[cultural differences]What to eat in China & how to talk to the waiter

  • In western world, about half of the waiters are male, I think. While in China, 100% female.

So how do we call a waitress working in a restaurant? We used to call them xiaojie [miss](shouJay), later on, many people realize xiaojie might offend some of the girls because that’s how we call the prostitutes as well. So you should call the waitress [fuWuyuan](foo-Woo-ywan). On the other hand, if you are lucky to have a young man serving your table, which is very rare, you also call him fuWuyuan. In Chinese, we do not have two words for a person serving tables. fuWuyuan can be male, or female. One thing is for sure, they are not old. In Chinese restaurants, you do not see old waiters/waitresses.

  • Most restaurants add MSG to the foods.

How do you tell the fuWuyuan that you do not want MSG? say [buYao(no) Weijing (Way Jing/MSG)]. Trust me, most Chinese customers in China do not like too many MSG as well. It cannot be healthy.

  • Coastal region tend to eat foods not so spicy, while those living in the inner region of China likes spicy foods.

How do we tell the waitresses that you do not eat spicy foods? say [Bu chi La.](lit. no eating spicy/hot). She will understand. The sound is like [Boo tsir Lar]. Can you make the sound of tsir? It is written in this confusing way because in English there is no exact word sounds the same. It’s just a close sound. Attend our Skype class, we will teach you how to make these sounds.

Be very careful about the spicy foods. I have had a friend from LA visiting a client of ours in the city of Chongqing, we were taken to a restaurant specialized in Hot Pots. Very spicy foods. The poor LA designer ended up leaving the city in advance. On the plane his head looked like a basketball as he told me later on. He was allergic to that kind of foods. Most westerners’ stomachs are simply not designed for that kind of exotic foods.

  • Most Chinese do not know what these are: sandwich, cheese. Do not expect they can get that for you.

However, if you are in a hotel, they may be able to make that for you in a Chinese kitchen. How do you tell the fuWuyuan? say [you sanmingZhi ma?](have sandwich?)(yo san ming Dsir ma?); [you naiNao ma?](have cheese?)

  • You may need help to find a western restaurant.

say this to someone for direction [qingWen, nali you xi canting?](please ask, where has western restaurant?)(chingWen, narly yo shee TsanTing?)

  • Just in case you need a bathroom in a hurry after tasting the exotic foods!

Where can I find a bathroom? [Please ask, where has bathroom?] [qing Wen, nali you Cesuo? ]

Is there a McDonald, or hotel nearby? (They have cleaner bathrooms, or more likely to have toilets instead of squatting toilets only.) [Please ask, nearby has Maidangnao, or hotel ma?](qingWen, FuJin you Maidangnao, Huozhe jiuDian ma?)