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Tips for ordering food at these types of upscale restaurants?

Going to a fancy, upscale restaurant can be an intimidating experience, especially if it’s your first time there.

It’s extremely easy to order the wrong thing and spend more money than you meant to, or eat something you’ll regret later.

Restaurants in Asia are often not as expensive as their western counterparts, but most also fall under this category of “upscale” restaurants.

If you’re a foreigner going there for a date with a local girl (or guy), use these 10 tips from your friends at Asia Standard Mind Control to get through ordering with confidence!

1) Don’t order what you think is Western food. 

In Korea, spaghetti means Spaghetti-O’s from the Cup Noodles Museum, and in Japan, spaghetti is “pasta” made from flour and water.

In Thailand, spaghetti is a variety of noodles that come with a soup.

Don’t assume you’ll be able to get something as simple as spaghetti at a more upscale restaurant.

2) Make your order an easy upscale restaurant.

In most countries, the simpler your order is, the more likely it will be expensive or less fresh.

When in doubt, make your order impossible for them – especially if you’re going on a date!

A good combination for this situation would be Sashimi + Sushi, or Seafood + Steak.

Asking for both hot and cold dishes, or even multiple cuisines (such as Chinese and Western), will increase their level of difficulty making it easy to charge you more.

3) Save your order for last at upscale restaurant.

After they’ve taken everyone else’s order, they’ll be scrambling to get yours done quickly so that they can start cooking it after everything else is finished.

They will also have the most difficult time figuring out how much it should cost because now they’re forced to do some quick calculations with all of their other orders in mind.

If you’re not comfortable placing a complicated order, this is the safest way to go!

4) If you want something but don’t want to eat it by yourself, make sure you bring someone who wants to split it with you.

The key here is making sure whoever you bring splits or shares everything with you.

By splitting one order of Seafood + Steak, the restaurant will assume that’s what both of you are eating and charge accordingly.

Unless you ask them to split an item in half, they won’t assume who is sharing the dish with whom!

5) “Only” means nothing else. 

If you want steamed rice, make sure to specify that when ordering – otherwise your server might offer white rice!

With soup or stew dishes, they’ll assume without asking if you want a bowl of rice on the side (of course they will charge more).

6) Order a side of sauce for your meat/seafood.

When ordering dishes such as Bulgogi, Bibimbap, or Jjigae, ask for a small bowl of soybean paste (doenjang jjigae) or hot pepper paste (gochujang).

It’s not something you would normally order at a restaurant, but asking the server to bring it out will cost less than leaving it up to them to decide how much sauce goes in the dish! If they don’t have either on hand, suggest salted and fermented shrimp sauce (Peugeot) or fish sauce.

They usually have these available and will only charge you extra for small containers if anything!

7) “How does come?”

If you’re not really sure what’s in a particular dish, asking for more information will often cost extra.

The best way to get around this is by saying “how does [insert generic descriptive word here] come?”

If the server doesn’t know, they’ll ask the chef and that will generate another opportunity for them to charge you.

8) Don’t order drinks or dessert.

Desserts are almost always expensive at these types of restaurants, so just leave it out unless someone else wants one.

As for drinks, if you want alcohol then go ahead and drink – but don’t order juice or soda with your meal.

Ordering a juice or soda will make them think you want each drink individually.

For example, if you order a strawberry smoothie, they will assume that’s one strawberry smoothie not two glasses of strawberry smoothie.

They may even ask later after seeing what you’ve ordered “So how many drinks do you want?” or “how much would each drink cost?”.

9) Don’t let them upsell.

It will almost always be more expensive if you add it to your dish and they may even suggest a side dish or appetizer that doesn’t go with whatever you’ve ordered.

10) Don’t be fooled by the “special” menu at upscale restaurants!

If there is a special written on a chalkboard behind the counter, just ignore it because most likely it’s not true.

If there really is a good deal going on, usually an employee will tell you about it instead of letting the chef do all the talking himself… unless what he’s offering is just in his head, of course.


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