"Have you eaten?" (你吃了/吃了吗/吃饭没有 etc) sounds like a Chinese equivalent of "how are you?". However, I don't know what is the correct way to respond to the question.

What do Chinese people expect me to answer when they ask it? Should I just answer it literally?

I first thought they ask me to go in lunch together. But it is definitely not true... So if they want to ask me out, do they use a different approach or do I have to discern if they ask me out or just use the phrase as a greeting?

  • it is same as following classic English dialog: A: How are you? B: Fine, and you? A: Fine too. ^_^ . Aug 16, 2017 at 9:28
  • Till this day, I still don't know the proper reaction to reply the greeting of "How are you doing?" Some people reply "Good" and stop the conversation, some just totally ignore this question and start their other topics like it's never asked and some actually reply with the same words. So maybe you could simply treat "你吃飯了沒" as the same circumstance of "How are you doing."
    – pigtail
    Feb 4, 2022 at 1:36

2 Answers 2


You can just answer it literally. Usually, I will response: 吃过了(or 还没有),你呢?

If people want to ask you out, they will go further with additional questions/requests: 我们一起去吃饭吧?

  1. "吃了, 今天天气不错啊" / "吃过了, 你听说..." / "吃了, 真热啊"

(I'm so starving, since we won't eat together, let's finish this topic and switch to whatever)

  1. "没吃呢, 你吃了吗?",

(I can't eat anymore, but I like to go out, let me ask it too to comfirm you was inviting me, if you response "我也没吃", deal. If you start to bullshit, that was just a greeting.)

  1. "没吃呢, 待会儿吃"

(I am starving again, but piss off, I won't go out with you.)

  1. "没吃呢, 不知道吃什么."

(I'm full, but I like you, I wish you can introduce an restaurant, so we can go out.)

  1. "对付一口"

(Just put something in my stomach, I don't like guessing )

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