Eating in Western restaurants is a little different from eating in a Chinese restaurant. It is important to understand the differences and follow them. When in Rome, do as the Romans do and take the chance to practice your English skills.
When you first arrive at the restaurant, you should wait for one of the staff to show you to a table. Sometimes it is OK to find a table for yourself but you should ask first.
In a western restaurant, each person generally orders their own food or dishes and eats what they order. Western people don‘t put all of the food in the middle of the table and share.
One of the biggest differences between Chinese restaurants and western restaurants is the noise. Most western restaurants are quiet and people speak in quiet voices. Avoid shouting especially to the staff. If you do this, people may think that you are a rude dude.
If you need service, you should try to attract the staff‘s attention with your eyes not your voice. It‘s best not to raise your hand and wave at them either.
Both Chinese and Western people love to drink with their food especially wine or beer. The difference is that usually there will only be one or two toasts during the meal. It is not necessary to toast each time you pick up your glass.
When the bill at the end of the meal comes most people like to divide the bill equally by the number of people eating. This is called ‘going dutch‘. If the service and food have been good, you should leave a tip. Usually 10% of the bill is a good tip.
Jason : Where were you last night Jennifer? I called you so many times on your cell phone.
Jennifer: I was at the movies and turned off my phone.
Jason : I called you to see if you wanted to have dinner.
Jennifer: How can you afford that? I know you were planning to buy a car.
Jason: Simple. We all went dutch. We went to an American restaurant so that was OK.
Jennifer: Wow – I love American food. All the fatty and fried foods are not good for my diet though.
Jason : Some simple exercise can really make a big difference to your figure, you know.
Jennifer: Yeah, I know, but I am too lazy to do exercise!
Jason : Lucky that you are not too lazy to do your English exercises.
Jennifer: Maybe I can do my English exercise by ordering western foods.
Jason : OK next time we go, I will make sure that I call you again.
Jennifer: Cool. I‘ll keep my cell phone on until then!