Mandarin: Eating out

Chinese food (listen 中国菜 Zhōng Guó cài) is popular in the western world - there are many Chinese restaurants in the UK.

Traditional Chinese food

Some authentic Chinese dishes include:

MandarinPinyinEnglish
listen 包子bāo zisteamed bun, with different fillings
listen 饺子jiǎo zidumpling
listen 馄饨hún tunwonton
listen 面条miàn tiáonoodles
listen 煎饼jiān bǐngpancake
listen 炒青菜chǎo qīng cài stir-fried vegetables
listen 炒饭chǎo fànfried rice
listen 糖醋排骨táng cù pái gǔsweet and sour pork ribs
listen 北京烤鸭Běi jīng kǎo yāPeking duck
listen 油条yóu tiáofried bread stick

Did you know?

‘Peking’ is the old name for Beijing.

It is now only used for a few things, like Peking duck.

How to order food in Mandarin

When you are in a Chinese restaurant, the waiter will ask you:

  • listen您想吃点什么? Nín xiǎng chī diǎn shén me? - What do you want to eat?

  • listen您想喝点什么? Nín xiǎng hē diǎn shén me? - What do you want to drink?

These translate more literally to ‘You want to eat/drink a little what?’

You can respond in Mandarin using listen 我要 Wǒ yào (I want), along with:

  • listen 一个 yī gè - for one at a time, eg a steamed bun

  • listen 一碗 yī wǎn - for a bowl, eg of wontons

  • listen 一盘 yī pán - for a plate, eg of dumplings

  • listen 一份 yī fèn - for a portion, eg of vegetable stir fry and most other dishes

So, to order different foods in Mandarin you could say:

  • listen 我要一个包子 Wǒ yào yī gè bāo zi - I want a bun

  • listen 我要一碗馄饨 Wǒ yào yī wǎn hún tun - I want a bowl of wontons

  • listen 我要一盘饺子 Wǒ yào yī pán jiǎo zi - I want a plate of dumplings

  • listen 我要一份炒青菜 Wǒ yào yī fèn chǎo qīng cài - I want a portion of vegetable stir fry

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