Chinese food prices for restaurants around the world?
August 11, 2015 11:43 AM   Subscribe

I'm curious about the pricing of Chinese restaurant food in various countries. Can you give me a price range for your country or area, for either delivered or in-restaurant dining, either in your country's currency or US dollars?

To narrow it down a tiny bit, let's assume that owner and/or staff are originally from China or are of Chinese heritage, or have a solid background of the art of Chinese food, and that the restaurant is neither considered "haute cuisine" or a super cheap fast food place (actually I'm kind of interested in both of those, as well, but my basic question is not about the extremes on either end).

You don't need to stick to this, but imagine two people dining, with soup, spring rolls or similar appetizer, entrees, and a side of one other dish – a salad of some type, or fried rice, or noodles, etc.

I completely understand that China is a huge country with many different cuisines, and also that restaurant offerings will be altered to suit the predominate tastes of the local market, so I'm not talking about Chinese food that must be absolutely authentic to a specific region, or anything like that – just asking about the decent restaurants in your part of the world that successfully specialize in Chinese food for your typical diner.
posted by taz to Food & Drink (25 answers total)
About $40 USD, not including tip for your menu's dinner. $24 without tip for the same amount of food for lunch. This is in the suburbs of Denver, for a totally fine but not fancy restaurant.
posted by umwhat at 11:55 AM on August 11, 2015

I'm in the UK. My local cheap-and-greasy small town takeout place will give you an insane amount of food for around £20 ($30) - think four vegetarian entrees (at least two servings in each container) plus noodles or rice, crackers and fortune cookies. It's also really good. I love that place.

In the nearest (small) city, you can get a sit-down meal like the one you suggested for £30-40 ($55-60). There's also an unusually large range of cuisine choices from around China for this part of the UK, with restaurants from different regions, because the two universities here both attract a lot of Chinese students.

(Exchange rates run from just now)
posted by terretu at 11:59 AM on August 11, 2015

My favorite hole-in-the-wall Chinese food restaurant (where the owners' daughters do their homework at a table in the corner every night during the school year) would charge about $25 USD for that example meal, without tip.

I'm just outside the city limit of Cincinnati, Ohio.
posted by cooker girl at 12:29 PM on August 11, 2015

In Switzerland, single items at a proper restaurant start at 15 CHF and average around 20 - 20 CHF unless you eat somewhere fancy.

Two people dining out with drinks, appetizer and dessert may cost you over 100 CHF. We don't often eat out, and if we do, we never order alcohol, so we've never spent more than 60 CHF, but I know a guy who does full courses like you describe them and pays 60 for him alone.

In Germany, depending on where you eat, you can get away with 30€ for two people, or maybe 40 to 50 for full courses. 80 if you go fancier, 20 or less if you mean Chinese at the train station.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 12:31 PM on August 11, 2015

Here's the menu for a well-regarded urban downtown Chinese/Asian restaurant in my area (Raleigh, NC), and here is the menu for a casual but decent strip mall "Chinese diner" in my suburban town. Keep in mind the standard 20% tip needs to be added.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:31 PM on August 11, 2015

Our go to bone standard NYC Chinese-american place runs about 40-45$ dollars for two people, appetizers, entree, and rice. The portions are oversized and usually enough for leftovers for both people the next day.

the nicer place that makes more of an effort to do regional Chinese dishes is about the same, but with the portions scaled back and more of a family-style dining set up.
posted by The Whelk at 12:39 PM on August 11, 2015

UK, Brighton, we usually spend about ~£35 on takeout (delivered) for two people, HOWEVER, this always leaves enough for 1 extra meal the following day, so if we bought the right amount it would be about ~£22-£25.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:39 PM on August 11, 2015

Rome: My go-to place used to be about €15-€25 a person including water and a beer/wine, coffee and rose grappa to finish. Anything above that meant we drank a lot of wine, were a large group celebrating, had a serious case of the munchies, or all of the above.

Sadly, after many years it closed. I've eaten at a few "trusted*" places that are around the same price point or a smidge higher, but none as of yet with the same quality.

* "Trusted" in the sense that friends have eaten there repeatedly and recommend it; after a couple of fantastically revolting meals, I am gun-shy about trying new Chinese places here.
posted by romakimmy at 1:01 PM on August 11, 2015

Mountains by LA: dinner last night for two was around $35.00, including tip but no spring rolls; enough food for at least an extra meal. LA proper: the fancy place in our area is around $55.00/$60.00+ for two with extra charges for rice and paltry leftovers. Tragically, we are not close to any of the hubs for excellent Chinese food here.
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:09 PM on August 11, 2015

Given equivalent quality, US Chinese food is cheaper and with much bigger portions than UK Chinese food. It's really quite a deal.

Many US Chinese families have opened pseudo Japanese restaurants, because the margins are a lot better.
posted by w0mbat at 1:36 PM on August 11, 2015

About $25, including tax and tip, at our go-to place (downtown NYC, not Chinatown).
posted by ferret branca at 1:46 PM on August 11, 2015

About $30-40 AUD in Sydney's inner west, in a neighbourhood with a huge Chinese population and approximately a dozen restaurants with "Shanghai" in the name. Yum!
(Fortune cookies aren't done here! And food comes in clear plastic Tupperware style containers, not the white cardboard ones we have in the U.S.)
posted by jrobin276 at 2:20 PM on August 11, 2015

$25-$40 USD including tax and tip, small town Western Canada. I would say roughly the same in small towns or cities, though there is far more variability in price in the city.
posted by ssg at 2:39 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here's the menu from my favorite local chain here in Los Angeles. It's a tiny bit more expensive than your typical neighborhood place, but the quality and ambience is better :)
posted by starscream at 2:42 PM on August 11, 2015

$25ish here in East Tennessee. And here's a link to the menu of the best Chinese restaurant in the area. (Yeah, we know the name is appalling but their Chinese and Vietnamese dishes are very good... their Thai entrees less so.)
posted by workerant at 2:46 PM on August 11, 2015

Ottawa menu for a well-regarded takeaway that has been doing its thing since 1971, with quite standard Ottawa prices. With tax and tip one usually scrapes up against CAD$50 for a meal for two with the add-ons like spring rolls and soup.
posted by kmennie at 3:07 PM on August 11, 2015

Calgary, AB, Canada. I priced out the following menu at 5 restaurants:
2 spring rolls $4
Ginger beef $13
Salt & pepper squid $15
Special fried rice $10
Total $42 plus 5% tax = $44 CAD ($34 USD)

Note that Ginger Beef and Salt & Pepper Squid are typically "premium" dishes, and something more like a chicken stir fry and a mixed vegetable dish would be a couple bucks cheaper. Also, local portion size typically means I order one dish per person, so this is more like a meal for 3, perhaps even 4 if they're not so hungry.

Many restaurants have combo "Meal For Two" type deals; these usually have spring rolls, fried rice and two other entrees - often specified entrees (or pick two from this limited list) - with perhaps a small hot & sour or wonton soup added. I don't know whether you get smaller portions with these combos. These run in the $31 CAD ($24 USD) range including tax.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 4:40 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Montreal: I'd expect to spend can$45-50 for dinner for two in a mid-level place in Chinatown or similar. I'm not quite sure what you mean by entrees, but that would be soup, steamed rice, possibly a starter, and two main dishes, something involving animal protein and veg, and something involving mixed veg and/or tofu.

If you add something special like a whole fish or lobster expect it to be at least $20-25 more.

I'm assuming the 15% tax is in, but the tip is on top. This is ordering off the à la carte menu, also. I imagine you could get something cheaper by ordering a set meal for two.
posted by zadcat at 5:40 PM on August 11, 2015

I would have said much higher than jrobins answer for Sydney. Unless the two people are sharing a single main, which is what we would normally do. I think the soups you mention would be about $5, spring rolls another 5, the main courses about 12-15 each, and a side salad maybe 8? So that's $30 just for one person, and you specified two.

In reality, though, I don't know anyone who eats Chinese like that. You'd go in a group and get a serve or two of appetisers for the table, and maybe three mains for every five people. So usually an evening at a Chinese restaurant comes in for me at less than $20.
posted by lollusc at 5:50 PM on August 11, 2015

Ok,I just checked a couple of random menus online for Chinese places in the inner west, and they are slightly more expensive than my estimates (soup about $7, spring rolls $12, mains $18, fried rice 12). I still reckon everything except the soup would be enough food for two people to share, but then that's still over $50.
posted by lollusc at 5:57 PM on August 11, 2015

Your basic menu fits what we consider a combo dinner so I figure a combo dinner for 2 would be about $35 before tip.
If you don't know what a combo dinner is, you are missing one of glories of American overindulgence.
Location: Oregon
posted by fiercekitten at 7:28 PM on August 11, 2015

Combo sets here in the Spanish provinces start at 7-8€ for three course meals, wok / teppanyaki -type buffets go around 10-15€ with weekends more expensive. This example restaurant from Barcelona's centre has midday set meals for 11€ which seems a good price for a halfway good restaurant. Neighborhood restaurants are cheaper.

Of course, most restaurants offer Westernized food and it's somewhat hard to find dishes more challenging than fried rice ("arroz tres delicias") and beef with oyster sauce. Regional cuisines are very difficult to find since most Chinese immigration to Spain comes from a single county in Zhejiang.
posted by sukeban at 2:27 AM on August 12, 2015

I'm in Taipei, we just fed a house of 8 ppl for $25 USD, 7 stir-fry dishes (pork, chicken, fish, tofue, veggies) plus rice.
posted by askmehow at 5:54 AM on August 12, 2015

In Copenhagen, I checked the menu of a good and popular (but not very fancy) place in the city center - menus like the one you describe would be 30-35 USD pr. person, excluding drinks but including tips. Go to a more folksy neighborhood, and you pay half that price. Both places are always full, and always have lots of Chinese guests.
posted by mumimor at 9:26 AM on August 12, 2015

In London £20 will feed myself and my husband with mains and prawn crackers from our favourite local take away. We don't usually get any starters or sides because we order something called the Extra Value box which combines a meat dish with rice or noodles and that fills us up enough to sit on the couch feeling like we'll never be hungry again (although inevitably we pick at the prawn crackers an hour later).

Take away Chinese places seem much more popular here than in the U.S. Or at least compared to California where I grew up.
posted by like_neon at 4:51 AM on August 13, 2015

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