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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


What means "picking up " in " I'll be picking up some great cooking tips and some fresh ingredients. "?

Hi May Thida Su,

Pick up has several different meanings. Here, it means to 'gain' or 'obtain' something. :)


The LearnEnglish Team

Oh ! I like both, eating out in a restaurant and eating at home. In my country, Chinese food is the most popular food. Then Indian food is the second popular food in my country. I like Chinese food than Indian food.

Dear team,
In this section, I have some questions that I don't understand. The first one is what Ash said at 1:07 " I don't even know what half of this stuff is " and the second one is what Stephen said at 3:43 " ...... this might come in handy later " . I hope you'll reply my questions. Thanks a million Team.

Hello May Thida Su,

When Ash says that, she means she doesn't recognise a lot of the foods. She's surprised to learn there are foods she didn't know about.

When we say something comes in handy, it means we think it might help us.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

sometimes i prefer to eat outside , and we have Italian restaurants in my country

Well, thanks for the episode. I prefer having a good time eating at home.
In brazil we have a lot of italian restaurants. Their food is delicious!

I prefer to eat at home because it is just convenient and I feel more relax.
But I really enjoyed eating in the restaurant, with quality food and good service as well. I personally like French food.

I would like to meet a chef once and get hist best advice too. I also love to try new food and I also like to try new food at home and cook many things I don't even know how to cook. It is so interesting to learn about new food and to have something new to cook every day. I also love to go to a restaurant, but I prefer to cook my own meals.

I really like to try out foreign food, especially Chinese food. Don't get me wrong, I like Austrian food but its always a nice experience to taste things you didn't taste before. The downside is, that there is not really any Chinese grocery stores nearby so if I wanted to cook my own foreign food, then I would need to go and buy the things somewhere else. A multicultural city like London has an advantage for People who want to try out new things.