Subway in Chinese – LTL’s Ultimate Guide to Ordering Your Favourite Sub

Subway in Chinese – LTL’s Ultimate Guide to Ordering Your Favourite Sub

You’re in China,  you’ve been eating noodles and dumplings (and lots of other yummy Chinese food) for a few weeks and maybe, just maybe you feel like you want to go get yourself a sandwich to break it up a bit.

But how do you order a subway in Chinese?

There are so many different options for bread, sandwich filling, salad and sauce.

Well have no fear, because we’ve got this great blog to teach you all the vocabulary you’ll need to order your favourite subway sandwich in Chinese.

Subway in Chinese

Step one is finding the restaurant. Subway in Chinese is:

Chinese Characters: 赛百味

Pinyin: sài bǎiwèi

Meaning: Literally this means “competition 100 flavours”, which I guess is relevant to subway and all their different options, but it’s mainly just a transliteration of the word in English. It’s meant to sound like the word “Subway”.

Remember the word for the restaurant is not a direct translation from the English. That would be 地铁 Dìtiě – if you ask for directions to this you’ll be pointed to the nearest metro/underground/tube station.

Once you’ve safely made it to your nearest subway restaurant, you can start ordering your sub. Here’s a video of how we did it:

Make sure to check out the vocabulary below to learn how to order your own favourite sandwich…

1. Bread in Chinese – Choose your Dough
2. Size in Chinese
3. Sandwich Filling in Chinese
4. Heat it up? ‘Jia Re Ma?’
5. Salad in Chinese
6. Sauces in Chinese
7. Paying Up

1. Bread in Chinese – Choose your Dough

The general word for bread in Chinese is:

面包  miàn bāo = bread, literally “flour bag”

However in subway, they have 4 different options for you to choose from:

bread in chinese

Honey Oat

Chinese Characters: 蜂蜜燕麦

Pinyin: fēng mì yàn mài

Meaning: literally ‘honey oat’


Chinese Characters: 全麦

Pinyin: quán mài

Meaning: ‘all/whole wheat’


Chinese Characters: 白面包

Pinyin: bái miàn bāo

Meaning: ‘white bread’

Parmesan Oregano

Chinese Characters: 香奶酪

Pinyin: xiāng nǎi lào

Meaning: ‘Fragrant Cheese’

2. Size in Chinese

So once you’ve decided which bread you’d like, you need to say which size you’d like. There are 2 ways of doing this, you can either go for a big/small, or you can specify 6/12 inch.

The server might ask you:


你要大的还是小的?Nǐ yào dà de háishì xiǎo de?

Do you want a big or small?




你要6寸的还是12寸的?Nǐ yào liù cùn de háishì shíèr cùn de?

Do you want a 6 inch or 12 inch?

To which you can reply one of the following:

Big in Chinese

Chinese Characters: 大的

Pinyin: dà de

Meaning: Big one

Small in Chinese

Chinese Characters: 小的

Pinyin: xiǎo de

Meaning: Small One

6 Inch

Chinese Characters: 6寸的

Pinyin: liù cùn de


Chinese Characters: 12寸的

Pinyin: shíèr cùn de

Learn more about traditional Chinese food and the 8 main cuisine types:

Chinese Food Culture – The 8 Chinese Cuisines and more!

3. Sandwich Filling in Chinese

Now this is the big decision:

你要吃什么?Nǐ yào chī shénme?


What do you want to eat?

Veggie Delight 

veggie delight in chinese

Chinese Characters: 缤纷蔬菜

Pinyin: Bīnfēn shūcài

Meaning: “Rich and Diverse Vegetables”

Ham in Chinese

ham in chinese

Chinese Characters: 西式火腿

Pinyin: Xīshì huǒtuǐ

Meaning: “Western Style Fire Leg”

Spicy Italian in Chinese 

spicy italian in chinese

Chinese Characters:


Pinyin: Yì shì sà lā mǐ bèi bèi luō ní

Meaning: ‘Italian style salami”

BLT in Chinese

blt in chinese

Chinese Characters:


Pinyin: Jīngdiǎn péigēn

Meaning: “Classic Bacon”

Italian Sausage in Chinese 

italian sausage in chinese

Chinese Characters: 意式香肠

Pinyin: Yì shì xiāngcháng

Meaning: “Italian Style Sausage”

Turkey Breast in Chinese 

turkey in chinese

Chinese Characters: 火鸡胸

Pinyin: Huǒ jīxiōng

Meaning: “Fire Chicken Breast”

Roasted Chicken in Chinese

roast chicken in chinese

Chinese Characters: 香嫩烤鸡排

Pinyin: Xiāng nèn kǎo jī pái

Meaning: “Fragrant tender roast chicken strips”

Chicken Teriyaki in Chinese 

chicken teriyaki in chinese

Chinese Characters: 照烧鸡

Pinyin:  Zhào shāo jī

Meaning: “Teriyaki Chicken”

Spicy Chicken 

spicy chicken in chinese

Chinese Characters: 川香麻辣鸡

Pinyin: Chuān xiāng málà jī

Meaning: “Sichuan Fragrant Spicy Chicken”

Italian BMT in Chinese

italian bmt in chinese

Chinese Characters: 意式经典  BMT

Pinyin: Yì shì jīngdiǎn BMT

Meaning: “Italian Style Classic BMT”

Roast Beef in Chinese

roast beef in chinese

Chinese Characters: 香烤牛肉

Pinyin: Xiāng kǎo niúròu 

Meaning: “Fragrant Roast Beef”

Tuna in Chinese

tuna in chinese

Chinese Characters: 金枪鱼

Pinyin: Jīnqiāngyú

Meaning: “Gold Rifle Fish”

Subway Melt in Chinese

subway melt in chinese

Chinese Characters:肉香满溢

Pinyin: “Ròu xiāng mǎn yì”

Meaning: “Meat Fragrant Overflowing”

Subway Club in Chinese 

subway club in chinese

Chinese Characters: 百味精选

Pinyin: Bǎiwèi jīng xuǎn

Meaning: “100 flavours  handpicked”

Black-Pepper Thick Cut Steak 

steak in chinese

Chinese Characters: 黑胡椒厚切牛排

Pinyin: Hēi hújiāo hòu qiè niúpái

Meaning: “Black pepper thick cut steak”

Remember to tell your server if you want cheese or not at this point too. In general they add it automatically, so for you vegans out there or cheese-haters, make sure to say:

不要奶酪 Bùyào nǎilào

I don’t want cheese

For some more international food options in China check out our eat your way around the world blog:

Living in Beijing – Around The World in Sanlitun

4. Heat it Up? “Jia re ma?”

The next stage is pretty simple, your server will ask you if you want your sandwich heated up:

要加热吗 yào jiā rè ma?- Do you want it heated?


要 yào –  yes

不要 bú yào –  no

5. Salad in Chinese

Now your sandwich is nicely toasted, it’s time to add your salad selection. In Chinese they call this section the “vegetables”, so your server might as you:

蔬菜都要吗? Shūcài dōu yào ma?

Do you want all the vegetables?


To which you can either reply:

要  yào = yes


Or you can list the vegetables that you do want:

Lettuce in Chinese

lettuce in chinese

Chinese Characters: 生菜

Pinyin: shēng cài

Meaning: “Raw Vegetable”

Tomato in Chinese

tomato in chinese

Chinese Characters: 西红柿

Pinyin: xī hóng shì

Meaning: “West Red Persimmon”

Cucumber in Chinese

cucumber in chinese

Chinese Characters: 黄瓜

Pinyin: huáng guā

Meaning: “Yellow Melon/Gourd”

Onion in Chinese

onion in chinese

Chinese Characters: 洋葱

Pinyin: yáng cōng

Meaning: “Ocean Onion”

Gherkin (Pickle) in Chinese

gherkin in chinese

Chinese Characters: 酸黄瓜

Pinyin: suān huáng guā

Meaning: “Sour Cucumber”

Green Pepper in Chinese

green pepper in chinese

Chinese Characters: 青椒

Pinyin: qīng jiāo

Meaning: “Green Pepper”

Olive in Chinese

olive in chinese

Chinese Characters: 黑橄榄

Pinyin: hēi gǎn lǎn

Meaning: “Black Olive”

Jalapenos in Chinese

jalapeno in chinese

Chinese Characters: 墨西哥辣椒

Pinyin: mò xī gē là jiāo

Meaning: “Mexican Spicy Pepper”

6. Sauces in Chinese

sauces in chinese

You can choose either 1 or a mixture of 2 sauces to put on your sandwich. This was the selection available at the subway we visited. We’ve got to be honest, we have no idea what sauce test 2 is, but if any brave soul wants to try it out, let us know!

The other options we’ve got for you below, along with a couple of extra options that might turn up in a subway near to you.

Mustard in Chinese

Chinese Characters: 黄芥末酱

Pinyin: huáng jiè mò jiàng

Meaning: ‘Yellow Mustard Sauce’

Ketchup in Chinese

Chinese Characters: 番茄酱

Pinyin: fān qié jiàng

Meaning: ‘Tomato Sauce’

Notice the word for tomato in ketchup is 番茄 rather than 西红柿 as we learnt above, this is another word for tomato. You would probably be understood if you said 西红柿酱 instead, but ketchup is more commonly called 番茄酱 in China.

Thousand Island in Chinese

Chinese Characters: 千岛酱

Pinyin: qiān dǎo jiàng

Meaning: “Thousand Island Sauce”

Honey Mustard in Chinese

Chinese Characters: 蜜汁芥末酱

Pinyin: mì zhī jiè mò jiàng

Meaning: “Honey Juice Mustard Sauce”

Mayonnaise in Chinese

Chinese Characters: 蛋黄酱

Pinyin: dàn huáng jiàng

Meaning: “Egg Yellow Sauce”

BBQ Sauce in Chinese

Chinese Characters: 烧烤酱

Pinyin: shāo kǎo jiàng

Meaning: BBQ Sauce

Spicy Mayo

Chinese Characters: 胡椒风味沙拉酱

Pinyin: hújiāo fēngwèi shālā jiàng

Meaning: “Pepper Style Salad Sauce”

Other Sauce Options

甜洋葱酱 tián yáng cōng jiàng – Sweet Onion

西南酱 xī nán jiàng – Southwest

Feeling adventurous? Have you ever tried a century egg?

What Are Century Eggs? And Should You Try Them?

7. Paying Up

Now your sandwich is ready, and you’re almost able to eat it. You just have to pay up first.

You might want to get a meal deal – 套餐 tàocān


Or just order a sandwich on its own – 单点三明治 dān diǎn sānmíngzhì

Nowadays it’s very common to use your phone to pay on wechat or alipay. You will either scan the shop’s QR code or they will scan you:

你扫我吗?Nǐ sǎo wǒ ma?


Will you scan me?

You might also want to know how to ask how much your sandwich costs:

多少钱 duōshǎo qián – How much money? 

If you need help with the numbers, check our blog all about them:

Chinese Numbers – The Ultimate Guide

Want more from LTL?

If you wish to hear more from LTL Mandarin School why not join our mailing list. We give plenty of handy information on learning Chinese, useful apps to learn the language and everything going on at our LTL schools! Sign up below and become part of our ever growing community!


Leave a Reply

You will get a reply from us
Your email address will not be published. Name and Email are required.