Can you bring the rice first?
xiān shàng mǐ fàn ba
Why is it that at a Chinese restaurant rice is usually the last dish to come out? You may be thinking — I’m in China, shouldn’t rice be the FIRST thing I see on my table?
If you want rice, you must ask REPEATEDLY.
Because Chinese don’t eat rice like us expats do. We like to put savory food on top of rice or mix it together. I personally feel it balances out the oil, spice or salt in my favorite Sichuan cuisine. The Chinese however, eat most of the other dishes first, and rice comes last as the filler.
Rice is cheap and widely available, so it’s the perfect way to fill up.
So at a restaurant, unless you ask, ask and ask again, you won’t see your delicious, white, fluffy carbs until the end.
To learn how to say more of your favorite Chinese dishes download my visual food guide. To get more practice speaking, show it to the waiter at your favorite Sichuan restaurant. (Instructions at the top tell them to speak slowly and help you learn dish names.)
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