Ordering food at a restaurant in China

Ordering food at a restaurant

Chinese food is as you know renowned on a global scale, you fly all the way to China only to find the menu of the restaurant you choose to dine in is in Chinese, and the waiter not knowing a word of English? We are here to help.


Reading the menu…

Chinese menu canteen

First, let’s go over a few basic Chinese characters for shits and giggles





麻辣(mala)-Spicy hot

炒(chao)-Stir fry


炸(zha)- Deep fry

蒸(zheng)- Steam


Have you learned the vocabs above? It’s great if you did, but sweat it if you didn’t.

We are going to end our ten-year Chinese course with some help from our little friend…….


1 – Download Google translate onto your phone.

Google Translate Logo China

2 – Make sure the languages are set on Chinese-> English

3 – Locate the Cam icon and tap it.

4 – View the menu with it!

Translation Google translate chinese english camera

A lot of the menus come with picture of the dish, if not, when viewing using google translate, you will often see some kind of vegetable with some kind of meat. For example: Green beans—Pork, or Broccoli-Beef. Nine out of Ten times it will be a stir fry of those two items, and always look out for words such as Hot, Sour, Sweet etc. to get a better feel for the dish!

Translation Google translate chinese english camera 2

Ordering /Paying for food

Waitress China

1 – Wave to the Waiter or Waitress.



2 – Say: Nihao (hello) Wo yao (I want) and point to the dishes you want Zhe ge(this one), zhe ge(this one), zhe ge(this one). Xie Xie (thank you)



Kuai zi – (chopsticks)

Mi fan – (rice),

Zhi jin – (napkins)

Yin liao – (drink)


3 – Wave to the Waiter/Waitress and say “Mai dan” (asking for the bill), and there you have it!

Bill receipt chinese restaurant


I hope you found this article helpful, happy dining!


If you are looking to pay for your meal using your mobile check out “Wechat Link”

One thought on “Ordering food at a restaurant in China

  • November 16, 2017 at 6:18 am

    By far the most useful article I’ve ever read


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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