How to Order Food in Chinese

Posted by Lilian Li on 20/12/2015 11:08 PM 1931

order food in chinese

For many foreigners who live in China, ordering food is really a difficult job, because most of them don't know Chinese words in the menu. I had a foreigner friend who eaten in a restaurant himself. He ordered 4 soups due to don't know Chinese characters. Maybe some of you also have had terrible experience when eat in restaurant. So how can we do in order to find the exact food that we want? Don't worry, this article will tell you.

To call waiter

In order to order food, you need to call the waiter first of all. In China, you can call them fú wù yuán.

When the fú wù yuán come, tell them what you want and they'll take note.

To order food

Menu with Picture

If the menu has pictures you are in luck as this offers an easy way to order. What you need is just point to that you want and say yí fèn zhè ɡe (one portion de this). You could also do the same if you see someone else eating something you would like, you can also say yí fèn nà ɡè(one portion de that) by pointing at their food. However, although people will usually excuse you for being foreign, this is a little impolite and bizarre.

Menu without Picture

If you get a menu without pictures in unlucky, well, you need to remember the name of some Chinese food. Here are some foods that are commonly ordered and liked by many foreigners.

Rice mǐ fàn
Egg fried rice dàn chǎo fàn
Noodles miàn tiáo
Fried noodles chǎo miàn
Kungpao chicken or diced chicken and cashews ɡōnɡ bǎo jī dīnɡ
Fried eggs with tomatoes xī hónɡ shì chǎo dàn
Stir-Fried Tofu in Hot Sauce má pó dòu fu
dumpling jiǎo zi
chicken jī ròu
beef niú ròu
pork zhū ròu
fish
shrimp xiā
vegetable shū cài

To order these foods, you can use the structure:

wǒ yào yí fèn +sth.(I want sth)

For example:

  • wǒ yào yí fèn mǐ fàn.
  • wǒ yào yí fèn jiǎo zi.

If you don't want some food, you can say:

bú yào+sth. For example:

Bú yào là jiāo(No spicy)

Here are some things that maybe you don't like:

Chilli là jiāo
Garlic dà suàn
Shallot cōnɡ
Ginger jiānɡ
Vinegar
monosodium glutamate wèi jīnɡ

To say the favour or taste of food

Everyone has his taste. If you want to say your taste in the restaurant, these sentences will be useful:

tè là (extra spicy)/ zhōnɡ là (medium spicy)/ wēi là (mild spicy)

duō yán (more salt)/ shǎo yán ( less salt)

duō yóu (more oil)/ shǎo yóu(less oil)

To eat

Finished the ordering, maybe the waiter will ask dǎ bāo hái shì zài zhè ér chī ( To go or for here?) At that case, you just need to choose that you would like.

So that's all for ordering food. Hope it'll help you!

Video Tutorial about How to Order Food in Chinese

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About The Author

Lilian Li

Lilian has a master’s degree in linguistics and didactics from Rennes University in France. An expert in linguistics and educational psychology, she has taught Chinese as a foreign language for several years, primarily in France. Her classes follow a logical and thorough path to ensure students build a methodology of learning that will continue to help them improve their language ability. She likes jogging, swimming, partying, and hang out with friends! Learn Chinese online with Lilian Li >>

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