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How to Order the Best Chinese Food 101

作者:纽带中文

A guide not just for Mandarin learners but all foodies! What should you know from stepping into a Chinese restaurant to getting the best Chinese food? Read on!


Orange Colorful Vibrant Illustration Animated Food Restaurant Presentation (2).jpg


Step 1. When you walk into a Chinese restaurant, you would usually hear these phrases/questions:


欢迎光临!

(huān yíng guāng lín!)

Welcome!


请稍等。

(qǐng shāo děng.)

Please wait a moment.


请问几位?

(qǐng wèn jī wèi?)

[Table] for how many?


预定吗?

(yǒu yù dìng yì ma?)

Have you booked a table/made a reservation?


对不起,没有位子了。

(duì bu qǐ, méi yǒu wèi zi le.)

Sorry, we are full/have no more seats left.

Orange Colorful Vibrant Illustration Animated Food Restaurant Presentation (5).jpg

Step 2. Check pictures on the menus, use translation apps if you like, or ask for recommendations:


今天有什么特别的菜吗?

(jīn tiān yŏu shén me tè bié de cài ma?)

What is today’s special?


这个菜是什么?

(zhè ge cài shì shén me?)

What’s in this dish?


有什么推荐吗?

(nǐ yŏu shén me tuī jiàn ma?)

What would you recommend?



Step 3. Ordering in Chinese

When you’re ready to order:

点菜。

(diǎn cài.)


To start ordering, there’s one key phrase that you need to know:

我要+...

(wǒ yào...)

I would like


When you don’t know any Chinese, all you have to do is to point to the picture and say:

我要这个。

(wǒ yào yí fèn zhè ge.)

I would like one order of this.


我要 + number + + dish

(wǒ yào + number + fèn + dish.)

I want/would like [number] order(s) of [dish].


我要 + number + // + drink

(wǒ yào + number + bēi + drink.)

I want [number] glass(es) of [drink].


*Measure words in Chinese

is the measure word for dishes:

我要两份炒饭。

(wǒ yào liǎng fèn dàn chǎo fàn.)

I would like two plates of fried rice.


// are the measure words for drinks: use when your drink is in a glass, use when your drink is in a can, use when your drink is in a bottle:

我要杯橙汁。

(wǒ yào liǎng bēi chéng zhī.)

I would like two glasses of orange juice.


我要一听可乐。

(wǒ yào yī tīng kě lè.)

I would like a can of coke.


我要三瓶水

(wǒ yào sān píng shuǐ.)

I would like three bottles of water.


*If you have other things to clarify, for examples, if you are a vegetarian/vegan, if you have any allergies, or if there’re certain things you don’t eat...


有没有素食?

(yǒu méi yǒu sù shí?)

Are there vegetarian/vegan dishes?


我对...过敏

(wǒ duì ... guò mǐn.)

I’m allergic to...


这个很辣吗?

(zhè ge hěn là ma?)

Is this very spicy?


不吃葱//

(bú chī cōng/jiāng/suàn)

No scallion/ginger/garlic.

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Step 4. Receiving Your Order, Time to eat!

Tell the waiter which one you ordered:

我的。

(wǒ de.)

That’s mine.


/她的。

(tā de.)

That’s hers.


Tell the waiter you plan to share the food:

我们一起吃。

(wǒ men yī qǐ chī.)

We will share this.


*Find more about Chinese dining etiquette: Eat to bond in China, do these correctlt at round tables


When your order gets mixed up or take longer than expected:

上错了。

(shàng cuò le.)

Wrong order.


这不是我点的。

(zhè bú shì wǒ diǎn de.)

This isn’t what I ordered.


我点的菜还没到。

(wǒ diǎn de cài hái méi dào.)

The food I ordered hasn’t arrived yet.


还要多久?

(hái yào duō jiǔ )

When will the dish be served?


Orange Colorful Vibrant Illustration Animated Food Restaurant Presentation (3).jpg

Step 5. Paying the Bill in Chinese

When you are ready for the bill:

服务员,买单。

(fú wù yuán, mǎi dān.)

Waiter, can we have the bill?


Specify whether you want one bill or separate bills:

一起付。

(yì qǐ fù.)

Pay together.


分开付。

(fēn kāi fù.)

Pay separately.


Specify how you want to pay the bill:

现金可以吗?

(xiàn jīn kě yǐ ma?)

Can I pay by cash?


刷卡可以吗?

(shuā kǎ kě yǐ ma?)

Can I pay by (debit/credit) card?


微信可以吗?

(wēi xìn kě yǐ ma?)

Can I pay by WeChat?


支付宝可以吗?

(zhī fù bǎo kě yǐ ma?)

Can I use AliPay?


Apple Pay可以吗?

(Apple Pay kě yǐ ma?)

Can I use Apple Pay?



Step 6. Packing leftovers

If you want to pack up any leftovers:

打包

(dǎ bāo)

I’ll pack this up for take-out.


or 带走

(dài zǒu)

“takeaway


More about Chinese food and beverage:

Find your favorite noodle dish in China

What are Chinese people drinking when we talk about drinks?


Has Chinese food sparked your interest in learning Chinese? Get in touch for your first FREE trial class!

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