Before You Go

A Few Tips about Dining Out in Shenzhen

Bring RMB – with the exception of five-star hotels, most restaurants in Shenzhen do not accept international credit cards.

Bring someone that speaks Mandarin – most restaurants have menus with pictures so you can always point. With the exception of five-star hotels, however, practically nobody in Shenzhen speaks English, and many waiters don’t even speak Cantonese.

Watch the oil – if you master only one sentence of Mandarin, make it xiao you or “little oil”. Chefs in China have a heavy hand when it comes to the greasy stuff, and this handy phrase just could save you a cardiac arrest.

Don’t order too much – servings tend to be bigger than in Hong Kong – sometimes much bigger. So don’t get carried away. Order a few dishes first. If you are still hungry, you can always order more.

Don’t tip – it’s not expected, so let’s not ruin a good thing. But we’re talking about restaurants here. Tipping is expected at massage parlours. Masseurs and masseuses get very low wages. But this applies only to Shenzhen and not to other parts of the mainland, where it is still frowned upon.


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