When you visit a Chinese buffet with a group of people, you'll typically start making trips up to the buffet soon after you get to your table — and not stop until you're full. Not every Chinese establishment has this approach, though. At some restaurants, you'll order from a menu. As a way of starting a meal at this type of eatery, it can be fun to order a large serving of something that you'll share with your table. There are many options that can be enticing, so evaluate what the menu offers, take a quick poll of your dining partners, and then order something right away. Here are some types of Chinese food to consider sharing.
Dumplings are a popular choice on many buffets, but you can also order a serving of them to share with your table at the start of a sit-down Chinese restaurant meal. Typically, dumplings will come to your table in wooden baskets. Check the menu carefully to see how many dumplings are in each basket, as you may wish to order a couple of baskets to ensure that everyone gets a few dumplings. Chinese dumplings are available with different meats inside of them, including shrimp, chicken, and pork, and also come with dipping sauce that can be spicy or sweet.
If you're keen on ordering a starter that is a little on the lighter side, a plate of edamame can be a good choice. This dish, which consists of boiled soybeans that are typically lightly salted and left in their pods, can be a fun dish to share. Everyone can grab a pod, and then enjoy conversation while they open their pods to eat the beans. Other than some salt, edamame is often served plain. However, you'll occasionally find Chinese restaurants that offer deep-fried edamame or boiled edamame that is topped with a spicy sauce.
Chinese restaurants often include egg rolls with their meals, but there are other roll-style foods that you may wish to order to share with your table. One option is a plate of Chinese spring rolls, which are available in a few styles and are a good finger food to enjoy while you wait for your main courses to arrive. Choose a large plate of spring rolls to accommodate your table, and evaluate which dipping sauces are available. If your group is large, you might ask for two bowls of dipping sauce and place one on each side of the table.