China’s 大众点评 (dazhong dianping, aka just 'Dianping) is equivalent, if not superior, to American site Yelp. In the past few years, what started solely as a directory of addresses and platform for user reviews evolved into a goldmine of outrageously cheap restaurant deals.
The app is only available in Chinese, but even if you're not so hot with characters, this step-by-step guide will see you through to the end. Read on to reap the benefits of Dianping food deals.
Step one: Install the app
Dianping is available for free on iOS and Android. Download and make sure your location services are turned on to search for restaurants nearby.
Step two: Find the restaurant you want
On the homepage, choose the tab '美食' (meishi). This is where you will find a list of available restaurants and cafés. By default, the restaurants with the highest ratings and closest to you will appear at the top.
Adjust the filters for distance/area, cuisine, ratings and price (respectively, from left to right in the image below) to narrow down your search.
Step three: Decide on the deal
There are three different types of deals. '买' (mai), ‘团’ (tuan), '券' (quan) indicated by orange and yellow boxes at the bottom of each listing.
Each of the deals works in a different way, which is explained below...
Step four: Choose a restaurant
Click into different listings to view more photos or skim the user reviews, '网友点评' (wangyou dianping).
Call the restaurant if you have any queries through the phone icon near the address. For some restaurants (but not all), Dianping offers in-app table booking.
Step five: Buy the deal (for 团 tuan and 券 quan)
After deciding what you want to eat, press the purchase button '限时抢购' (xianshi qianggou) at the bottom of the screen, that leads you to the confirmation screen. Check your order and pay, '确认支付' (queren zhifu) using Alipay, WeChat or directly through your bank card.
Step six: Use the deal
If you decided to use a discount at the restaurant directly, tell the server or cashier that you'll buy it through Dianping, go to the restaurant listing and click on the pay button, '买单' (mai dan). The server will tell you the amount (the initial price of your meal) to input and the app will show you the final discounted price to pay. Similarly, you can pay through Alipay, Wechat or your bank card.
If you purchased a coupon or voucher, you can find details of your order on this page. If you change your mind and want a refund, click on the button '申请退款' (shenqing tuikuan) below. Your money will be returned to your account. Take note of the expiry date, '有效期至' (youxiaoqi zhi) and use it at the restaurant before it expires. Show the server the barcode and coupon number to redeem it.
Dianping can be downloaded from the website for both Apple and Android devices.