9 Lesson 12 Dialogue 1: 在饭馆点餐






中文 拼音 英文
服务员 fú wù yuán n., waiter/waitress
这边 zhè biān n., this way
位子 wèi zǐ n., seat
奶茶 nǎi chá n., milk tea
稍等 shāo děng phrase, wait for a second, just a moment
菜单 cài dān n., menu
点菜 diǎn cāi v., to order (dishes)
wǎn n./M.W., bowl
pán n./M.W., plate
táng n., sugar
n., vinegar
n., fish
饺子 jiǎo zǐ n., dumpling
豆腐 dòu fǔ n., tofu
tāng n., soup
fàng v., to put
ròu n., meat
米饭 mǐ fàn n., cooked rice
adj./n., vegetarian
青菜 qīng cài n., vegetable
这些 zhè xiē pron., these
gòu adj., enough
上菜 shàng cài v., to serve dishes
筷子 kuài zǐ n., chopsticks
wán adj., finished
买单 mǎi dān v., to pay the bill
打包 dǎ bāo v., to pack the food, to get a to-go box

Grammar Notes:

  1. Adverbs (少/多) + verb phrase
    To express to do something “more” or “less”, and are often used before the verb phrases. In this case, they are used as adverbs. For example:
    多听录音,少听音乐。(Listen to more recordings. Listen to less music.)
    多做功课,少看电视。(Do more coursework. Watch less TV.)
    服务员多给了我一盘菜。(The waiter gave me one more dish.)
    售货员少找了我一块钱。(The salesman gave me one dollar less as change.)
  2. 一… + 都/也 + 不/没 + verb phrase
    This structure is used to express “not even a single one”. It can be used in the following ways:
    (1) Subject + 一 + MW + Noun + 都/也 + 不/没 + verb phrase
    我一分钱都没有。(I do not have one single penny.)
    我一个饺子都不要。(I don’t want any dumplings.)
    For the above sentences, we can also move the nouns to the beginning of the sentences, as below:
    (2) Subject + 一点儿 + Noun + 都/也 + 不/没 + Verb phrase
    This is a variation of the first structure. If the noun is uncountable, 一点儿 is used to replace “一 + MW + Noun”. Here are several examples:
    我一点儿水都不想喝。(I don’t want to drink any water.)
    我一点儿饭都没吃。(I didn’t eat any rice.)
    (3) Subject + 一点儿 + 都/也 + 不 + Adjective
    This is a variety of the second structure, in which there is no noun; instead an adjective is used. Here are several examples:
    我一点儿都不饿。(I am not hungry at all.)
    我一点儿也不累。(I am not tired at all.)
  3. 完/好 used as resultative complements
    In Chinese, adjectives or verbs can be used after main verbs to indicate the results of the main actions, and they are called “resultative complements.” For example:
    我做完了作业。(I finished doing my homework.) In this sentence, indicates the result of the verb , which is “finished”.
    他做好了饭。(He finished cooking the dinner and was ready for the next step.) In this sentence, indicates the result of the verb , which is “ready”.
    To negate the sentences above, 没(有) is used:
    我没做完作业。(I didn’t finish doing my homework.)
    他没有做好饭。(He didn’t have the dinner ready.)

Culture Notes:

Shouting out for a waiter/waitress

When eating in busy Chinese restaurants, it is common for Chinese people to shout for a waiter or waitress when they are ready to order food or pay the bill. This does not mean that they are rude or impolite. It is just because there are so many people eating and talking in busy restaurants that raising hands or quietly calling out would not get the attention of a waiter/waitress. However, shouting for waiters/waitresses is not necessary in every restaurant in China. You don’t need to, and should not, shout out in quiet restaurants. In those places, you can easily get a waiter/waitress’ attention by just raising your hand.

Paying the bill

Who will pay the bill when eating outside with Chinese friends? In Chinese culture, eating with friends is important in building a long-term friendship, as Confucius said: ”Isn’t it a pleasure to have friends coming from afar.” With this said, paying the bill communicates generosity, sincerity, gratitude, and kindness, and it clearly says, “I like you and I want to continue our relationship.” Therefore, sometimes you may see people (especially middle-aged or senior people) fight over who gets the honor of paying the bill in restaurants. In colleges or work places, friends or co-workers are often observed to pay the bills by turns, that is, this time person A pays the bill and next time person B pays the bill. In the past decade, influenced by the Western culture, nowadays young people tend to “go Dutch” when eating out together. In Chinese, “AA” is used to mean “go Dutch”. For example, 我们AA吧, meaning “Let’s go Dutch”.

How do you know whether you should pay or not pay the bill? Normally if you are invited to an official dinner or the inviter clearly made it clear to you that “It is on me,” the person who invites you will pay the bill. If you are invited to eat outside and it is not made very clear who will pay the bill, it is necessary that you always offer to pay or at least make a move for your wallet a few times, even if you know your offers will not be accepted. If you treat others, you will take care of the bill.


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Elementary Chinese II Copyright © 2022 by Wenying Zhou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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