Why Chinese People Love Hot Water?

When you travel to China, you might surprising find that the restaurant only serve you with hot water, and cold water is provided only if you specifically order it. Why Chinese people are fond of hot water? Do Chinese people only drink hot water?

1.  Some people say that their parents taught them to drink hot water when having meals, because mixing cold liquids with hot meals is bad for the stomach. (Yes, Chinese meals are almost all warm also! Cold food like Salad is not commonly seen in Chinese dishes.)

2. Some other people may explain further into the “science” behind it, saying that cold liquids can solidify the food in your stomach, and that might lead to digestive problems, while on the contrary hot water is helpful for digestion.

3. Also, tap water in China is not edible, you need to boil it first to remove the harmful germs inside.

4. It is believed by Chinese people that when you are sick, drinking hot water helps you getting better. And for girls in their periods, Chinese people also think drinking hot / warm water will help them relieve.

Most people, though, will probably give you the same answer, whenever they see you feel uncomfortable :“喝热水对你的身体好!”(Hē rè shuǐ duì nǐ de shēntǐ hǎo, Drinking hot water is good for your health!)

However, as a foreigner from a country where doesn’t have the tradition of drinking warm water, not to mention 100 degrees boiling water, this “only-hot-water-is-available” situation might bother you. Therefor it’s crucial for you to learn the sentences below if you want to order cold water, or icy water in a Chinese restaurant.

1. 你好,我要一杯冷水。
   Nǐ hǎo, wǒ yào yībēi lěngshuǐ。
  (Hello, I want a cup of cold water.)

Or if you want icy water, you can change 冷水(lěngshuǐ, cold water)into 冰水(bīng shuǐ,icy water).

2. 这杯水太烫了。
     Zhè bēi shuǐ tài tàng le。
   (This cup of water is too hot.)

If they already served you with hot water, you can say this sentence to complain. 烫 (tàng, hot) refers to things that is too hot to touch, and your skin will feel painful if you touch it. For example if you happened to touch a pot on the stove, you can say 太烫了!(tài tàng le! Too hot! )

3. 请给我一杯温水。
     Qǐng gěi wǒ yībēi wēnshuǐ。
  (Pleas give me a cup of warm water.)

If the weather is cold, and you don’t want to drink cold water, neither boiling hot water, you can say this sentence to ask for a cup of warm water.

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