Ordering food in Beijing, by Anne Kleimenhagen

Upon arrival in Beijing, there were many things that seemed daunting; calling a cab, buying clothes, and even teaching. The one thing that did not register as being overly difficult was something I had taken for granted up until this point in my life: ordering food. Usually, eating out consisted of grabbing the same menu from the same place down the street. I knew them, they knew me, and the entire process from start to finish was easy. Enter: Beijing dining. The first couple of times out, especially on your own, can be worrisome. The waiters hover while you order food and often times, people are looking at you from the minute you walk through the door. At first, what seems scary and even rude, slowly morphs into curiosity and acceptance. The looks become smiles and the hovering turns into broken, but joyful conversations in Chi-English: something that you will learn not to take for granted. Ordering food can be difficult, but it’s the most difficult times that end up being the most fun and memorable. So explore, try new places and get your pointer finger ready for the most exciting restaurant experiences you’ll probably ever have.

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