Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Chinese Culture- You Must Accept the Food at Chinese Restaurants

Posted by w_thames_the_d on May 31, 2011


While at lunch today I saw an interesting piece of Chinese culture. A lady ordered a dish or maybe she didn’t but when the dish arrived she informed the waitress that she did not want it. My Chinese sucks so I am unsure as to the specifics of the argument, but the waitress upon hearing the customers petition then raised her voice and told the client she must pay for the food! And this was a high brow place…

No kidding, this has happened t me as well. Once a little slack jawed bandy legged street urchin told me I had to pay for her mistake. This is Chinese etiquette. My suspicion is that the waitress is responsible for any food that is returned and being from here and making next to nothing, they do anything so that food is not returned. Then another interesting aspect of Chinese culture is that no managers are usually present, or if they are, they are about 17 or so. Thus, a fight broke out and the customer, a stately older woman stood and screeched until the younger one gave in.This is China culture.
btw I have never seen this in any country I have been fortunate enough to visit than China. Oh yeah, the food had not even been delivered yet and obviously had not been touched yet.

2 Responses to “Chinese Culture- You Must Accept the Food at Chinese Restaurants”

  1. Jason Ryan said

    This has happened to me now a couple times. I’m going to blog about it later but suffice it to say that if I send back a Coke (in a glass with ice) TWO TIMES because it might as well be water with food coloring in it and then the bill comes and I’m charged for a Coke I never drank . . . argh!

    It was also at a fairly expensive restaurant, and one I’ve been to about five times now (and the other visits never served brown water (aka Coke).

    If I could have yelled in Chinese I would have….

  2. Daniel Bos said

    Meh, yesterday we got a wrong dish (the non-spicy version) and as soon as we mentioned it (in the vein of “we ordered the spicy version, but it’s okay”) they immediately apologized and sent it back.

    I have to add though that this was a small neighborhood restaurant (you know, the ones where you can opt for a free coke instead of a VAT receipt) where we’ve been to a few times, so we know the people working there. I guess, like everything in China, it’s all about building a relationship.

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