My Struggles Ordering Chinese Food

Ordering Chinese food is another thing that complicated my first month in China. As you’ve read before, my first month in China was a disaster. I’m a loner, but I felt out of place for a while. It had more to do with not having a group I belonged to. I realized everyone wants to belong somewhere, but I belonged nowhere. Because of that, I started socializing with Chinese people. That’s also how my Chinese improved the way it did.

I forgot to tell you about the Surinamese young man who helped me the first month there. He doesn’t have a scholarship, but his father knows my father, so we got in touch. Such a gentle soul, he is. He picked me up from the airport, assisted me with everything, introduced me to his friends. It was nice to know people, of course, but there was still the language barrier. Filipinos speak excellent English, but I didn’t go to China to speak English 24/7. After I could speak some Chinese, I practiced every chance I got. My Surinamese friend, Nelsen, helped me call this guy who delivers food to everyone on campus. We call him 叔叔 (shu-shu), which means “uncle.” 

ordering Chinese food

The food is TASTYYY!!!! The restaurant isn’t far from campus, but I’m a little lazy to walk at times.

There are many restaurants close to our school, but I don’t always feel like going out. That’s where ordering in comes in handy. Some restaurants are nice, really cozy. The food is cheap and students can study there as well. This place is so cute! I saw my classmates eating there, so one afternoon I decided to follow their example. I think the place is really awesome, the food is tasty as well.

ordering Chinese food

The really cute restaurant close to campus. I love eating and studying there a few times per week.

Nelsen was always the one ordering Chinese food for me.

When I was a little more confident about my ability to speak the language, I told Nelsen I would order my food myself. Yes, I would be the one ordering Chinese food. Well, since I’m in China, I think I’ll just refer to it as “food.” He asked if I was sure, I said, “OF COURSE! I need to practice!” After I dialed 叔叔, I was super excited I would be the one ordering my food. WOW! Do you have any idea how good it felt that I was about to do something for myself using Chinese? My phone conversation with “Uncle” went like this:

Me: “Uncle, hello, my name is Phoenix.
Uncle: “Hello, Phoenix Student. What do you want (to order)?”
叔叔: 你好,凤凰同学。你要什么?
Me: “I want fried rice.
(My pronunciation was OFF! For the rice, I used the first tone, but I was supposed to use the fourth)
Uncle: “Phoenix Student, what do you want (to order)?”
Me: (I repeated “fried rice,” but the tones were OFF)
Uncle: “Phoenix Student, what do you want (to order)?”
Me: (Repeated it again, tones were OFF again)
我: 炒饭
Uncle: “What do you want (to order), Phoenix?”
Me: “Steak.” (I can pronounce that flawlessly)
我: 牛肉。
Uncle: “Good.”
叔叔: 好的

The struggle was real, people, the struggle was real. I probably ate steak four to five days in a row. Asking Nelsen to order for me would be easier, but I really wanted to practice. When I eventually tired of steak, I called Nelsen and asked him to order pork or chicken. If I saw a steak one more time, I would moo spontaneously.

A year later, and I still have to work on my pronunciation. Eating beef so many days in a row… *vomit*

The struggles of ordering food in China, people! LOL! Oh, and the struggle of eating Chinese food is real, too. There are not many restaurants that pay attention to food safety. When I go to a restaurant, I always pay attention to if the owner eats his/her own food. If they do, I will continue to eat there. Why? They don’t want to gt sick, so of course they will pay attention to what they eat. Let’s hope ordering Chinese food will get easier in the future.

Much LOVE to you all!

Tiara Ray

I am grateful & blessed to have the life I live. (Soon to be) Traditionally published & self-published author in her mid-thirties. I unsuccessfully tried changing this picture numerous times, so I just left it. I wish you lots of love & may you get what you need. <3


  1. hilarious. I myself have ended up eating things more basic than I wanted due to not being able to describe what I want and not being able to communicate and ask questions about stuff I’m allergic to (like to the level I’d need to in that country to make sure what I’m ordering hasn’t had something thrown in the sauce etc). Ah the challenges of eating when you can’t see the photos on your online delivery site..! 🙂

    • Hello Brooke! Thank you for stopping by! LOL, it wasn’t hilarious at the time, LOL! It was rather frustrating. Imagine eating the same thing five days in a row! LOL, I can imagine your struggles, and I sympathize! Photos would be so much better, indeed!!! Do stop by again!

    • Thank you! It’s my second year in Asia, my roommate is from Thailand, and I can tell you this much… Oriental languages aren’t that easy to learn. You really need to hear it 24/7 to make sense out of it. I’m happy you enjoyed reading it. Do stop by more often. I’ll be adding some basic Chinese lessons to my blog. Wishing you a great day! 😀

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