Updated: May 18, 2020
Do you want to know how to order food in Chinese at a restaurant? If so, you are in the right place because today you will be learning 10 essential Chinese phrases that you might hear or use at a restaurant. Let’s start!
1. How many persons are there?
请问您几位呢？(Qǐngwèn nín jǐ wèi ne) You can answer this by saying the number of people there are and then word 位. For example, you can say 一位 for one person, 两位, 三位 and so on.
2. Do you have a reservation?
请问您有预订吗？(Qǐngwèn nín yǒu yùdìng ma?) If you have one, you can say "我有预订。预订的名字是 <insert your name>". This means "I have a reservation, the name the reservation is under is______." If you don’t, you can say "我没有预订" which means "I don’t have a reservation".
3. How long is the wait (for me/for us)?
我/我们大概需要等多久？(Wǒ/wǒmen dàgài xūyào děng duōjiǔ?) The answer may be something 分钟 (minutes) 十分钟，二十分钟 or for popular restaurants. It can even be 小时 hours (一个小时/两个小时). This is true for some hot pot restaurants!
4. Are you ready to order?
您准备好点菜了吗？（Nǐ zhǔnbèi hǎo diǎn càile ma?）准备好了 means that you are ready. Or if you are not ready, you can say: ·请稍等一下。(We will order in a few minutes)
服务员 （Fúwùyuán） Waiter/Waitress. In China, to call a waiter/waitress over, you can literally just say 服务员, which means “service person”. Some people do use the word 帅哥 (Shuài gē) handsome guy for waiters or 美女 （Měi nǚ）pretty girls for waitresses.
6. Can you give me the menu please?
可以给我一份菜单吗？(Kěyǐ gěi wǒ yī fèn càidān ma?)
7. My food hasn't come yet.
我们的菜还没上来。(Wǒmen de cài hái méi shànglái). Service in China is pretty quick, but if you’re food hasn't come yet, you can say 我们的菜还没上来。
8. Where are the restrooms?
请问洗手间在哪里？(Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎlǐ?)
9. Can I have a box to go / doggy bag please?
我能把这些菜打包带走吗。（Wǒ xiǎng yào bǎ shíwù dǎbāo.）The portion sizes are massive in China, so there if there is always a chance that you can’t finish everything, you can ask for a doggy bag or a box to go in these situations.
10. The bill please!
请买单 (Mǎidān). After you have finished eating, ask for the bill by simply saying 买单.
Watch the video to hear each phrase:
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See you next time!