What to Expect Eating in a Restaurant

Many people go on tours to China where the meals are ordered for them or in group tours they often have buffet meals to choose what you like.   It is an adventure to go to a restaurant on your own and order on your own.  The menu is usually in English and Chinese. Some have photos with the dishes.  Most restaurants will try to have an English speaking waiter or waitress but if they do not; then you can read and point.   Water costs extra.  Coffee is usually only available for breakfast.  Tea which normally came free with a meal is often charged for now.  Tipping is not necessary as it is included in the cost of your meal.  If you do tip, the money must be given to the owner of the restaurant.   Be careful about ordering some expensive things like lobster or special sea foods.  The price is often by weight rather than the dish and of course they would want to serve you the largest portion.  Many good restaurants require a reservation but your hotel or guide can help you with that.  Some restaurants will have a waiting line or room which may be up to one hour or more.  To avoid the crowds eat early as Chinese tend to have dinner about 8:00..  Chinese restaurants for the most part are very noisy so expect that.  Some smoking is done but becoming less and less each year.  Stay as long as you like as you will have to ASK for the check since it is considered impolite to bring a check without the customer asking for it.   For more details on restaurants contact me at   interlak@eskimo.com
I have had 50+ trips to China eating in hundreds of restaurants....and I haven't missed many meals!  :-)

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