official dictionary can be checked at