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A Bite of China, A Bite of Chinese

In 2012, a post was published on Guardian saying ” It’s not on British telly yet but the beautifully made series ‘A Bite of China’ puts our own food TV in the shade”. It might be an exaggeration but A Bite of China is back for a second season. So you can be the judge.
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But before you go, let’s learn some useful Chinese food related words and phrases as well as sentence patterns so that you can better understand the TV show. Plus, you will definitely be envied by your friends if you can speak fluent Chinese to order food in a Chinese restaurant.

Choose what kind of Chinese food you would like to try

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Chinese Pinyin English
吃团圆饭 chī tuán yuán fàn reunion dinner
做菜 zuò cài cook
中餐 zhōnɡ cān Chinese food
火锅 huǒ ɡuō hot pot
快餐 kuài cān fast food
年夜饭 nián yè fàn new year dinner
西餐 xī cān western food
东北菜 dōnɡ běi cài china north cuisine
小饭馆 xiǎo fàn ɡuǎn small restaurant
大饭店 dà fàn diàn grand hotel
川菜 chuān cài Sichuan cuisine
中西结合 zhōnɡ xī jié hé combination of Chinese and western food style
家常菜 jiā chánɡ cài home cooking
叫外卖 jiào wài mài order takeout
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Learn how to order food in a Chinese restaurant

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Chinese Pinyin English
cài vegetable
菜单 cài dān menu
点菜 diǎn cài order
点什么菜 diǎn shén me cài what would you like to order
买一送一 mǎi yí sònɡ yī two for one
我点一个…… wǒ diǎn yí ɡè … … I’d like to order a/an
特别 tè bié specially/particular/especially
马上来 mǎ shànɡ lái right now
上菜 shànɡ cài serve up
再来一份 zài lái yí fèn one more, please
服务员 fú wù yuán waiter
结账/买单 jié zhànɡ / mǎi dān checkout/pay
实惠 shí huì affordable
特色菜 tè sè cài specialty
尝尝 chánɡ chanɡ taste
地道 dì dào genuine
来(想要) lái ( xiǎnɡ yào ) would like to (want to)
给我一碗…… ɡěi wǒ yì wǎn give me a bowl of
还有多久 hái yǒu duō jiǔ how long will be…
快点上菜 kuài diǎn shànɡ cài please serve our meals quickly
我不想吃面条 wǒ bù xiǎnɡ chī miàn tiáo I don’t want to eat noodles
我要点菜 wǒ yào diǎn cài I’d like to order my meal
一共多少钱? yí ɡònɡ duō shǎo qián ? how much altogether?
有什么果汁 yǒu shén me ɡuǒ zhī which kind of fruit juice do you have
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Get to know the names of Chinese food

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Chinese Pinyin English
jiǔ beer/wine
橙汁 chénɡ zhī orange juice
红酒 hónɡ jiǔ red wine
可乐 kě lè coke
啤酒 pí jiǔ beer
白酒 bái jiǔ white spirit
果汁 ɡuǒ zhī fruit juice
米饭 mǐ fàn rice
两瓶啤酒 liǎnɡ pínɡ pí jiǔ two bottles of beer
饮料 yǐn liào beverages
一块蛋糕/面包 yí kuài dàn ɡāo / miàn bāo a piece of cake/bread
fish
西红柿炒鸡蛋 xī hónɡ shì chǎo jī dàn tomato omelette
炒青菜 chǎo qīnɡ cài stir-fried vegetables
饺子 jiǎo zi dumplings
酸辣汤 suān là tānɡ hot and sour soup
米饭 mǐ fàn rice
小笼包 xiǎo lónɡ bāo dumplings
面条 miàn tiáo noodles
素饺子 sù jiǎo zi vegetarian dumplings
三鲜饺子 sān xiān jiǎo zi dumpling stuffed
鱼香肉丝 yú xiānɡ ròu sī shredded meat in chilli sauce
红烧肉 hónɡ shāo ròu braised pork
水煮鱼 shuǐ zhǔ yú boiled fish
宫保鸡丁 ɡōnɡ bǎo jī dīnɡ kung pao chicken
点心 diǎn xin dessert
红烧排骨 hónɡ shāo pái ɡǔ spareribs with brown sauce
四川火锅 sì chuān huǒ ɡuō Sichuan hot pot
辣椒酱 là jiāo jiànɡ chili sauce
面条 miàn tiáo noodle
羊肉 yánɡ ròu mutton
tānɡ soup
主食 zhǔ shí staple
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Words and phrases to express how you feel

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Chinese Pinyin English
吃饱了 chī bǎo le I’m full now
还没吃完 hái méi chī wán I still haven’t finished eating yet
好吃 hǎo chī delicious
太咸了 tài xián le too salty
真好吃 zhēn hǎo chī it is delicious
物美价廉 wù měi jià lián value for money
口味重 kǒu wèi zhònɡ heavy flavor
色香味俱全 sè xiānɡ wèi jù quán perfect combination of color, aroma, taste and appearance
爽口 shuǎnɡ kǒu tasty
清淡 qīnɡ dàn light
口味 kǒu wèi taste
大吃一顿 dà chī yí dùn have a big meal
bǎo full
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Common Chinese tableware

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Chinese Pinyin English
叉子 chā zi fork
wǎn bowl
一次性餐具 yí cì xìnɡ cān jù disposable tableware
筷子 kuài zi chopsticks
勺子 sháo zi spoon
一杯果汁/咖啡 yì bēi ɡuǒ zhī / kā fēi a cup of fruit juice/coffee
一双筷子 yì shuānɡ kuài zi a pair of chopsticks
一碗米饭/面条 yì wǎn mǐ fàn / miàn tiáo a bowl of rice/noodles
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Finally, some extra words and phrases to help you communicate better

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Chinese Pinyin English
宾馆 bīn ɡuǎn hotel
出租车司机 chū zū chē sī jī taxi driver
商店 shānɡ diàn shop
师傅 shī fu master
司机 sī jī driver
老板 lǎo bǎn boss
下厨房 xià chú fánɡ cook at home
欢迎光临 huān yínɡ ɡuānɡ lín welcome
欢迎再来 huān yínɡ zài lái welcome back
手艺好 shǒu yì hǎo good workmanship
打扫房间 dǎ sǎo fánɡ jiān clean up the room
饭店 fàn diàn restaurant
服务员 fú wù yuán waiter
客人 kè rén guest
空中服务员 kōnɡ zhōnɡ fú wù yuán Flight Attendant
qián money
师傅 shī fu master
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With hard work and determination I’m sure you can master all of those words and when you do, don’t forget to show off your Chinese in your local Chinese restaurants. And bon appétit!

Congcong Yu

She is a professional Mandarin Chinese teacher who has been teaching for more than 12 years both at home and abroad. She loves reading and she loves cats a lot. As the chief content editor at Hansheng Info-Tech here in Shanghai, she`s working with her team to help people learn Chinese well. Their main products are Hello HSK Apps.

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