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Big Meal Scene 1

Stephen and Ashlie visit Chinatown to look for some cooking tips.

Do the Preparation task first. Then watch the video. Next go to Task and do the activity. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.


Before you watch

Think about the following questions:

  • What do you do to celebrate your birthday?
  • Do you enjoy eating unusual foods?
  • Do you like to cook?

Now, watch Stephen and Ashlie as they enjoy the taste of Chinatown.



Stephen: Hi there. This is China Town, right in the centre of London. This is one of London’s most exciting areas. The streets are full of Chinese shops, Chinese restaurants and markets.

Ashlie: It’s my birthday today and we have got some friends coming over to ours tonight for a special meal and Stephen has kindly agreed to cook us all some Chinese food.

Stephen: And hopefully today, I’ll be picking up some great cooking tips and some fresh ingredients.


Ashlie: Wow! This place is amazing. Look at this, Stephen. I don’t even know what half of this stuff is.

Stephen: Yeah - what do you think this is?

Ashlie: I don’t know, but I hope you’re getting some ideas for the meal tonight.

Stephen: Yeah, absolutely. I’m getting great ideas for tonight. Come on, I know a great restaurant that does really good Dim Sum.

Ashlie: Dim Sum. What’s Dim Sum?


Ashlie: This looks incredible. Is this what you’re planning to cook tonight, Stephen?

Stephen: Let’s go inside and try a few things.

Ashlie: Hmmm. I can’t wait to try some of these amazing dishes.

Stephen: Come on. Let’s see if it tastes as good as it looks.


Stephen: Wow. I’d love to know how they cook this stuff. Do you think they’d let me visit the kitchen? I’d love to meet the chef.

Ashlie: Let’s ask the waiter. Excuse me?

Waitress: Yes. Welcome to the Golden Harvest. Can I help you?

Ashlie: Everything is fabulous, in fact the food is excellent.

Waiter: Thank you.

Stephen: I wonder if you could do me a favour. I need some help.

Waiter: Yes, sure.

Stephen: I have to cook a special Chinese meal tonight and I was wondering if I could go to the kitchen and meet the chef. 

Waiter: Do you want to meet the chef?

Stephen: I wanted to ask the chef a few questions. You know - get a few tips on how to cook Chinese food.

Waiter: Ah, yes, sure. He’s very busy but let me see if he’s got the time to talk to you.

Stephen: Thank you very much indeed.


Stephen: Hello, thank you for seeing me.

Chef: How you do, Sir, thank you.

Stephen: I was wondering if you could give me a few quick tips on how to cook Chinese food.

Chef: Yeah, to cook Chinese food, one, you must have a very good chef.

Stephen: The chef is very important.

Chef: Very important.

Stephen: And number two?

Chef: And number two, the food must be fresh.

Stephen: Fresh ingredients.

Chef: Yes, fresh ingredients.

Stephen: And what are we going to cook today?

Chef: Today we’ll cook Kung fu lobster.     

Stephen: Kung fu lobster.


Stephen thinks: "A take away menu... this might come in handy later."


Stephen: That was great. Really interesting and a bit scary! I learned a lot and you know what? I’ve got a list of all the ingredients that I need for tonight’s meal.

Ashlie: Well, you have no excuses now. I’m expecting the perfect meal tonight. Come on, let’s finish the shopping. So you can get home and do the cooking.


Ashlie: So is that everything, then?

Stephen: Let me see, garlic, noodles, lobster, mushrooms - yep. That’s everything.

Ashlie: Except one thing.

Stephen: What’s that?

Ashlie: A chicken foot. 

Stephen: Ugh!



Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2


Hi everyone!

I usually celebrate my birthday with my family.
I like to eat at the restaurant (I like it because I mustn't wash the dishes before) but I like also stay at home.
I like cooking with my fiancè but not very much when I'm alone (I'm not very good as a chef, I prefer to eat).
I love tasting unusual food, expecially when I'm on vacancy. I'ts one of the best part of a travel.
In Italy there are very kind of restaurant (chinese, japanese, mexican, brasilian...) and I like it all :)

Hi there.
I prefer eating at home .Because at home prapere by me ,my self .I taht case i m sure that they are fresh new.But sometimes ,i also go to the restaurant
I our country Italy ,Georgian foods are popular.

Hello, Team.
Help me solve this problem, please.
1. "Stephen and Ashlie visit Chinatown looking for some cooking tips".
What is the reason you use Verb+ing form for 'looking for' instead of 'to look for' in the sentence?
As I've noticed that 'visit' is one of some verbs followed by 'to infinitive'.

2. Ashlie : ... Come on, Let's finish the shopping .....
'Finish' is one of verbs followed by Gerund ( 'Verb+ing' acts as a Noun). In this Ashlie's case, do we have to add the article 'the' or we could have omitted it?
Do you say :
- Let's finish singing
- Let's finish the singing
Would you like to explain, please?
Thank you in advance.

Hello Nizam,

As for 1, that's very observant of you! I think the idea here was that Stephen and Ashlie visit Chinatown while looking for some cooking tips, but it would clearer to use an infinitive form here. I will change that -- thanks for pointing this out!

As for 2, 'shopping' is a noun here. If 'the' were omitted, then it would be the -ing form used after the verb 'finish' (which is also the case with your example 'let's finish singing'). In this case, there is no real difference in meaning between 'finish the shopping' and 'finish shopping', but it's more common to use 'shopping' as a noun here. 'singing', however, is not a commonly used noun, so 'let's finish singing' is the best form to use.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I would love to eat in the restaurant now and then but i eat more at home because it's cheaper. In Romania we don't have so many different types of food because we don't have so many immigrants but you can find for example the turkish kebap.