How to Order Chinese food
from a Chinese Restaurant?

So you want to have some delicious Chinese Food
but don't know what to order..
Here are a few tips from people who owned
and operated a Chinese restaurant
for 50+ Years in Canada



The best and easiest way is to ask your server or person who answers the telephone when you call for "take out" or "take away" suggestions to order.

The main question to ask is "what is fresh today and ask them tell you what they suggest you should eat based upon the number of persons eating, the freshest vegetables, meats and fish that are seasonally available".

If they can't answer those questions to your satisfaction, then get yourself another restaurant.

Now here are a few bits of information that a server should think about when you ask this question.

How many Adults and Children would be eating the meal and are there any favourite dishes?

And -   Are there any food allergies to be considered?

Some Basics

1. A good Chinese meal consists of a balance between Yin and Yang type foods.

2. A person who is physically well usually eats a balance of these two types of foods at every meal.

3. There are basically the following types of food - Meat, Poultry, Seafood (Fish and Shellfish),
    Vegetables, Eggs, Rice, Noodles, Tofu (bean cake) and the types of tastes consist of sweet, sour, salty,
    bitter, pungent, spicy, or bland,

4. The complete Chinese meal consists of Appetizers or Soup, Main Courses and Desserts with Green
    Tea, Beer, or Wine as beverages with steamed or fried rice or noodles as a side dish that is shared
    among the people eating at the table.

5. The common sauces found are sweet and sour, oyster, soy, and curry.

6. The optimum number of people eating around a table is between 6 - 10 adults

7.  The following table will give you an indication of how many different types of dishes that should be

      Note: this does not include dishes of steamed rice which should be about a 1/2 dish for every person

 Adults Eating Full Different Entrees Half Different Dishes

Total Dishes

1 - 2 1
2 2 1 2 1/2
3 3 1 4
4 4 0 4
5 5 0 5
6 6 0 6
7 6 1 7
8 6 2 8
9 7 2 9
10 8 2 10

Note: Some restaurants do not provide half dishes

7. The meal can be served - separate entrees being brought out then eaten separately or entrees being 
    bought usually 4 - 6 different ones at a time

    Large banquets are served usually with main entrees being brought out one at a time. For meals up to
     about 10 people all the main entrees are brought out as quickly as possible after the soup or

8. For what to order - there should be at least one vegetable dish and several different meat and poultry
    Ideally for a table of six... one vegetable dish, one chicken dish, one beef dish, one noodle dish, one
    seafood dish, one pork dish plus some steamed rice.

What to Order

The intention of information on this page is to supply information on how choices should be selected and
as written before

"A good Chinese meal consists of a balance between
and Yang type foods"

Yin foods are bland and watery and are cooked using steaming, poaching and boiling methods.

Yin represents dark, feminine, damp, mild, and cool elements. Symptoms of someone in excess of yin include dizziness, paleness, tiredness, weakness, diarrhea, fear of cold weather and stomach upset. In summer, when weather is warm, more yin foods should be added to meal to get rid of the “heatiness” and “dryness” in the body. It is no surprise that people in South China lean more toward yin food. Ingredients that belong to yin or ‘cooling’ element are bean sprouts, cucumber, bok choy, watercress, winter melon, watermelon, bitter melon, coconut, tofu, celery, oranges, pears, rock sugar, oyster, bamboo shoots, lotus, soybean, mung beans, and etc. Steaming, poaching and boiling are yin cooking methods.

Yang, on the other hand, represents bright, masculine, dry, strong and heaty elements. Predominance of yang causes indigestion, pimples, feeling hot, sore throat, constipation, high blood pressure, nose bleed and fever. More hot and spicy food (yang) are eaten when weather is cold especially in northern China, to offset the yin element (weather) because as mentioned before, the environment changes one’s property. Ginger, chocolates, onion, garlic, chili pepper, red meats, chicken, turkey, crab, shrimps, peanuts, mango, longan, brown sugar, pineapple, etc are ingredients that are classified as having yang or “heaty” properties. Yang cooking methods include deep-frying, stir frying, grilling and roasting.

Balancing Ying and Yang ...

The ideas of yin and yang are used in the sphere of food and cooking. Yang foods are believed to increase the body's heat (eg. raise the metabolism), while Yin foods are believed to decrease the body's heat (eg. lower the metabolism). As a generalization, Yang foods tend to be dense in food energy, especially energy from fat, while Yin foods tend to have high water content needed to flush out the body.. The Chinese ideal is to eat both types of food to keep the body in balance. A person eating too much Yang food might suffer from acne and bad breath while a person lacking Yin food might be lethargic or anemic.

Ordering... Determine how many people there are to be fed... check the menu for ying and yang items, order according to the number of people who will be eating and see if you can come up with a balance of yin and yang foods and you won't go wrong!

To Recommend the Name of Your Favourite Chinese Restaurant - Fill In and then SUBMIT

Name of Restaurant                
Their e-Mail Address             

Their Web Site Address        


Note: In order to have you recommendation shown,
                 you must enter data in all fields of the above form.

We Get Letters:

Name: Lai Lai
eMail: No Email
Website: No Website
City: Kitchener, Ontario
Country: Canada
Comment: While they have no website or email address that I'm aware of, If you look up reviews of Lai Lai you will not see a single rating that is below four out of five stars.

They have been in the business for decades in Canada, obviously started up in China. One of the servers was a friend, she came from Hong Kong to go to school here. Family is very important in her culture, and when her sister's wedding came up in Brazil, she flew to Hong Kong to pick up her grandmother, and flew with her to Brazil and back, and back to Canada. All of these expenses were out of her own pocket, and it put her back a year in school. These are very good people.

Don't bother to go anywhere else in the KW area for hot and sour soup. Everything will be a disappointment in comparison with the hot and sour at Lai Lai.

They specialize in four different styles of cooking and there is something for everyone, with many vegetarian and tofu dishes, some dishes comfortable for the less-adventurous North American palate, the authentic hot pots, fish and smoked duck, all types of meats and vegetables, all delicious.

They do take-out, and delivery in the area, but also will book a private dining room for 60 people if required.

ou will be surprised how small the bill is. I've been going there for ten years and I'm never dissatisfied, the value is excellent. Bring a group so you can try a bit of everything, and they will seat you at a round table with a rotating centre to pass dishes around the group.

I see in the letter posted below that they mention the best Chinese foods being available in Vancouver and Toronto. Kitchener/Waterloo is the third-most-likely landing spot for people who move to Canada from China, because of the two highly respected universities, and entire families will move here to send one or more of their kids through theses schools. For what are comparatively small towns next to Toronto and Vancouver, the South East Asian population in the KW area is pretty large, and they wouldn't return to a sub-standard restaurant claiming to know how to cook the best of their native foods. I have no doubt you will enjoy it just as much as everyone I know does!


" Reference our continuing discussions on this group line about food, specifically, where to get the best restaurant food for the best price. That is to say, where is the best value for food in all of North America. Following is an article from The Toronto Star newspaper, dateline was today, 14 January 2009, about the food available in New York City Chinatown. After having had the opportunity to review the contents of this article, my posse and I still believe that the best value for this classification of restaurant food will be found in Toronto, closely followed by Vancouver. The food in NYC and Boston and Chicago and LAX and San Francisco is not so good when compared all what we have available in Oh Toronto und Oh Vancouver. We are having better Peking Duck in Toronto than the Beijing Ducks in Peking. Reference our recent patrol to the Diamond Banquet Hall in Markham, I received a second report from an agent pal who patronized the same place and he is reporting the same things that we observed; namely, Nice presentation and very good service but the food was nothing special nor was it extra-ordinary,

With Respect To, the prices. The little Thailand “Hole In The Wall” place on Eglington Avenue West, is next on the agenda, as soon as we get Round-2-it. The End Agent -

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