How to Order Food in Chinese

How to order food in Chinese

How to order food in Chinese?

Food is deeply rooted in Chinese culture. For most Chinese people, socializing around food and mealtimes is very important, because their family life revolves around the dinner table. Besides that, Chinese dishes are famous around the world, which involve a wide range and variety of ingredients, based on the region.


Why not taking eating Chinese food as an opportunity to get to know more about Chinese culture?! Remember, it’s important that not only you should be open-minded to try stuff you’ve never seen before, but also you should know how to communicate with the servers working in the Chinese restaurant, to be able to order dishes of different Chinese cuisines with distinct styles!


You like to try out new flavors and cuisines, but don’t know how to communicate that you’re afraid of specific ingredient or spice that may be added to the meal? TutorMandarin can teach you how to customize your meal by teaching the ingredients you need to know and how to avoid misunderstandings. Or was a dish so delicious, that you want to thank the chef for the extraordinary dish? Our Tutors can also teach you how to ask for the chef of the Chinese restaurant or how to express your satisfaction in the right way! Start today and sign up a free trial  , and learn Chinese language whenever and wherever by downloading the TutorMandarin App.


Chinese Phrases for the Restaurant

Chinese Pinyin English
欢迎光临,请进 Huān yíng guāng lín ,qǐng jìn Welcome, come in!
请稍等一下! Qǐng shāoděng yíxià! One moment, please!
请问几位? Qǐng wèn jǐ wèi ? How many people?
目前客满了! Mù qián kè mǎn le! The seats are fully booked now. (No vacancies now)
您要等空桌吗 Nín yào děng kōng zhuō ma? Do you want to wait for a free table?
请稍等XX分钟 Qǐng shāo děng XX fèn zhōng Please wait for XX minutes.
请问订位大名? Qǐng wèn dìng wèi dà míng? What’s the name of the person who booked the seats?


Ordering Chinese Food in Chinese 

Chinese Pinyin English
我们要点菜. Wǒmen yào diǎn cài. We would like to order now.
能介绍一下菜单吗? Néng jiè shào yī xià cài dān ma? Can you introduce the menu?
你有什麽推荐的? Nǐ yǒu shí me tuī jiàn de? What’s your recommendation?
你们有什么特色菜? Nǐmen yǒu shénme tèsècài? What is the daily special?


Some restaurants offer menus with English translation, but most local restaurants only have Chinese menu! However, a lot of restaurants have pictures with their most recommended or famous dishes. Feel free to point out the dishes and indicate your interest in ordering it, or try to find the dish on the menu card, if the pictures include Chinese characters.

Chinese Pinyin English
我要… Wǒ yào… I would love to have…..
和他一样的. Hé tā yī yàng de . Same as what he/she ordered.
这个/那个. Zhè gè /nà gè. This one/ that one.


Sometimes, the servers might send dishes to the wrong table or you might want to order additional food. In this case, you might need the following sentences.

Chinese Pinyin English
这不是我所点的. Zhè bù shì wǒ suǒ diǎn de. This is not what I ordered.
是我的. Shì wǒde. That is for me.
可以加点水吗? Kě yǐ jiā diǎn shuǐ ma? Can you add some water?
可以再点一份____吗? Kě yǐ zài diǎn yī fèn ___ma? Can I order one more __?

** For example in Taiwan, it is very common to get water for free to every dish. They will also refill it as long as you want to without asking for.

Even though it is quite common to enjoy the meal and stay at a restaurant after chatting for a long time, it always ends up in asking for the bill and may be a doggy bag.

Asking for the bill in Chinese. Asking for a Doggy Bag in Chinese.

Chinese Pinyin English
买单/结账. Mǎi dān /Jiézhàng. Check, please.
多少钱? Duōshǎo qián? How much is it?
能刷卡吗? Néng shuā kǎ ma ? Can I pay by card?
我要打包. Wǒ yào dǎ bāo. I want to warp up the leftover.


Is there tipping in China?

There is no tipping custom in China, but people will still be grateful if you give them some gratuities as an encouragement of good service.

Chinese Pinyin English
小费. Xiǎofèi. Tip.
别找了. Bié zhǎo le. Keep the change.
你服务得很好,谢谢! Nǐ fú wù dé hěn hǎo, xiè xiè! Your service was very nice, thanks!


Special tip

Sometimes business dinner felt less important than your first dinner with the family of your boy-/girlfriend or fiancé(e).

There are some things to take care of, like showing respect and being polite. At TutorMandarin we offer topic classes about social and food. Simply ask our Tutors, they will be pleased to help you to prepare for your next appointment to give a good impression. But there are three phrases that are cross-cultural:

Chinese Pinyin English
请享用 Qǐng xiǎng yòng Enjoy your meal!
干杯 Gān bēi Cheers!
谢谢邀请 Xiè xiè yāo qǐng Thank you for the invitation!


This is the end of the post today. So, how about booking a table at the Chinese restaurant tonight, and use these phrases you learned from today!?

Have you heard about the rumors that Chinese people eat everything from creatures with four legs to things that fly? What do you think: True or false? You might want to check out our previous post Chinese food – more than just instant noodles which is about different famous Chinese dishes based on various region.

Hope to see you soon at TutorMandarin!

 Sign up our free trial to learn Mandarin and download the Chinese App for more Chinese language materials and to learn Mandarin online.

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.