(#45) Counters / 碗,杯,份

When you need to order food, of course you can point at the menu and gesture with one finger to indicate you want one of this, or else you will need to accumulate some vocabulary, as well as some counters before you can order naturally.

wan3 as a vocabulary, it refers to ‘a bowl’, and the same word is used as a counter to indicate ‘a bowl of xx’. There is a separate counter to say ‘a plate of xx’, and Chinese food may come in bowl forms or plate forms, but one thing at a time.

yi4 wan3 mian4 A bowl of noodles
yi4 wan3 tang1 A bowl of soup

Regardless you want to order ‘a glass of xx’ or ‘a cup of xx’ or a ‘mug of xx’, you can just use 杯 bei1 to express.

牛奶 yi4 bei1 niu2 nai3 A glass of milk
果汁 yi4 bei1 guo3 zhi1 A glass of fruit juice
咖啡 yi4 bei1 ka1 fei1 A cup of coffee
茶 yi4 bei1 cha2 A cup of tea
啤酒 yi4 bei1 pi2 jiu3 A mug of beer
香槟 yi4 bei1 xiang1 bin1 A flute of champage

One last general counter to share, and this word literally means ‘a portion of xx’, but ‘portion’ may not be small bites or appetitizers, or small snacks, it may also be used to simply represent an order of one item. The word in question here is 份 fen4.

Example, if you want to order a bowl of noodles, you can say 一碗面 yi4 wan3 mian4 like I explained earlier. Or! You can even just point, and say “这个请给我一份。” zhe4 ge4 qing3 gei3 wo3 yi4 fen4 to generically say ‘give me one of this’.

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