Know Chinese Food in 10 minutes


More and more foreigners come to China. They like Chinese food very much. However, as a new comer to China, you don’t know how to have dinner with Chinese friends. So let us know how to say some tradition Chinese Food in English and the Chinese eating custom. We learn some basic knowledge of Chinese Food.

  1. How to say Chinese food in English
  2. How to order Chinese food
  3. American and Chinese Eating Custom and Practice
  4. How to make the Peking Roast Duck
  5. The Differences between Chinese and Western Dietary Cultures
  6. Different type of Chinese food

Chinese food

 1/6 How to say Chinese Food in English

You could download for the nine kinds of Chinese food menu (5.6MB) :

Cold dishes, Pork, Chicken/Duck, Lamb/Beef, Seafood, Vegetables, Soup, Rice&Noodle, Snack/Dessert

Chinese Food – Traditional
春卷 Spring rolls 蛋卷 Chicken rolls
碗糕 Salty rice pudding 筒仔米糕 Rice tube pudding
红豆糕 Red bean cake 绿豆糕 Bean paste cake
糯米糕 Glutinous rice cakes 萝卜糕 Fried white radish patty
芋头糕 Taro cake 肉圆 Taiwanese Meatballs
水晶饺 Pyramid dumplings 肉丸 Rice-meat dumplings
豆干 Dried tofu 糖葫芦 Tomatoes on sticks
长寿桃 Longevity Peaches 麻花 Hemp flowers
芝麻球 Glutinous rice sesame balls
Chinese Food – Breakfast
当归鸭烧饼 Clay oven rolls 油条 Fried bread stick
韭菜盒 Fried leek dumplings 水饺 Boiled dumplings
蒸饺 Steamed dumplings 馒头 Steamed buns
割包 Steamed sandwich 饭团 Rice and vegetable roll
蛋饼 Egg cakes 皮蛋 Century egg
咸鸭蛋 Salted duck egg 豆浆 Soybean milk
Chinese Food – Rice
稀饭 Rice porrid 白饭 Plain white rice
油饭 Glutinous oil rice 糯米饭 Glutinous rice
卤肉饭 Braised pork rice 蛋炒饭 Fried rice with egg
地瓜粥 Sweet potato conge
Chinese Food – Noodles
馄饨面 Wonton & noodles 刀削面 Sliced noodles
麻辣面 Spicy hot noodles 麻酱面 Sesame paste noodles
鴨肉面 Duck with noodles 鱔魚面 Eel noodles
乌龙面 Seafood noodles 榨菜肉丝面 Pork, pickled mustard green noodles
牡蛎细面 Oyster thin noodles 板条 Flat noodles
米粉 Rice noodles 炒米粉 Fried rice noodles
冬粉 Green bean noodle
Chinese Food –  Soup
鱼丸汤 Fish ball soup 貢丸汤 Meat ball soup
蛋花汤 Egg & vegetable soup 蛤蜊汤 Clams soup
牡蛎汤 Oyster soup 酸菜汤 Seaweed soup
酸辣汤 Sweet & sour soup 馄饨汤 Wonton soup
猪肠汤 Pork intestine soup 肉羹汤 Pork thick soup
鱿鱼汤 Squid soup 花枝羹 Squid thick soup

2/6 How to order food  – some useful sentences

  • 请给我菜单   May I have a menu, please?
  • 是否有中文菜单?   Do you have a menu in Chinese?
  • 在用晚餐前想喝些什麼吗?   Would you like something to drink before dinner?
  • 餐厅有些什麼餐前酒?   What kind of drinks do you have for an aperitif?
  • 可否让我看看酒单?   May I see the wine list?
  • 我可以点杯酒吗?   May I order a glass of wine?
  • 餐厅有那几类酒?   What kind of wine do you have?
  • 我想点当地出产的酒。  I’d like to have some local wine.
  • 我想要喝法国红酒。  I’d like to have France red wine.
  • 是否可建议一些不错的酒?   Could you recommend some good wine?
  • 我可以点餐了吗?   May I order, please?
  • 餐厅最特别的菜式是什麼?   What is the specialty of the house?
  • 餐厅有今日特餐吗? Do you have today’s special?
  • 我可以点与那份相同的餐吗?   Can I have the same dish as that?
  • 我想要一份开胃菜与排餐(鱼餐)。  I’d like appetizers and meat (fish) dish.
  • 我必须避免含油脂(盐份/糖份)的食物。  I have to avoid food containing fat (salt/sugar).
  • 餐厅是否有供应素食餐?   Do you have vegetarian dishes?
  • 你的牛排要如何烹调?   How do you like your steak?
  • 全熟(五分熟/全生)。  Well done (medium/rare), please.


3/6 Eating Custom and Practice

American eating is funny. They eat almost everything with a fork, and it appears that holding a knife in one’s right hand longer than a few seconds is considered to be against good table manners.

The system is that if it is absolutely necessary to use a knife, people take the fork in their left hand, and cut off a piece of meat or whatever it is in the normal manner. Then they put the knife down, transfer the fork to their right hand, and only then do they transport the food to their mouth. This is clearly ludicrous, but it is considered good manners.

There are several results of this system.

First, if it is not absolutely necessary to use a knife, Americans don’t use one, because obviously this greatly complicates things, and you will there foresee them trying to cut things like potatoes, fish and even bacon with a fork.

Second, towards the end of a course, since only one implement is being used, food has to be chased around the plate with the fork and for the last mouthful, the thumb has to be used to keep the food in place, although one is not supposed to do this.

Third, tables are generally laid with one knife and two forks, the outside fork being for the salad. There is no need for foreign visitors to follow the American system and try to eat the salad with only a fork, but if you do use your knife, remember to save it for the meat course. Even desserts (except ice cream) are eaten with a fork if at all possible, and the spoon you see by your dessert is meant to be for coffee (but if you use it for your dessert no one will say anything.

In China, the dishes are placed on the table and everybody shares. If you are being treated by a Chinese host, be prepared for a ton of food. Chinese are very proud of their culture of food and will do their best to give you a taste of many different types of cuisine. Among friends, they will just order enough for the people there. If they are taking somebody out for dinner and the relationship is polite to semi-polite, then they will usually order one more dish than the number of guests (e.g. four people, five dishes).

干杯 ( Gan Bei! )  (Cheers! “Gan Bei” literally means “dry [the] glass”) Besides beer, the official Chinese alcoholic beverage is Bai Jiu, high-proof Chinese liquor made from assorted grains. There are varying degrees of Bai Jiu. The Beijing favorite is called Er Guo Tou, which is a whopping 56% alcohol. More expensive are Maotai and Wuliangye.


4/6 How to make the Peking Roast Duck

Peking Roast Duck is a famous dish in Beijing.It would be a shame to leave Beijing without trying Beijing roast duck.

The recipe for roasting ducks was first developed by a chef in the service of Ming Emperor. Later, the method was passed down to the common folk.

It is recorded that in 1835, a man from Hebei Province called Yang Quanren came to Beijing and selling cooked chicken and ducks. 30years later in 1864, he opened a roast duck restaurant outside the Quanmen Gate named Quanjude. His ducks sold well because he used the recipe once used in royal chefs. Later he used the new breed of ducks knows as Beijing duck, so it was the name Beijing Roast Duck.

The method of making roast duck, first ducks must be split open, feather and internal organs cleaned, and dried. When roasting, it is better to use fruit tree branches as firewood to lend more flavor.

Second, a steady temperature must be maintained in the oven. Ducks must be rotated so that they can be evenly roasted. It takes 50 minutes or so to roast until the skin turns crisp and golden brown.

Serving: dip each piece of duck meat into the sweet soybean paste, then wrap the meat together with stalks of shallots in a sheet of pancake and eat the roll. Well, yummy!


5/6 The Differences between Chinese and Western Dietary Cultures

1) Differences in Concepts
Chinese diet is a sense of beauty diet and pays attention to the “color, flavor, taste” regardless of the nutrition.

Western diet is a rational concept, regardless of the color of food, incense, flavor, and shape, but nutrition must be assured.

2) Differences in targets

In China, all diet cannot be done without vegetables.  The word “dish” is for the sound, and it always has something to do with the plants.

Westerners do not seem to have such a good habit. The main ingredient is meat and plants are just the compliments.

3) Differences in Dietary Patterns

In China, a celebration, no matter what, there will be only one form, as sitting together, sharing one feast. It is helpful to facilitate the collective emotional exchanges and consequently difficult to reform.

In West, buffet dinner is popular. This shows a western personality and self-respect. But the buffet has broken such pattern which shows harmony and unity.

4) Differences in Diet Attribution

Chinese diet tends to be art and sentimental, which is expressed as the stress on the flavor.

Western diet tends to be scientific and rational, which is in the development of nutrition.

5) Differences in Nature

Differences in the nature of the Chinese and western diet are inoculated with the respective lifestyle and the pace of life. The paces of Westerners lives are so fast. But in China, life manner has also emerged in the diet.

Conclusion: There still exist various differences between Chinese and western dietary cultures.

But with the development of cultural communication between China and the west, along with the strengthening of communication between China and the West, China has imported various kinds of western food, known as the “KFC” “SUBWAY”, “McDonald”. This marks a new western dietary culture exchanges and infiltration. We believe that with the development of society, the cultural differences between Chinese and western dietary will no longer be the difference.

6/6 Different type of Chinese food

The style of cooking has formed different local flavor because of the change of geography, climate, custom, local product, the division of the style of cooking is as regards diet characteristic of the Han nationality only, there are four major styles of cooking, eight big cuisines, saying of ten major styles of cooking at present, and divide department types and still have the tendency to continue increasing.

If divided according to four major styles of cooking: there are Shandong Cuisine, Sichuan Cuisine, Guangdong Cuisine and Huaiyang Cuisine. It is that the former adds Zhejiang, Fujian, Hunan, Anhui that eight is big, called the eight great cuisines; Combine with new developing Beijing, Shanghai, ten major styles of cooking altogether by modern times. Among them, the major styles of cooking enhance each other’s beauty, has his strong points, and has become Chinese nation’s precious cultural rarity!

First, Huaiyang Cuisine

A quintessence of Yangzhou, Zhenjiang, Huaian and other places cooked food of the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River that Huaiyang Cuisine is collected, it is a representative flavor of the style of cooking of Jiangsu. Attention is lifelike and tender that Huaiyang Cuisine selects materials; Making is meticulous, pay attention to the cutting and slicing skill; Flavor light flavor, emphasize this flavor, pay attention to adjusting the soup, the flavor is clear and fresh; Bright in luster, fresh and cool and pleasing; Handsome in appearance, unique and novel, vivid and lifelike.

Second, style of cooking of Sichuan is abbreviated as Sichuan Cuisine.

Characteristic: It is fragrant with chili, fish, the daily life, strange smell, sour and hot, pepper flax, vinegar pepper are the main characteristic.

It is temperate in climate in Sichuan Basin, the produce is abundant, have the good reputation of ” land of plenty ” from ancient times, the diet culture name of ” eating in Sichuan ” is passed through at all times, and develop the quintessence of Sichuan Cuisine in Chengdu.

Sichuan Cuisine has already gone through the millennium, has already had more than 3000 varieties so far as one of four major famous styles of cooking the whole country, several hundred kinds of famous dish. Sichuan Cuisine with hot to all over the world, but not confined to piquancy while being well-known. Sichuan Cuisine belongs to one of four major styles of cooking of China (Sichuan, Guangdong, Shandong, and Huaiyang), its powerful force has already permeated through each corner in all parts of the country.

Third, style of cooking of Guangdong is abbreviated as Guangdong Cuisine.

Characteristic: It is extensive with the materials, it is the main character to pay attention to freshly, softly, comfortably, slippery, densely. It is mainly made up of Guangdong dish, Chaozhou cuisine, and Dongjiang cuisine.

Fourth, Shandong Cuisine

History: Shandong Cuisine makes a start Qi and Guo (today Shandong) Lu at the period in the Spring and Autumn and the Warring states, form on Chinese Qin. After Song Dynasty, Shandong Cuisine became the representatives of “north food “, was one of the eight big cuisines of our country. Shandong Cuisine is the most widely covered style of cooking of local flavor of our country, spread all over Beijing-Tianjin-Tanggu and three provinces in the northeast of China.

Group: Coastal eastern Shandong cuisine (take seafood as the core) and cuisine of Jinan of the inland and Confucian mansion cuisine establishing one’s own system.

Characteristic: Shandong Cuisine stresses and flavors purely, it is salty and fresh that the taste is partial to, and have fresh, soft, fragrant, fragile characteristics. Pay attention to the modulation of clear soup and milk soup very much, the color of the clear soup is clear and delicious, the soup color of milk is white and alcohol.

Shandong Cuisine commonly used cooking skill and technique have more than 30 kinds of, legend steam one’s own son familiar to dedicate to whom Qi Wang wipe out exchange the tooth, in fact, it is a culinary art master who was good at flavoring at that time. Clear soup of Shandong Cuisine, color clear fresh, milk soup color white and alcohol, have flavor alone, might inherit, good at tradition to make custard ancient times.

And eastern Shandong dish good at with seafood, adopt seashore the people at the custom of fish first. Confucius of ” eat no rice but is of finest quality, the meat chopped into small pieces is not minded thinly “, there are a series of opinions not ” eaten “, if ” the fish are discouraged and the meat is frustrated and does not eat, color evil is not eaten, bad smell evil is not eaten, it is too discouraged to eat to lose, does not eat frequently, cut, eat, can’t sauce its eat ……”. Prove at that time Shandong Cuisine stress science, pay attention to hygiene quite already, and pursue cutting and slicing skill and artistry of condiment, exquisite stage of already getting day by day.


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