Chinese Vocabulary: Restaurant Dining

Ask For the Waiter or Place an Order Using These New Words

Chinese food is popular world-wide, but nothing beats the real deal.

If you travel to China or Taiwan, you will undoubtedly want to sample the fabulous cuisine. There is a range of Michelin star restaurants like Ryugin Taipei in Taipei or T'ang Court in Shanghai. Of course, there are also more affordable but equally as delicious restaurants, eating halls, and food stalls that are scattered throughout. 

This list of restaurant dining vocabulary will help you communicate with waiting staff so you can express any dietary preferences. That way you can order a dish that you will enjoy! Or do you need another pair of chopsticks or an extra napkin? You can ask for these items after learning these new words.

Click on the link in the Pinyin column to hear the audio file.

General Terms

English Pinyin Traditional Simplified
restaurant cān tīng 餐廳 餐厅
waiter / waitress fú wù yuán 服務员 服务员
menu cài dān 菜單 菜单
beverage yǐn liào 飲料 饮料
get the check mǎi dān 買單 买单


English Pinyin Traditional Simplified
spoon tāng chí 湯匙 汤匙
fork chā zi 叉子 "
knife dāo zi 刀子 "
chopsticks kuài zi 筷子 "
napkin cān jīn 餐巾 "
glass / cup bēi zi 杯子 "
bowl wǎn "
plate pán zi 盤子 盘子

Dietary Restrictions

English Pinyin Traditional Simplified
I am vegetarian. Wǒ chī sù. 我吃素。 "
I cannot eat… Wǒ bùnéng chī … 我不能吃… "

Food Items and Ingredients

English Pinyin Traditional Simplified
salt yán
MSG wèi jīng 味精 "
pork zhū ròu 豬肉 猪肉
spicy food "
sugar táng "

Here is some more vocabulary for Chinese food.

Sentence Examples 

Now that you have learned these new Mandarin vocabulary words, let's put them together. Here are a few sentences you may often hear in a restaurant. You can try saying them yourself or use create your own sentences.

Fúwùyuán, wǒ kěyǐ zài ná yīshuāng kuàizi ma?
Waiter, can I get another pair of chopsticks?

Wǒ bùyào wèijīng。
I don't want MSG.

Wǒ hěn xǐhuan chī zhūròu!
I really like to eat pork!

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Your Citation
Su, Qiu Gui. "Chinese Vocabulary: Restaurant Dining." ThoughtCo, Jan. 29, 2020, Su, Qiu Gui. (2020, January 29). Chinese Vocabulary: Restaurant Dining. Retrieved from Su, Qiu Gui. "Chinese Vocabulary: Restaurant Dining." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 27, 2023).