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Eating in China

Chinese people love to eat and China boasts one of the world's greatest cuisines. Thus one of the nicest things about traveling in China is the abundant array of delicious and inexpensive food. Even in small towns and villages it's usually easy to find places to eat with great food. Actually smaller places like these will often have better food than in big cities. Furthermore, the least expensive places often have the tastiest, most authentic food. A lot of expensive restaurants serve crappy Western food imitations that you should stay away from. Crappy Western fast food joints like McDonald's and KFC are common in big cities and should be avoided—they are expensive and you won't find traditional Chinese food there.


There are several differences in custom that you should be aware of when eating in a Chinese restaurant. First of all, there are no taxes or tipping. You need only pay the stated price of the meal and no more. Secondly people don't normally order dishes individually in China. If you're eating with a friend or a group you will decide on what dishes you want together. All the dishes are placed in the middle of the table, sometimes on a rotating platform, and each person takes food from the dishes using their chopsticks or spoon and places it in their individual bowl to eat. Thirdly, when Chinese people eat out their is no splitting the bill. Instead one person will usually volunteer to pay for the entire meal. If you do try to pay for your own portion of the meal instead of letting one person pay the whole thing, your Chinese friends might be very offended.


Where to Eat - There are so many restaurants in each city of China that nobody could tell exactly the number a specific city has, say nothing of the roadside eateries distributed in streets and back lanes. No matter where you would like to eat, in the slap-up restaurants or in the roadside eateries, make sure that the restaurant is clean and the food has been freshly prepared and is hot. Bringing your own chopsticks is strongly recommended when you decided to eat in roadside eateries.



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