What the Chinese Always Ask Foreigners While in China

If youve lived in China long enough, chances are youve spotted similarities in how people engage in conversations here. Youll hear very typical Chinese questions, like the good old: "Have you eaten?".

Foreigners living in China have their fair share of interesting conversations. 

Here are some are the best ones weve collected from around the web and friends:


About your Mandarin

You: N ho. (Hello)
Chinese person: Oh, N ho. Your Chinese is so good!!

You: .????"
You: W zh hu shu y din din. (I can say a few words...)

Generally speaking, a lot of Chinese will think that a foreigner who can say Hello well in Chinese speaks the language very decently. Ahhhh, assumptions!


About drinking hot water

Friend: I caught a cold.

Me: Drink more hot water!!

Every Chinese person thinks that drinking cold water is bad for your stomach.

Hahahahaha, this ones so classic. I often advise my foreign friends to drink hot water when they tell me they have a sore throat, but they always say: Cold water will do, thanks.


About exams

(Usual conversations that take place right after taking an exam)

Classmate AI think I failed it.

Classmate BMe too. Im so pissed.

MeYeah right Stop joking.

A & B: No seriously.

Eventually, they both get 100% and Im the one who failed.

--@Stanley Li

Ive definitely had those conversations back in my school days. 

Every time those A-grade students said they thought theyd failed their tests, Id just roll my eyes 


I think this ones also a classic:

A: How are you?

Me: Fine, thank you, and you?

A: I'm fine too.


About marriage


PAre you dating anyone? (asking with a kind smile)

CNo, Im too busy with work.

PDont just focus on your job, try to date someone. Youre over 25 years old, youre not a kid anymore (speaking with a rising voice). Some of your friends are already married and youre still alone!

--@Robyn Simmons


I have to say... This is exactly like my mom.


Door Knocking

There comes a knock on the door. 

A: Who is it?

B: Its me

A: Who?

B: Me. [Insistently, perhaps slightly-hysterically] 

A: Who the hell are you?!

B: Me!

--@Cindy M. Carter



Me: Mom, where did I come from?

Mum: You were picked up from a dustbin near our home.

When I was four or five years old, my dad once asked me: "Sweetheart, do you remember where you came from?"

Me: Um... From mom's belly?"

My mom: "Oh, you were actually a giveaway when I paid the phone bill at China Mobiles business hall."

Me: Thanks, mom. At least you didn't say I was picked up from a dustbin near our home=.=|||

--@Hannah Wang

All I want to say is that, usually, Chinese parents will make up stories about where their children come from because of Chinas conservative and traditional views about sex.


At the dinner table


P:" Hey baby, eat this meat. It is good for your health!"

C:" I'm so full..."

P:" Don't waste food! Finish it up."

C:" Nope"

P:" Quickly!"



Bargain in the Chinese market

--@Tsengchun Lee


You can finish a conversation by using emojis and pictures.


Lucky Money

My aunt: Happy new year! Heres a red packet for you.

Me: Thanks, but I cant accept your money.

AuntTake it, you can use the money to buy some new clothes.

Me: Really, I cant. My parents wont allow me to take your money.

Aunt: Bla bla bla Take it!

Me: No!

--@Minna Hayashi


As a man, this is a conversation that Ive had far too frequently. I get approached by a man or a woman in their 60s or 70s and they go:

"Are you married?"

No, I answer.

"Why not? Do you like men instead?"

"No I like women. I guess I just havent met the right one for me yet."

"How much money do you make?"

"I make xxx."

"Do you own a house?"

"No I don't."

"You seem like a decent person. Why aren't you married?"

Ive just had some bad luck."

"Would you be interested in meeting my daughter? Shes 40 years old and not married yet. I was wondering if you could meet and become friends?"

By this time my mind is whirling madly. If I agree to meet her, Ill get their hopes up and if things don't work out Ill end up hurting them. So Time for some honesty.

"If you give me a way to contact her, Ill get in touch with her directly and we can have dinner. But I don't want you to be involved in the process if that's ok with you."

Sounds good. Do you have a recent photo? Ill give it to her and ask her. And give me your phone number so she can contact you directly."

"Here you go. Thank you."

In all fairness, this kind of set-up happens in the US too, but only among the Chinese. Turns out there are lots of desperate Chinese parents out there.

--@Paul Denlinger

Did you keep nodding your head while reading the conversations above?

Have you had other weird conversations like these while in China?

Let us know about your experience in the comment section below!

Source: Quora/ Sina/ Baidu

Editor: Crystal H

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