Ordering In A Chinese Restaurant

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Ordering In A Chinese Restaurant Reviews

WarrenRodwell WarrenRo…
50 reviews
Nov 01, 2007
Firstly, thanks must go to English expat Mr Carey Harmer in Chengdu for his time, effort and thoughtfulness in producing and sharing the following information so that newcomers may feel more at ease when ordering food in Chinese restaurants. Well done, Carey !



Print this out & carry it with you. Point to the Chinese phrases.

These are all common dishes that most Westerners like.


For quick meals. Sometimes surprisingly good. Most dishes about 4 yuan to 10 yuan, menu written on the wall. Individual bowls or plates, each person chooses their own, can be all different. You can use a tissue to wipe the table and your chopsticks. Never mind the state of the walls or floor, you don’t eat off them. If they don’t give you tea, there's no point in asking for it. Usually a watery soup supplied free with the rest. In some larger places you have to order and pay near the entrance, then go in, sit down and give the ticket to the waitress.

鸡蛋炒饭 egg fried rice

肉丝面 pork noodles

牛肉炒饭 beef fried rice

鸡蛋面 egg noodles

西红柿炒鸡蛋 fried egg + tomatoes

牛肉面 beef noodles

鸡蛋炒葱 fried egg + onions

猪肉炒饭 pork fried rice

牛肉刀削面 beef thick noodle soup

a. (不要辣椒 don’t want it full of chilli)

b. (我吃辣 hot is OK)

Only some eateries (restaurants never) serve

dumplings, but they are worth asking for.

二两 is a normal portion.

你有没有饺子? do you have dumplings?

肉饺 meat dumplings

菜饺 vegetable dumplings

锅贴, 炸饺 fried dumplings

抄手 dumplings with soup

SOUPS (usually a large bowl, thin soup)

番茄鸡蛋汤 egg + tomato soup

三鲜汤 3-flavour soup (includes meat)

豆腐汤 bean curd soup with veg (vegetarian)

鸡蛋汤 egg soup

漂汤 soup with assorted meat &vegetables


南瓜饼 pumpkin pie (sweet)

葱油饼 onion pancake

玉米薄饼 sweet corn pancake

When you have finished ordering the main dishes

还要米饭 we also want rice.


橙汁 orange juice

喝冷水 cold water

雪碧 Sprite

豆浆 bean ‘milk’

可乐 Coke

西瓜汁 melon juice


Please bring the bill: 买单

Please bring toothpicks: 牙签

Please bring more bowls (for the soup): 空碗

You can ask for a ‘doggy bag’ 请打包 to take uneaten food home.

This is quite normal. Indicate which dishes.



卫生间 or 厕所 male 男 female女

Where is the toilet? 卫生间在那儿?


Expatriate writer Warren Rodwell has been in China since 2002, and teaches university postgraduates in Chengdu. Many of his feature stories, reviews & photographs have been published online or in hardcopy media form. Warren also narrates documentaries and administers various websites as part of his efforts to promote Chengdu & Sichuan culture(s) more globally.

1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
bernard69 says:
very informative,thanks for sharing
Posted on: Oct 30, 2009
Eric says:
Great review, glad to see the Chinese characters displayed correctly too!
Posted on: Nov 02, 2007
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Liselore_Verschuren Liselore…
252 reviews
Ten most important rules on Chinese etiquette Jul 25, 2005
When traveling in China, eating in restaurants can be quite challenging. My husband and I did some extensive research on how to act in eating places during our trip through China in 2005 and we’ve found the most important rules when it comes to etiquette.

1) Always order several different dishes from the menu. A Chinese menu consists of several meat, tofu and vegetable dishes that are meant to serve more than just one person. Pick a few dishes for everybody you are eating with (even if there’s just two of you), the food will be served at the circle of the round table you’re seated at. Everybody at the table has a bowl of their own, you can turn the circle at the centre of the table and serve yourself from the dishes.

2) Never finish your rice first, this is considered rude. Rice is just extra filling if you still want anything when the meat and vegetable dishes are finished.

3) All the ordered food always arrives at your table within five minutes. The rice always comes last, usually when you’re almost done.

4) Slurping, eating noisily and burping is very normal.

5) Spitting is allowed, but only if you spit on the floor.

6) Picking chicken should be done as loudly as is possible. Leftover bones are just thrown on the thin plastic tablecloth, the waitresses throw away the tablecloth when you’re done.

7) There is always an abundance of waitresses. At least two of them are constantly at the door to welcome guests, about three of them together take your order (or they only do this with tourists because they are more interesting) and around four girls do absolutely nothing.

As soon as you have a menu, they all gather around you and make suggestions. Even if you have no idea what the menu says or what they are saying.

They won’t leave unless you have made an order. Some restaurants have menus with pictures. Treasure these places!

8) Vegetarian dishes? Of course we have those! You get them all!

9) Wining and dining? Hell no! You eat and you go.

10) It is useless to try to give anybody a tip. They think it is embarrassing and won’t accept it.
My husband and I having dinner whi…
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
bernard69 says:
as spitting is now forbidden in the streets,fortunately we can use the restaurants' floors:)
Posted on: Oct 30, 2009
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