Oliver Gao

Green and Red Flags for Choosing a Restaurant in China

June 10, 2024 For those who struggle to (or can't) read Chinese

Bread pocket filled with pork and liang pi with cucumber in a dish on a table

In China, a country where my usual tools for finding a restaurant (Google Maps, Yelp) are not used by the masses, I’m left in the dark when it comes to choosing a restaurant to eat at. You might be wondering why I can’t just download the apps used by the Chinese people. The problem here is my lack of Chinese reading ability. So instead, I came up with the following heuristics to help me navigate through this tough problem.

Green Flags

1. The restaurant is full of people and there is a line to get in.
2. They make the food where guests can see it whether that be through a window or right in front of you.

Red Flags

1. There are no people in the restaurant (during meal time)
2. The restaurant looks really new and gentrified
3. The main seating area has fancy chairs and tablecloths
4. There are workers with menus standing outside of the restaurant trying to convince you to go in