Student eating food in canteen


An international menu 

Authentic Chinese food. Sounds delicious? Sounds scary? Probably both! The Chinese food you might be used to back home is unlike the food you’ll experience here. Eating is a joyous occasion in China, a time for socialising with your new friends, sharing and enjoying your food. You’ll find endless food outlets across campus offering the broad spectrum of Chinese food. And, there are a few specialist cuisines too, including a halal canteen and a café for the international student community.

Food on campus

At the new Jan Nin campus there are two main canteens, plus a halal canteen and a special cafeteria in the international student accommodation complex.

The old campus in Nankai district has four canteens, four large Chinese restaurants and countless small independent traders selling snacks and drinks. There’s also a fruit, meat and vegetable market brimming with small businesses offering services like phone and computer repairs, dry cleaning and convenience supplies.

You won’t go hungry on campus, even on a student budget. The canteens are tasty and cheap, with typical meals costing around RMB 10, that’s less than a loaf of bread in Europe.

Need your fix of fries? We hear you. There are small western cafes on campus serving burgers, fries, sandwiches and coffee. These places are usually open until late. The new campus also has a few familiar brands including Subway and Gloria Jean’s Coffee, close to your accommodation.

What to expect from food in China

On both campuses, you’ll find Chinese food is the main offering, but it will probably be different to what you were expecting. Chinese food has eight main cuisines from different parts of the country, which vary significantly in flavour and style. Some of the most popular dishes include:

  • Kung Pao chicken – a dry stir-fry of spiced chicken and crunchy peanuts
  • Stir-fried egg and tomatoes – a hearty brunch dish of scrambled eggs and juicy sweet tomatoes
  • Yangzhou fried rice – the original version of the western “special fried rice” which includes egg, shrimp, sausage, spring onion and pieces of vegetable mixed into leftover rice and fried, traditionally eaten before dessert in Chinese feasts
  • Lanzhou beef lamian – hand pulled noodles in a flavoursome clear broth topped with shaved beef, Chinese radish slices, spring onion and red chilli oil.

So you know the names, and what’s in them, but how do you order? The good news is that most menus in China include a picture of each dish. So point away! Some of our students find taking a photo of their favourite meal makes it easier to ask for something again, if you can’t remember its name. So consider that your invitation to Instagram away at dinnertime.

Exploring food off campus

Tianjin is a highly developed region and you’ll find lots of familiar international brands if you want a taste of home. Joy City, one of the local malls, has a whole floor of restaurants including Italian, Japanese, American, Vietnamese and Thai restaurants. International food typically comes in at international prices and will be similar to what you’d pay back home. You’ll find the best value and experience by embracing local cuisine.

Aaron Hedjazi, UK
"Book a one-way flight. This opportunity has provided me with a new life that I've grown into. I want to stay in China." Aaron Hedjazi, UK
General, UK and China enquiries: +44 (0)1273 876 040 [email protected]
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