How to Order Delivery in China

If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of Chinese-language only apps, you’re not alone – after all, many businesses have prospered just for this reason, such as NoGoGo, Baopals, and ShenzhenEat.But for apps and websites, as much as we love them, don’t offer all the special deals and plethora of hole-in-the-wall restaurants that China has to offer. If you’re ready to taste the spectrums of Chinese cuisine from your own home, then read on.

As of now, there are two popular take-out apps; E le ma (饿了吗) and Meituan (美团), the latter being the most popular among Chinese people. In this article, we’ll show you how to register and use the most popular food app in China. As you navigate through this Meituan, you’ll be surprised at its simplicity and how intuitive it feels.

Before registering an account, you will need to ready a few things: 
  1. Working Chinese phone number
  2. A bank card or WeChat pay
  3. Delivery address (in Chinese characters)

Step 1
Register an account

After downloading Meituan (美团) on your phone, follow these steps.

For now, navigate your way to the ‘Me’ section and tap the words ‘请点击登录’

Next, register at the top right ‘注册’ using your phone number (prompted to enter a verification code sent via text, then to set your password) or sign in through WeChat (click the green button for it to access your public info, then verify phone number).

At the very bottom, you will see ‘other methods’ for signing in such as using Weibo (China’s twitter) or QQ (like AOL messaging) or log into an existing Meituan account.

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Step 2
Enter additional information

Before you go looking around for food, you need to confirm your delivery address. This is a very important part of the process! If you get your address wrong, you’ll be receiving many calls from a lost, very upset and confused delivery person.

First, you will need to select the specific apartment complex, building or school you’re currently in (or want the food delivered to).

Once you have selected the building, you will need to specific your floor and apartment number (in Chinese!). For example, if you live in apartment complex 2 on the 31st floor in apartment F, you will need to enter “‘apartment building name’ 2栋31楼 F房”.  栋 (dong) is complex, 楼(lou) is floor, room is 房(fang) or office室 (shi) if needed.

If you get confused about address order, Chinese addresses are generally listed from broadest to most specific, with no spaces or commas in-between. For instance: [Province][City][District][Street name, number][Apartment complex name][Building number][Floor][Room number].

You can change your address anytime and save it. While ordering, you can also change the address before finalizing the pay.

Step 3
Choose a restaurant

 

Go back to the home page (首页) and select the yellow icon with a kangaroo on it to order delivery or 外卖(waimai). If you already entered your address, it should be visible at the top of your screen, and restaurants nearby will be the first to appear.  To switch or add a new address, click the current address at the top.

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From the delivery menu, you’ll have the choice of many things. For normal food order, you can select the top left option “美食.” Some of the many options include: 美团超市 (Supermarket), 新鲜果蔬 (fresh produce), 下午茶 (afternoon tea), 汉堡披萨 (hamburgers and pizza), and even 送药上门(medicine).

After selecting a category, you’ll be presented with an long list of options for you to choose from. To narrow down choices, trying using the filter tool shown below.

Step 4
Place your order

 

Once you’ve chosen a place, explore what they have to offer. Most restaurants will put their highest sellers at the top of the list.

You’ll need to fill the minimum order amount before you can check out. When you’re done, click the yellow button at the bottom right.

Step 5
Pay

 

For payment, either input your bank card or use WeChat Pay. Remember to double check your address before paying!

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After paying, sit back and wait for your delivery. Much like Uber and Didi, you can check the progress of your order and see the exact location of your delivery person and estimated time of arrival.

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