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Home > Resources > Food and Measure Words

Food and Measure Words, by Shu Ting

How to order food in a Chinese restaurant with the right measure words?

The Chinese language has special words, known as measure words (量词/量詞/liàngcí), that are used with numbers to define the quantity of a given object, or with demonstratives such as "this" and "that" to identify specific objects.

Below is a small introduction to these words when it comes to food.

你好, 请 给 我 菜 单,谢 谢。
你好, 請 給 我 菜 單,謝 謝。
Hello, Can I have the menu, please
nǐ hǎo,qǐng gěi wǒ cài dān,xiè xie。

我 可 以 点 菜 了。
我 可 以 點 菜 了。
I am ready to order.
wǒ kě yǐ diǎn cài le

Measure word 份/fèn

我 想 要 一份 ...
我 想 要 一份 ...
wǒ xiǎng yào yífèn ...
Can I have one ...

... 炒饭/炒飯 [chǎo fàn] fried rice
... 炒青菜 [chǎo qīng cài] fried vegetable
... 糖醋鱼/糖醋魚 [táng cù yú] sweet and sour fish
... 凤梨虾球/鳳梨蝦球 [fèng lí xiā qiú] pineapple and shrimp ball
... 皮蛋豆腐 [pí dàn dòu fǔ] preserved egg and tofu

Measure word 碗/wǎn

我 想 要 一碗 ...
我 想 要 一碗 ...
wǒ xiǎng yào yìwǎn ...
Can I have one ...

... 汤/湯 [tāng] soup
... 饭/飯 [fàn] rice
... 面/麵 [miàn] noodle
... 稀饭/稀飯 [xī fàn] porridge

Measure word 杯/bēi

我 想 要 一杯 ...
我 想 要 一杯 ...
wǒ xiǎng yào yìbēi ...
Can I have one ...

... 水 [shuǐ] water
... 咖啡 [kā fēi] coffee
... 茶 [chá] tea
... 可乐/可樂 [kě lè] coke
... 豆浆/豆漿 [dòu jiāng] soybean milk
... 奶茶 [nǎi chá] milk tea

Measure word 个/個/ge

我 想 要 一个 ...
我 想 要 一個 ...
wǒ xiǎng yào yíge ...
Can I have one ...

... 水饺/水餃 [shuǐ jiǎo] dumpling
... 包子 [bāo zi] steamed buns
... 馒头/饅頭 [mán tou] steamed bread

Measure word 笼/籠/lóng

我 想 要 一笼 ...
我 想 要 一籠 ...
wǒ xiǎng yào yìlóng ...
Can I have one ...

... 小笼包/小籠包 [xiǎo lóng bāo] soup dumpling
... 蒸饺/蒸餃 [zhēng jiǎo] steamed dumpling

More details on the Chinese measure words can be found at