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Know how to order “外卖(wàimài) takeout!”

May. 31, 2016

Meal time is an essential part of daily life in China. The importance of eating even influences the the daily language of the Chinese. For example, New Yorkers may greet friends with “How ya doin?” While traditionally friends in China may ask “你吃了吗? (Nǐ chī le ma?)” or “Have you eaten yet?” Although this expression is losing popularity in Chinese cities, other food-related expressions and words are becoming increasingly common in busy, modern life. One example is “外卖 (wàimài) takeout.” As smartphones and apps change daily life in China, “外卖 (wàimài) takeout” is becoming more and more important each year.


Jīntiān wǒmen jiào wàimài ba!
今天      我们      叫   外卖    吧!
Let’s order takeout today!

When and How to order “外卖 (wàimài)?”

With internet and smartphone usage playing a large role in daily life, convenient takeout meals, or “delivery,” is becoming the norm for busy workers in the cities. Late night at the office? 外卖 (wàimài) takeout! Heavy traffic? 外卖 (wàimài) takeout! Romantic movie with your honey? 外卖 (wàimài) takeout!

You can order “外卖 (wàimài) takeout” on a website, an app, your telephone or by simply walking up to the restaurant and ordering face-to-face. However, before you grab your food to go, you should do your homework and learn how to order in Chinese.

So, how do we order “外卖 (wàimài) takeout?” 5 useful Chinese sentences you need to know:

Nínhǎo, wǒ yào jiào wàimài.
您好,   我  要   叫   外卖。
Hello, I want to order takeout for delivery.

Wǒ yào diǎn yí fèn pīsà.
我    要   点   一份  披萨。
I want to order a pizza.

Qǐng sòng dào Wǔyī lù 185 hào.
请      送     到   五一 路 185 号。
My address is No. 185 Wuyi Road.

Yào duōjiǔ cái néng dào?
要    多久   才   能    到?
How long will that take?

Wǒ de wàimài sòng le ma?
我   的  外卖    送    了 吗?
Is my takeout on the way?


1. If you want to have food delivered to your home, you should ask for _____.
A. 自助餐 (zìzhùcān)
B. 外卖 (wàimài)
C. 菜单 (càidān)

2. There are many ways to order 外卖 (wàimài) in China. However, it’s not common to _____.
A. call by telephone
B. use an app or a website
C. send a postcard
D. walk up to the restaurant

See Answer Analysis

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