Lesson 006. Chinese Food is Good to Eat!

This lesson will help you order your favorite Chinese food in Chinese.
Order Chinese food in a Chinese restaurant with the help of this lesson. It contains a list of popular and delicious Chinese food suitable for our tastes. Don’t try to memorize the names of all dishes at this stage, however you can bring the lesson transcript with you to a Chinese restaurant and order what you want from the list. Signup to download all 200+ lessons with PDF transcripts.


  1. Anonymous says:

    How could say be better when they were free? :)
    The idea that someone would go through all this trouble with no financial reward was interesting. I guess greed always finds a way to seep in. You are definitely providing value in your blog and some people are willing to pay for it. Good capitalism, I like that. But to swich midway after starting it for ‘free’ is a bit disheartening.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hello Serge.
    I regret that your lessons are only PDF files.
    Before we had to chose between .pdf, .doc or .rtf
    I can’t edit a .pdf with adobe reader 7
    For me I prefer files in .doc or .rtf for the following reasons.
    When a sentence is difficult, I write the elapse
    time at the same place so it is easy to return to this sentence with my computer . Now I can’t
    As I am French If there is an English word I need to translate in French I have to perform a double clic on the word ,
    then a single clic on the icon of the Harrap’s dictionary and I have my translation. Now I can’t and it is much more
    Sometimes it was interesting to write some annotations to help for the prononciation on my computer . Now I can’t
    Please see if you can do something.
    Wanda et Claude

  3. Actually, I make the transcripts as PDF files because Chinese characters and all the format will be preserved no matter what system or language version you are using. Also you can easily zoom in or zoom out if you can’t see clearly.

  4. To the first post….
    I’d be more than happy to keep it completely free, but unfortunately, writing trascripts and making the podcast better takes time and I have to make a living as well. Besides, the podcast itself IS free. But, if you want to immerse yourself to a serious study, you will need to pay a small fee for receiving lesson transcripts.
    Hope you understand.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I dont need the transcripts as much, but I am happy to subscribe to the paid service simply to support you Serge. Its a small price to pay for such an excellent service. I consider it a donation for your hard work, which has helped me very much.

    Josh Stewart

  6. I’m not expert in Cantonese, but if you are talking about chi1 (first tone) in Mandarin, it means “to eat” and in Cantonese it’s pronounced as ‘sek3′(third tone)

    Mandarin: To east=chi1 fan4(吃饭)
    Cantonese: sek3fan2(食飯)



  7. Richard Stibbard says:


    Fantastic website – I am pointing my students to it – many thanks for all the very hard work!

    Just a little correction on the Cantonese – the tones of both are No. 6, i.e. ‘sihk faahn’ in Yale.

    All the very best, and thanks again for this excellent resource.


  8. Dawei says:


    I have a question about how a possessive particle is used in Lesson 6 Chinese Food, Situation 1.

    I understand that de is a possessive particle. When A and B are in the Chinese restaurant, the waitress says,”

    Ni3hao3, Ni3de Zhong1wen2 shuo1de hen3 hao3!
    Hello, your Chinese is very good! ”

    De is used after Ni3 (Ni3de) and after shuo1 (shuo1de). Why is it necessary to use de, the possessive particle twice in this sentence? Could you just say Ni3hao3, Ni3de Zhong1wen2 shuo1 hen3 hao3! Ni3men xiang3 chi1 shem2ma?
    I took out the de before shuo1.

    Thanks, Serge.


  9. Serge Melnyk says:

    Dawei, Nihao!

    Thank you for your excellent question, as it gives me the opportunity to explain to you this major grammatical point.

    As a matter of fact, the ‘de’ in this sentence is not possessive.

    There are 3 different ‘de’ s in Mandarin Chinese, and they are written using different Chinese characters. I don’t know if you can read this, but here they go: 的-possessive de, 得-complement of degree ‘de’ and 地-particle ‘de’ used as adverbial modifier, used to modify the verb in the sentence when there is an adverb preceding it.

    So going back to your sentence, nide zhongwen shuo de hen hao(你的中文说得很好)—-> it’s the answer to the question: shuo de zenmeyang?(说得怎么样?) “how (does he) speak it?—>he speaks very well.

    So whenever you need to show the complement of degree, and this is a typical example, “how does someone do something”, “how does it look, taste, goes, flies…whenever you want to describe how something is done”, you will be using verb+de+result of how it was done.

    Generally, the complement of degree emphasizes the result of an accomplished action, and the adverbial modifier emphasizes the manner or attitude in which the subject takes or is going to take an action.

    For sentences using the complement of degree, there are 2 possible ways to express:

    If the full “verb+object” phrase is used, e.g. shuo1 zhong1wen2(说中文), then you NEED to repeat the main verb shuo1(说) again, right before the complement of degree:

    E.g. ni3 shuo1 zhong1wen2 shuo1 de hen3 hao3!(你说中文说得很好!)- You speak Chinese (speak) very well.–> this is just the rule. Another example: chi1fan4(吃饭)-to eat, literally “eat rice” (verb+object).

    Ni3 chi1fan4 chi1 de hen3 kuai4!(你吃饭吃得很快!)-you eat “rice” eat very fast. Or just “you eat very fast”.

    Second way is, when there is no full verb+object thing, but just an object is there. E.g.

    Ni3 zhong1wen2 shuo1 de hen3 hao3!(你中文说得很好!)-you(r) Chinese speak(s) very well. This can be either ni zhongwen or nide zhongwen. The meaning is slightly different, but almost the same.

    Ni3 fan4 chi1 de hen3 kuai4!(你饭吃得很快!)- You “rice” eat very fast.

    So that was the complement of degree.

    The adverbial modifier is when you place such words as hao3(好)-good, well, kuai4(快)-fast, etc. before the verb. Sometimes, these words will be doubled, haohao(好好), kuaikuai(快快)…..man4man4(慢慢)-slowly.

    So basically, it becomes good”ly”, fast”ly”, slow”ly”. etc. But they are placed BEFORE the verb.

    E.g. haohao de shuo!(好好地说!)-speak well (like behave well), a wish that someone needs to speak well, clearly, so we understand him.

    Ni3 man4man4 de shuo1(你慢慢地说!)- you slowly speak!-speak slowly, so I can know what you are saying….

    This type of action hasn’t happened yet. The action in the complement of degree is the result of the action that already took place.

    You can omit the ‘de’ used as adverbial modifier, you probably know this from qing3 ni3 man4man4 shuo1(请你慢慢说)-please speak slowly. Or, it can also be qing3 ni3 man4man4 de shuo1!(请你慢慢地说!)

    So these 3 particles ‘de’ are not the same.

    Hopefully, this will help you in the future to see which one is which.



  10. Rahab says:

    I learnt Chinese some time back and I am very impressed with the way you handled this question. It indicates a deep understanding of Chinese grammar.

  11. Taco Bakker says:

    I studied Chinese language at Leiden University from 1988 – 1994. After graduating I started working in a non China related job, not speaking Chinese on a regular basis any longer. This course is a perfect way to refresh my spoken Chinese.

  12. Sithu Kyaw says:

    Hello Serge

    I’m from Myanmar and working in Singapore.

    Since 80% of my colleague are from China, I need to learn a Chinese language.

    I search Chinese podcast by my iPhone and found a lot of podcast lessons but none of the podcast can compete to your podcast.

    Thank you very much for putting a lot of effort for your subscriber and students.


  13. JIN MAN JEONG says:

    Dajia hao!

    I think this is the best site for foreigners studying chinese. It is full of very practical and useful expressions!

    Thank you Serge for your effort and sincerity.

    Xie Xie~

  14. Tom says:

    Excellent course! One of the best for learning Chinese in my opinion!
    Thank you for your efforts!

  15. Pascal says:

    I find your explanation of the 3 “de” very valuable. A Chinese friend tried explaining the same thing to me two weeks ago and didn’t succeed. ;-)
    Thanks a lot again, your work really helps me a lot. After about 100 podcasts I now just went back to the beginning and noticed so much progress compared to the first time I listened to them. That’s a huge motivation. :-)

  16. Alexa Shupp says:


  17. Serge Melnyk says:

    Nihao Alexa, thanks for your comment! Let me help you re-phrase your comment a little bit:
    我不知道你会不会看汉字(I don’t know if you can read Chinese characters, the “if” here is an English way to express, in Mandarin, you use “if” only in its direct, conditional meaning, such as if…then…., so using 会不会, or 是不是 is what in Mandarin will mean ‘whether, if’), you could also say: 我不知道你是不是能看汉字。

    这些播客非常有帮助 (有帮助 instead of just 有助, it’s more complete way, 有助,有助于 is more used in proverbs or idiomatic expressions).

    我在上海学习(instead of 我学习在上海, here it’s just the basic word order issue, you put the place/time first, rather than at the end of sentence as we do in English).

    但是我要提高我的中文口语 (instead of 中文说的 by which you meant ‘Chinese speaking’.说 Is a verb ‘to speak’, 说的 is something/somebody that you speak of. For ‘Chinese speaking’, 口语 is better as it means ‘oral language’.

    Well, that’s all! Thank YOU too for learning Chinese on my Website!


  18. Larry says:

    Hi Serge! I really like your podcasts – after much effort I’ve been frustrated at the lack of structured audio/listening resources, and so far yours is definitely the best. I really like your conversational approach – it feels almost like having a personal teacher. I found you through Olle Linge’s Hacking Chinese by the way.

    One comment on Lesson 6: it seems Summer’s voice is too loud compared to yours, just in this lesson. Not sure if you can do anything about it.


  19. Larry says:

    Actually, never mind my last comment about the sound level. I was listening on earbuds in a noisy cafe and had to turn the sound up to hear you, which made Summer sound too loud. But in a quiet room this was no longer an issue.

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