First World Problem - Chinese Restaurant Forced Sharing

Yes, first world problem. Annoying all the same.

Tonight My husband and I dined with 4 others t a Chinese restaurant. Several fried entrées ordered. A ridiculous dish of steamed bok choy in oyster sauce was ordered that was as much as main and 10% eaten.

I eschewed all fried entrees. I ordered a dish I thought I would like. And I did.

I liked it.

The problem is that every single person at the table noted that I did not eat the entrées. And that I did not eat any other dish. Not one bite.

The server seemed happy that something was delivered that I would eat and served me the rice. This distracted me.

My BIL said, oh this is the only dish you are going to eat? I said yes, I am excited because I AM HUNGRY, not one other thing appeals to me. So He digs in in. I think how chivalrous! NO!!!! He served himself, then his wife. I had been sitting there for 30 minutes while everyone else dug in and had ordered crap I did not want and that I paid for, via my husband.

I had third go at the dish. Not three goes. One go, after two others and not much. That was the last look in I got. I am a bit shocked.

So much food was left on the table. The only one finished was the one I ordered. For myself.

Everyone knew I would or could not eat anything else and they were happy to decimate my food.

I have literally come home and eaten food here.

Is this fair?

I remember during my first marriage, my inlaws would bring red and I'd bring sparkling. They would say something along the lines of oh well, we might as well drink this sparkling, then I would implore them to open and enjoy their red.

Afer one glass I would be left with nothing to drink.

They were happy to drink both sparkling and red and knowing that I would NOT drink red (at that time and at their choice level), they would drink mine first. Then drink their bottle alone.

I know this is petty, but I would like to have an idea on wwhat to say to people when they have so many choices that they have made (esp tonight) and I have one. I am still hungry. AND I paid. FFS.

closed Comments

  • +89 votes

    time for new friends.

    • +20 votes

      Step 1: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
      Step 2: Maccas takeaway for dinner
      Step 3: Find new inlaws/friends

      • +19 votes

        Get delivery hero app and meet them out the front.

        Or get a tshirt made up with all your yum cha rules clearly printed so people know what to expect from you. Then just point at the shirt with a condescending look every time someone steps out of line.

        • +4 votes

          Another option is to always wear one glove - there are quite a few glove deals on ozbargain atm - that way, people will know that you are willing to demand satisfaction and ready to duel at any moment over the smallest thing.

          Most will probably leave your your dim sims alone then.

    • +1 vote

      For the OP or rest of the family?

  • +94 votes

    Chinese restaurant forced sharing

    Kinda confusing, the restaurant didn't force you to share :P


    1) I wouldn't have paid for all of them, unless there was a prior arrangement, but that's just me!
    2) Hubby could have/should have stepped in, or maybe even ordered dishes you'd both eat, with the intention of both of you sharing
    3) You heard the dishes ordered in the first place, or even before that when they were picked from the menu. Why didn't you ask for an entree you'd eat?
    4) Given it's family, or at least hubby's family, you could've spoken up without too many repercussions. But without knowing your family dynamic, that's too hard to advise on.

    • +9 votes

      Ouch a neg :/ didn't think anything I said was worthy of that!


        What you said seemed valid to me….

      • +9 votes

        Heres a +, just to negate it and restore balance to the universe


      Yes, i do not eat certain things, so I would speak out, so no food is wasted —> main point

    • +2 votes

      We have a vegetarian in our group of friends. Whenever we eat out and share dishes we always make sure she grabs whatever she wants before anyone else touches the veg dishes. Just common courtesy really!

  • +2 votes

    Get new friends, or enforce the law.

  • +73 votes

    You just need to gain confidence.

    Tell people: I don't drink red, so I brought sparkling and I expect to drink more than a glass.

    Tell people: As nothing on this table appeals to me, I'm gonna order another plate of this and eat it by myself.

    Tell people: Whether you like it or not, that's what I'm gonna do.

    If they react too strongly, just keep your stance. If they hate you afterwards and don't want to see you anymore, good for you, you just got rid of selfish people.

    If your husband is mad at you, try to explain to him what you did to us. If he still doesn't get it, then you've gotta figure a solution I guess. Either shut up and smile or make a scene (I'd go for the second one obviously).

    I don't think it's his role to stand up and speak for you, but he should at least support you.


    • +13 votes

      This, so very much.

      OP, be assertive from the get-go. Make your intentions clear before or as you're ordering. Tell the people you're dining with that you'd rather choose and eat a meal to yourself as you don't like the look of any other dishes or entrees. It might sound or feel weird/uncomfortable the first time you step up and say this (afterall, no-one really likes feeling like the odd one out.. and you don't really want to make them feel offended in any way by telling them you want to do your own thing separately.. but hey, you do what you have to do).

      I've been used to doing that sort of thing in the past, but it was due to me being a vegetarian. Friends, family, parties/social gatherings at places where dishes would be shared meant that I had to let people know ahead that I'd be ordering my own thing and I hope they don't mind, etc. Never had a problem.

      TBH the people you dined with didn't sound very nice either. Shame about that steamed bok choy dish.. I love that stuff. Wouldn't have gone to waste with me. In shared dining situations nowadays, stupidly enough maybe, I tend to focus on and eat the dishes I notice that others aren't keen on (unless I really dislike it myself which is rare). I'd rather not have food go to waste when it's clear that it's going to happen, then to try and dig in and get as much of a popular dish as I can, which I can see is being enjoyed thoroughly by everyone else and there's a limited amount of it. Quite cruel and unfair that your BIL acknowledged that you'd wanted that dish for yourself but got stuck into it himself. But yeah.. poor communication I think. Just make a stand for yourself :) if they're so confident as to do what THEY want despite your preferences/needs, then you should feel even more empowered to be just as confident and say "no, this is what I'm doing, so hands off!" lol

      • +15 votes

        On second thoughts… the fact you never made it clear (at least by the sounds of the post) that you only wanted or could eat the one dish you ordered, might have led the other diners to assume that you were being the greedy one by only eating one of the dishes - a clearly tasty, popular dish too.

        They might have thought you were purposely leaving the inferior tasting dishes to them, no? Do you have dietary requirements which mean you can't eat certain foods/dishes, and if so, did they all know this for certain?

        Lack of communication could easily mean they have made incorrect assumptions about why you acted the way you did (in terms of only wanting to eat the one dish), and you've then made incorrect assumptions about why they chose to eat your dish despite your wishes (that they've done it out of intentional greed or just to spite you?).

        Probably best to step back and think about what factors there were in the situation before jumping straight to being offended or upset by a lack of chivalry or courtesy (chivalry is a ridiculous concept too, IMO, but anyway..).

      • +5 votes

        Solid post right up until …."make a scene (I'd go for the second one obviously)."

        …what are you - 6?

        so close tho…


      I like this post. I really want to be like this but I know I'm too much of a baby to do it, lol.


      Anyway, if OP is paying. OP should order and ask what the others want. When it becomes too much, ask "don't you guys think that is a little exccessive?" After getting a list of items the table wants OP can highlight that only her dish appeals to her, double check if they want extra. At least you will be able to claim the moral high ground here.

  • +13 votes

    Maybe a FFS should have been used while at the table?

  • +5 votes

    I have similar issues when we go to Yum Cha, they always insist on splitting the bill with people that ordered stuff they just wanted to try and then no one ate and those that bought alcohol etc. I now make it very clear that I am not part of no joint bill and I don't share my food.

    • +4 votes

      Yeah and when you know the others are choosing far more fancy/expensive dishes than you are yourself… and they expect an even split of the bill. Not cool.

      • +1 vote

        Yes I hate that. As someone who does not eat large amounts of food I often suffer by paying my equal share but ordering entre sized meals. Also I dont like to drink alcohol when it is expensive.

    • +2 votes

      "not part of no joint bill" That's a double negative meaning you actually are part of a joint bill. Not trying to be a pedant, just letting you know.

      • +5 votes

        Thank you for your valued contribution, I wrote it the way I'd say it on the fly, sorry if this caused you any discomfort.

  • +7 votes

    Let it go, life is too short. They sound like thoughtless, selfish people to me but you get that. If they are truly your friends and you value your friendship, accept that you may always pay more and move on. As for your in-laws, you are divorced so this drink sharing was some time ago I am guessing, let that go too.

    In future, be straight up that you don't like a lot on the menu so you will order a meal for yourself and perhaps if it appeals to everyone order two. As for your drink issue, take piccolo's only a glass and a bit in each bottle.

    • -10 votes

      Yes, the outlaws were awhile back but were just an example of how thoughtless some people are. It is basically the same thing, people saying 'oh that is the only thing u will eat, I'll have more than a fair shareof then'. If people were ignorant of the fact that I would not eat anything else, it would forgivable, but when they all comment in it Snd then take my foodie is obnoxious.

      When you are at a Chinese restaurBt snd they have a turntable and serve the fishes billy willy as if everyone should share it makes it difficult.

      • +4 votes

        If you did not want to eat that food then you should have ordered some other dishes that you would eat? Why would you order only one dish that you would eat?

  • +6 votes

    I have decided that I should have ordered a second dish.of the same thing That I will not eat shared style with these people if possible ( but it seems universal) . I hate to seem like a petty pig but feel people are so greedy.

    • +9 votes

      people are greedy, even on OzB. Deals get posted eg 1: $2 PS3 games and some people end up buying 20+ games to resell rather then letting others to buy. eg 2: someone provides a comment advising of a deal, and another OzB person lists the bargain as a new post and does not refer to original comment/ or even thanks the original person. Next time be clear you are not splitting the bill and buy/eat as much/or as little as you want :-)


      Exactly what I was going to say. Just order a second (third or fourth) dish of the same thing until you are satisfied you have eaten enough OR never go eat out with such people.

  • +1 vote

    "Pilo" above is exactly right. You should have communicated your concerns with them at the time; not quietly seethed away/got hungry, and then vented to a bunch of strangers on the net after the fact. So anyways, now you know for next time to simply say:

    "I'm going to order xyz but I'm going to eat it myself, because I'm not into anything you guys are ordering to share. So if anyone else also feels like some xyz, you guys should order another one to share."

    Problem solved.

    • +11 votes

      Too wordy. You don't have to make excuses, just say "I'm grabbing XYZ for myself, should I get another to share?"

  • +1 vote

    There are 7 billions of us and everyone is difference, a lot is greedy and selfish but there are also a lot of good ones, you have to learn to accept that each of them are difference, else, you just make yourself angry. If I am you, I will order more dish that I like and make sure I go home full and happy since I pay part of the bill.

  • +1 vote

    No, it's not; but if it's a big deal, say so.

    When I go to a Chinese restaurant (or any other such place with sharing), I tell people outright that I won't eat meat and I'll usually pay for my own meal.


      Same here except I don't eat seafood….. But I usually eat with people who either pay for themselves or take turns in paying for meals….

  • +34 votes

    Was anyone actually greedy or did they just take their share of a tasty dish during a Chinese banquet-style family meal?

    Why couldnt you eat anything else? Is there a health reason you can explain to the family/friends? If there is, when the dish finishes and you are still hungry, they will likely understand if you ask to order more.

    If there isnt, I'd agree with getting two of your special dish - but keep both on the table, on opposite ends, so you have a better chance of getting to it. Also announce why you have ordered multiples - this is your favourite dish and you want everyone to enjoy it too. Do ask how people are enjoying it and if they really do enjoy it, then it's an excuse to order more.

    The Chinese dinner table is where we learn to share and consider others - get food for others, get their rice, fill their tea, take your share only, don't be selfish, don't be greedy, don't take the last piece because someone else should have it more than you!

    Try teaching with positive example and frame your needs in a positive and inclusive way.

  • +11 votes

    The whole post is bit hard to read/understand.

    Was there an agreement on who was to pay before anyone ordered? Doesn't seem like you were forced to share anything, but that your husband offered to pay for a meal for family.

    • +11 votes

      TL;DR OP doesn't like to share and overly picky on what she drinks/eats, been like that her whole life. Went out to a group share meal and GASP had to share. People ate something she wanted.

      OP should have just ordered more food she liked to eat and move on.

  • +2 votes

    So much food left on the table? Im my household thats considered a sin. You dont order so much food you cant finish.


      Good to know.

  • +36 votes

    Rename the title to "First World Problem - My friends ate my Chinese dish I ordered for myself"

    I thought the six of you were forced to share a table for twelve people. They always do that at Yum Cha!

    It's fair they dug into your dish. The dishes are to be shared. That's how Chinese restaurants work. Tough luck you didn't like their dishes. Next time just sneeze into your favourite dish to end it once and for all.

    • +7 votes

      the old sneeze trick never fails :)

    • +1 vote

      Or order a soup - that's impossible to share : )

  • +9 votes

    Whenever I go to a Chinse restaurant with people (and in China which I travel to often) there is an assumption that everything on the table is going to be shared, unless someone specifically says otherwise.

    I don't think anyone would have a problem if you say something like "I only want to eat X, so am going to order one for myself, but I can order another one for the table if other people would like to have some as well"

    And don't get me started on wastage - when in China they always order 4x as much food as is needed (I was always brought up not to waste anything)

    • +5 votes

      when in China they always order 4x as much food as is needed

      From what I've heard, it's apparently a common thing now to show how wealthy you are. So "rich" wastage isn't a problem. Where do they come up with BS ideas

      • +4 votes

        Yes, and if you finish something (or only leave a little bit) they will always order another one even if you say no (apparently if you finish something it shows that your host did not provide enough).

      • +3 votes

        It really is just a culture thing and can be said for other people from other cultures. Putting beetroots on hamburgers can be outrageous to Americans or spreading Vegemite all over your bread looks like spreading shit all over your bread.

      • +2 votes

        It's funny to think that this is for showing how wealthy they are. It's just because they want to serve their guest a best dinner. Even the poorest Chinese would provide you as many the best foods they can if he regards you as a friend. "Rich" waste , it is a problem! But 'the idea' you heard is a much bigger problem.

  • +2 votes

    I will be upfront to the group I do not like deep fried and prefer something mild during order time.
    Order yourself a dish of veggies topped with bamboo fungus One of the more expensive vegetarian dishes.
    This may balance out!

    I would actually invite everyone dig into the dish. If they are your real friends, they would be mindful this is your dish or share only a bit.
    If they all dig in a lot, then say politely after. " since everyone like this dish, how about we order another one." Most friends would not say no, or do not mind, go ahead. If any mean person says no. i will be a bit more assertive " No worry, I will pay for this dish on my own since I do not eat other dishes."

  • +15 votes

    You must be a very fussy person.
    Just tell everyone at the start that you are fussy, and say that you will just order for yourself. No one will care.

  • +5 votes

    Don't be so fussy.


    Your friends sound like assholes, they shouldn't charge you for things you aren't going to eat..


    You just need to have firm boundaries OP…I stipulate (very clearly from the outset) different rules for different groups when socialising. Good reasonable people, I'm happy to split bills evenly…when I know it's greedy asshats, then I'm eating à la carte!

    You could also try telling the group that you have hepatitis, your personal meal will be very safe!!! ;)

  • +2 votes

    Take your own doggy bag.
    Deploy at the start of the meal.
    Eat your chosen dish (daintily, of course) from the bag in your lap.
    Occasionally growl like a dog with a bone.
    Savour your meal and the expressions on the faces of the other diners present.

    Take the remainder of your food home to your actual doggy.
    Or kitty.
    Or, if dish is vegetarian, to someone like this

    Post triumphant postprandial post on OzBargain.

    P.S. If, indeed, someone like this, open an Instagram account and see suckers like me watch every video that gets posted!

    • +1 vote

      That rabbit is spectacular.

      It took me a while to realise it was a rabbit.. and I've got two of my own o_O

      It looks like a poodle crossed with.. some.. things lol.


        An Angora, given regular 'snippies' as the owner calls them.

        I'm usually irritated by Instagrammers that post more than once, every single day.
        An exception, in this case. V.cute.

  • +24 votes

    Fussy eater shouldn't eat in a group. Same goes to people who can only eat tiny bit of food. Dining should be a happy event where you stuff yourself silly with food and have great conversation. Not counting your calories or the percentage of food eaten by yourself so you only pay for exactly your share.End of discussion.

  • +6 votes

    it's your problem, nothing to do with restaurant

  • +5 votes

    The OzBargain forums have turned into OzWhinge lately…

  • +12 votes

    I thought it was going to be "Chinese restaurant made us share a table with strangers even though we booked and told them we were celebrating our anniversary"

    Actually, what you should have done is ordered a 2nd serving of the only dished that you ate and marking your territory by double dipping into it.

    Eat it all and then to make your point, order a 3rd serving of the same dish, take a small bite of it, and then place it back to the centre of the table.

  • +14 votes

    "I remember during my first marriage"

    How many marriages have your FWP's cost you thus far? :)

    Did you go in to the situation clearly stating your preference? i.e. Hey everyone, I'm going to order a separate meal for myself….

    If not, then perhaps please consider doing so in future.

  • +21 votes

    Sorry but i had so much trouble understanding the post..

    you ate with 4 others, strangers? then server comes in? so you ate with the server? wtf? then you had a BIL there? then BIL has a wife? whos BIL? but you had your husband there? but your husband was also the one dug into the food and didnt leave you with any? but your husband paid not you so why you angry. And then you said you had 3rd go at your fish and youre shocked for being the 3rd? what if youre the 2nd?

    Sorry but this is confusing

    • +4 votes

      BIL = Brother in Law

      So He digs in in. I think how chivalrous! NO!!!! He served himself, then his wife

      How dare your BIL not serve you. Were you even angry at him or envious that your husband wasn't being chivalrous towards you?

  • +79 votes

    You sound a little passive aggressive. And self-centred. You obviously don't know that Chinese (and most, if not all, Asian cultures) have a banquet/sharing type of way of eating.

    Next time, don't go out to dinner. Or, pick one where individual dishes are served.

    Sure, you didn't eat as much as the others but you're an adult. Nobody should have to pander to your needs and spend their time making sure you're having a great night or that you're properly fed.

    I don't know the entire story as to why you went out to dinner (maybe someone's birthday or a catchup with people you haven't seen in awhile) but whatever the reason, I think maybe you might've missed the point of dinner - spending time with family/friends. Having a conversation and laughing and being happy. Instead I think you ended up 'hangry' because you were too busy counting how many spoonfuls of each dish everyone else had. Maybe you didn't want to be there in the first place?

    • +12 votes

      This. x1000

    • +4 votes

      Nailed it.



    • +3 votes

      Perfect reply.

      I think OP needs to be less picky about food and drinks…

    • +4 votes

      Thanks for being the voice of sanity, I can't believe it took so long in the discussion for me to find someone who understands.

    • -1 vote

      well without she say anything about her gender i could tell its a lady post!

      • +2 votes

        Well, that and "My Husband and I dined with…" at the start ;).

  • +17 votes

    Next time, just lose your shit completely. They'll get the message and it'll be a fun topic of conversation at get togethers for years………if anyone bothers coming again!

    • +4 votes

      Stand up, flip the table over so no-one gets anything then storm out. If you can't get anything then noone can. Problem Solvered.

  • -1 vote

    Lesson learned, put it down to experience and dont ever eat with those people again. It's just plain rude.
    I have been to the same type of restaurant probably a hundred times in my life. With family or friends we are aware of who ordered what and ask each other who prefers what. Only takes a moment. Most of the time it's "dont care, order a mix and we'll just share", but sometimes someone mentions they want all or mostly one dish and we then leave that for that person so they enjoy their meal too. It's only fair and poliite, especially to friends and famiily.

    I've also been to the same type of restaurant about 20 times with work colleagues - that is where I see for certain people that my dog at the dinner table would be more courteous and polite! Certain people show their true colours, just like you describe, especially when someone else is paying (i.e. work in this case or you in your case).

    Sorry for you that you have such relatives! But I think we all do, maybe just not as many in one place!

  • +12 votes

    What's up with the click bate title? Does OP work for buzzfeed or something? Might as well have changed it to "Discovered one food that won't be left untouched in a Chinese restaurant, OzBargainer's will never believe what it is, restaurant owners hate it."…

    Jokes aside, couldn't you have just ordered another serving?

  • +1 vote

    My family shares food, when my mrs first started eating with them I/she would order a dish for her and when it came, it was grabbed and placed in front of her. In this situation this is what you need to do

    She is more adventurous now and will pretty much try anything.

    Her family is a bunch of vultures, especially her dad. Im amazed I haven't elbowed someone in that family yet. E.g I make pork roast with crackling, you will get torn a new one if you hog it all and if you only take crackling and no pork, you just forfeited all of it to me.

    In the case of the wine, ask if you can stick it in the fridge, find a somewhat hidden place for it like laying down. When you need a refill, take your glass to the fridge and fill it. Casually doing this would be key

    Im surprized you have gotten this far being a picky and haven't found an etiquette. Honestly the best thing you could do is learn to eat everything (apart from allergens)

  • +7 votes

    If op hadn't been clear she wanted the whole dish to herself, can't fully blame it on the others. It's a Chinese restaurant - putting dishes in the middle and sharing it is how one eats in such type of venues. If you don't want to follow customs, would have to explicitly say so.
    If you're a picky eater you need to start being up front to others about your needs. It sounds like you expect others to know your wants and cater to you based on a few offhand comments. E.g, telling in-laws you don't drink red wine and imploring them to open the red bottle, it's just too roundabout. Could've just been direct and said you want half a bottle of your own wine for yourself.


    Bring your own chop sticks it saves money ok

  • +6 votes

    Don't go to chinese restaurants, the whole concept is sharing. You're in the wrong place.


    Should have ordered ten of your dishes and then when they all came out been like "I just wanted to be like you guys and have a large amount of my food uneaten, let's split that bill ay" :P.

  • +1 vote

    nothing to do with chinese restaurant force sharing but just ppl u dine with

  • +5 votes

    The title is misleading and unfair to the mysterious restaurant.

  • +3 votes

    Next time you are out with friends and family just sit alone and dine by yourself?


    8year olds solved this common dilemma by licking their food so no one else would touch it. You could always just pretend sneeze all over your own special dish. If that's what it takes, then that's what it takes!

  • +22 votes

    "I remember during my first marriage…. "

    i see a third marriage on the horizon for you…

    • +2 votes

      I think this is her third…not that it has anything to do with this post.

  • +2 votes

    nice poem

  • +7 votes

    Coming from a Chinese background, whenever we go out to eat with family/friends at a Chinese restaurant it always ends the same - a race between who can grab the bill first, run it up to the counter and pay for the whole table lol.

    Or the old "going to the bathroom" trick and coming back having already paid the bill. Sneaky sneaky.

    • +1 vote

      It's not just Chinese people that do this btw, luckily my arms are longer than my father in laws when handing cash over the counter.

  • +2 votes

    Ordering food is an artform. It takes practice and mastery before one creates the perfect order. When one is sitting amongst idiots that cant order, one must assert certain items on menu and ignore the idiots requests.

    Plus your husband planned to pay, its his decision to decide what to order. Others may suggests but he ultimately decides.

  • +1 vote

    your hubby is a pushover..shoulda stand up for you, and ordered what you can eat.. :P

  • +11 votes

    Some of these forum posts of late are really unintentionally funny.

    This one and the pizza voucher guy have given me some good chuckles, so has the cafe with no prices and the just jeans fiasco - not to mention the dude who hates to shower and thinks pulled beef is a scam.

    I for one hope such people keep up their pedantic ways, childish behaviour, grandiose sense of entitlement and inability to admit error…and above all continue to post on ozbargain seeking afffirmation !

    • -1 vote

      The problem is that in Westernized countries we no longer have a strong sense of community or a common religion to bind people together, and without this community focus we become egoistic, entitled, eccentric and thin skinned. I have no idea how to fix this though. Progressivism seems to be impossible to reverse.

      • +1 vote

        Can't tell if that's a troll post or not..


      A some of the posts you are talking about are troll posts.


    Setting boundaries usually works for me. Like:

    'I only drink white, do you mind if you start with your red.'


    'I'm only interested in this meal.'

    The only people who ignore me are drunk, but I know I can be oblivious occasionally and I’m out to have a good time so I try to be generous and ignore it.

  • +2 votes

    Have you considered broadening your palate OP? If that fails you could cry more? Or throw a tantrum in the restaurant? Don't they know big girls get to order their own dishes?


    Firstly a Chinese restaurant with too much fried entrée = not a real chinese restaurant. Maybe don't go there again next time. Yum cha is an exception.

    When it comes to sharing a table at an Asian place, it is an art to eat together peacefully with everyone leaving satisfied. This comes with lots of experience over many years. By that I mean learning how to stand up to order what you like and eating what others like gracefully.


    Honestly did you ever want to even go out dining with this people at the first place ?
    something doesn't seem right - its not just about the food is it ?