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When traveling alone in China how do you choose restaurants?

When traveling alone in China how do you choose restaurants?

Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 10:37 AM
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When traveling alone in China how do you choose restaurants?

I am considering traveling on my own to China in December. My biggest fear is where will I eat? Will I have to stick to eating in big Western hotels? I'm assuming it will be difficult to find restaurants with English menus or staff that speaks English. Is this correct? Will I be okay in Beijing and Shanghai but have more difficulty in smaller cities? Will I starve?
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 11:42 AM
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There are food stalls and small restaurants in all cities of China. Many of these have the stove in the front. Just point at what you want. You will not starve.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 04:18 PM
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Once you get to Beijing or Shanghai, ask the hotel where to get a copy of That's Shanghai or That's Beijing , a monthly magazine that includes a list of restaurants by cuisine and does reviews. They have a website www.thatsbeijing.com but there doesn't seem to be much in the way of restaurant listings online. Another resource is www.shanghaiexpat.com and you could search the forum dealing with food matters.
The restaurants are getting better in having an English translation menu, but I notice that they don't always translate the whole menu, maybe just the dishes they think foreigners might want. Having said that though, we dined at a place where this was the case, my husband likes duck, one dish was translated as "delicious ducks", so we ordered it and a plate of duck beaks and cheeks came to the table! It was tasty though but wouldn't assuage your hunger pangs!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 05:15 PM
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you probably will find about as many restaurants that have translations into english as you find western restaurants with translations into chinese....think about it...
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 10:17 PM
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Ha, you may be right rhkkmk, have to ask the bi-lingual readers to let us know!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 10:25 PM
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Dahhh yea, it just sunk in! Of course you mean there would be none. Fairly true, it would be a case like anywhere else - if you want non-nationals to come in, you make sure they understand what you are all about, either with translations, photos or plastic models.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2005, 02:55 PM
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The number of foreign tourists is a drop in the bucket by comparison with Chinese tourists, not to mention the population at large, so there's not much incentive for most restaurants to have English menus (still less English-speaking staff).

Despite this, while I don't remember seeing plastic models there are certainly restaurants that have menus with illustrations and even English translations - these won't be small "hole in the wall" operations but you won't have to confine yourself to western-style hotels.

We often lunched, and breakfasted, at street stalls in Beijing and Shanghai.
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Old Sep 4th, 2005, 05:37 AM
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I traveled solo and independently in China in July; between pictures, some hand-written translations, a phrase book, and very helpful and interested restaurant patrons I managed not only not to starve, but to have some really great meals!

I also went to the supermarket on occasion, as three solo meals a day gets a tad boring in three weeks' time.
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