Order Chinese Dishes Like a Local

by | Nov 18, 2020 | Life in China

Do you want to sound like a local when you order dishes in Chinese?

Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to try some authentic food in a local Chinese restaurant – but weren’t confident enough about your Chinese? That’s all right!​ Today we’ll share some handy phrases that native Chinese speakers use when they go to a restaurant.

1. 点菜 (Diǎn cài) Order Dishes

Want to have a look at the menu, or ready to order? Use these phrases:

你好,请给我菜单。
Nǐhǎo, qǐng gěi wǒ càidān.
Hello. Bring me the menu, please.

有什么推荐的菜吗?
Yǒu shénme tuījiàn de cài ma?
Can you recommend any dishes?

我们先看一下菜单,一会儿点菜。
Wǒmen xiān kàn yīxià càidān, yīhuìr diǎncài.
We’ll have a look at the menu first, and then order.

你好,我吃素,可以不放肉吗?
Nǐhǎo, wǒ chīsù, kěyǐ bù fàng ròu ma?
Hello, I’m vegetarian. Can you serve (this dish) without meat?

我对…..过敏。
Wǒ duì….. guòmǐn.
I’m allergic to…

2. 催服务员快点儿上菜 (Cuī fúwùyuán kuài diǎnr shàng cài) Urge a waiter to serve faster

Don’t want to wait for your food for too long, or would like certain dishes to be served earlier than the rest? Use these phrases:

你好,请先上一下米饭。
Nǐhǎo, qǐng xiān shàng yīxià mǐfàn.
Hello. Bring us the rice first, please.

你好,我们的菜可以快点儿吗?我们快吃完了。
Nǐhǎo, wǒmen de cài kěyǐ kuài diǎnr ma? Wǒmen kuài chīwán le.
Hello. Can you bring the rest of the dishes faster? We are almost finished with this one.

不好意思,我们赶时间,[xxx] 菜不要了。
Bù hǎoyìsi, wǒmen gǎn shíjiān, [xxx] cài bù yào le.
Sorry, we are in a hurry. Please cancel the [dish name].

3. 菜里有虫子或者别的东西 (Cài lǐ yǒu chóngzi huòzhě biéde dōngxi) Something is wrong with the food

Not that it’s a common thing to ever say in a restaurant, but…. life happens. Found a fly in your soup? Want to complain about the food or service? Here’re some phrases you can use:

你好,可以找一下你们经理吗?
Nǐ hǎo, kěyǐ zhǎo yīxià nǐmen jīnglǐ ma?
Hello. Can I speak to the manager?

这个菜可以免单吗?
Zhège cài kěyǐ miǎn dān ma?
Can we have this dish for free?

4. 买单 (Mǎidān) Pay the bill

Finished with your meal? Ready to pay? Then it’s time to ask for the bill:

你好,买单,可以微信吗?
Nǐhǎo, mǎidān, kěyǐ Wēixìn ma?
Hello, bill, please. Can I use WeChat?

请问可以开发票吗?
Qǐngwèn kěyǐ kāi fāpiào ma?
Can I get an invoice?

Learn more about how to describe the flavors of the food and what they could mean as metaphors!

View this post on all our social media accounts – and see how other learners have replied to it! 👉

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