finding good restaurants while traveling

What Drinks Should You Order At A Mandarin Chinese Restaurant?

When you dine out at a Mandarin Chinese restaurant, it is important to pay attention to the drink menu. Most menus include a selection of typical sodas, such as cola and lemon-lime soda, along with a host of other more unique and interesting drinks. If you really want to embrace the experience and order a drink that will pair well with your food, then you'll want to avoid the generic soda and instead try one of these options.


Baijiu is a unique liquor made in China. It's derived from fermented sorghum, which is a specific type of grain. Baijiu is very potent, and it comes in both light and strong styles. You'll more often see light baijiu on a restaurant menu since its flavor is more appealing to the masses. This drink will usually be served in a shot glass, but you can absolutely sip it if you prefer. It's a good choice for a pre-dinner drink since it can over-power some food.

Oolong Tea

The Chinese love tea, and oolong tea is one of the best-known varieties. It's a good choice for pairing with your meal since its mild flavor won't overpower your food. When you order oolong tea at a Chinese restaurant, you typically get a pot, which is meant to be shared with the whole table. Each person will be given a small cup, which the tea can be poured into. It's not traditional to add milk, sugar, or anything else to the tea. Enjoy it on its own.

Pearl Milk Tea

If you'd like something sweet and non-alcoholic, then check the menu for pearl milk tea. These tea drinks are sweetened with juices and syrups, and tapioca pearls are added to the bottom of the cup. You can suck them up through the thick straw you're usually given with the drink. Kids and adults alike enjoy these refreshing beverages, either with dinner or afterward.


You may sometimes see suanmeitang listed as "sour plum drink" on a menu. This is a cool drink made from the juice of sour plums, along with flavorings like licorice root and hawthorn. It's often served over ice, and you can pair it with almost any food — although it's really good alongside salty dishes.

When you order at a Chinese restaurant, make sure you try one of the beverages above. It's a part of the experience and usually accentuates the food.