How do you say "Asian fast food restaurant using Chinese frying pan" in English?

It is a kind of restaurant where you can eat cheap food from frying pan, prepared in front of you.

The Polish word for this is "chińczyk".

  • 1
    It's generally called "stir fry".
    – user264
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 12:02
  • 1
    In English, you don't say "Asian fast food restaurant from frying pan"; do you mean "Asian fast food restaurant using frying pans"? I am not sure there is a two-word phrase to say that in English.
    – avpaderno
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 12:04
  • Sure my mistake with "from" :)
    – Chameleon
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 12:05
  • 1
    It appears that "chińczyk" in Polish is very similiar to "čínský" in Czech, which is a term for anything (not just food) that is Chinese. The most general term I can think of for Chinese food cooked in a wok is "stir-fry".
    – Walter
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 12:14
  • Does it literally mean "Chinese person" in Polish? en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Chińczyk
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 12:27

2 Answers 2


Your "Chinese frying pan" is called a wok. (I have no idea whether that is an actual word in any dialect of Chinese or an Anglicism.) It is a well known term in the US today, and is very frequently used in the names of restaurants providing East Asian cuisine, especially Chinese cuisine.

In the first half of the last century you frequently encountered Chop suey joints, but the (vaguely) Chinese dishes which were then popular - chop suey, chow mein, St. Paul sandwich - are relatively rare now, and the expression is now little used.

Bill Franke's stir fry is widely used, but I've never seen it applied to the establishment - you'd have to say stir fry joint or stir fry place or something of the sort.

If the Polish expression is purely colloquial, I'd say your best bet for translating it would be Chinese carryout - or, as appropriate, Thai carryout or Indonesian carryout or whatever. These may be applied to either the cuisine or the establishment providing it.

If the wok is an integral part of the Polish expression, you're going to have to resort to coining a new term. I'd suggest wokery, which I think would be understood.

  • Yes, it is "Chinese frying pan" = "wok". I think that "carryout" has some potential. We use "chińczyk" for "Vietnamese carryout" what is invalid since it is not Chinese (directly "chińczyk") whatever it is very often use. Wok is used in Polish "wok" but not integral part of "chińczyk" == "Chinese".
    – Chameleon
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 12:12
  • @Chameleon In English, too, Chinese carryout has a generic sense; but I think that's mostly because it is only very recently that non-Chinese East Asian cuisine has become generally available in the US. A variety of Chinese cuisines have been available here since at least the 60s, but not in fast-food joints, where the menu is very stereotyped. Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 12:18
  • BTW Not sure about carryout (since it is not takeaway - you could eat it on site).
    – Chameleon
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 12:20
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    @Chameleon You can eat onsite at most "carryouts", too - there are usually four to eight tables - but few people do. "Cheap" and "fast" are not really compatible with the fine dining experience. But they are compatible with "good"! Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 12:26
  • Thanks for help and clarification. I will avoid fast. In Poland "cheap" has better relation to "good" that is why I am used it.
    – Chameleon
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 13:36

In UK English, especially casual use, we just say "a chinese" Eg "I can't be bothered to cook tonight, I'm just going to get a chinese instead." More formally a "chinese restaurant" or "chinese takeaway" - the latter can be used for the building or the food. Some takeaways include some seating, and many restaurants offer a takeaway service, so the categories do overlap.

The use of "chinese" is not common in US English - there was some shock in the US when a UK comedy programme included the expression "I could murder a chinese" meaning "I could eat a lot of chinese food very quickly" was misunderstood and taken literally.

"Chinese carryout", while easy for a UK speaker to understand, is not a common expression in UK English.

  • "Carryout" (AmE) = "takeaway" (BrE)
    – Adeptus
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 7:13

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