Just a fair warning though: not all HaiDiLao (HDL) outlets offer all of these hacks/codes, so if you’re looking to try them out at your favourite outlet it’s best to call ahead to avoid disappointment!
1. Free Magic Wand
Fancy yourself a magical fairy creature? Live out your Sailor Moon fantasies by saying “我是小仙女” (wǒ shì xiǎo xiān nǚ) , which translates to “I’m a fairy” and the staff will furnish you with a plastic pastel-coloured magic wand! Saying “小仙女来吃火锅了” (xiǎo xiān nǚ lái chī huǒ guō le)—“a fairy has come for hotpot” works too!
2. Free Soup Base Pack
The best part about dining at HDL is arguably getting to slurp up their delicious specialty soups, especially on a cold, rainy day. Get yourself one of HDL’s soup packs to take home for another round of hotpot with this secret code! Just say, “你家的汤底好好喝” (nǐ jiā de tāng dǐ hǎo hǎo hē); which means “your soup is very delicious” and get a pack of their soup base to take home! The exact soup flavours you’ll get varies with each outlet, but so far we’ve seen people walk away with tomato and shrimp flavoured soup packs.
3. Free Watermelon to Take Home
Image Credit: Luju Bar
Given that HDL always makes sure their fruits are fresh and at peak ripeness before serving them to customers, it’s no wonder why people would want more. If you’re a fan of their sweet watermelon, all you have to to is say is “你们的西瓜好甜啊” (nǐ mén de xī guā hǎo tián ā), which means “your watermelon is so sweet” in order to get free watermelon slices to take home! This cheat code works for other fruits too, just replace the word “西瓜” (xī guā) with any of your favourite fruits from HDL.
4. Free Rabbit Bag/Pudding
Forgot to bring a bag out? HDL has got you covered, just say “兔兔那么可爱怎么可以吃兔兔呢?” (tù tù nà me kě ài zěn me kě yǐ chī tù tù ne), which means “rabbits are so cute, how could you eat them?” and the staff will give you an adorable little rabbit-shaped purse!
Alternatively, this secret code also gets you a cute rabbit-shaped milk pudding! So much for not eating the cute rabbit, huh?
5. Free Birthday Celebration
HDL really likes its theatrics—from its noodle-pulling shows to exceptional service, they always go above and beyond. So it’s no surprise that a birthday celebration at HDL will be any less than spectacular should you choose to spend your special day at HDL.
All you have to do is tell them whose birthday it is: “今天我/我朋友的生日” ( jīn tiān shì wǒ/wǒ péng yǒu de shēng rì), which translates to “it’s my/my friend’s birthday today” and be prepared to be lavished with flashy LED sign boards, cake or fruit platters and even a birthday song to make it known to the entire restaurant that it’s your birthday.
6. Free Toys
If you have the mentality of a 5 year old stuck in an adult’s body, this secret code’s for you! Just say: “你看我像小朋友吗?” (nǐ kàn wǒ xiàng xiǎo péng yǒu má)—“Do I look like a kid to you?” or “我们这桌都是小朋友” (wǒ mén zhè zhuō dū shì xiǎo péng yǒu)—“We’re all kids here” and the staff will gift you adorable toys to play with!
7. Vouchers for a Free Dish
This is one you can do while queuing to enter HDL: play the game Tiao Yi Tiao on WeChat and stand a chance to win free dishes according to how many points you get!
Score more points to get more expensive HDL dishes for free:
200 points – 1x HaiDiLao styled noodles
600 points – 1x $6 free dish voucher
880 points – 1x $8 free dish voucher
8. Free Hair Ties & Blanket
Forgot to bring a hair tie? No problem! Keep that long mane of hair away from your face while you feast with HDL’s free hair ties! Just ask the servers for a handy hair tie, or say “我要绑头发” (wǒ yào bǎng tóu fa), which translates to “I want to tie my hair”. If you’re feeling a little chilly, feel free to let the servers know that you’re cold and they’ll be more than happy to provide you with a blanket to keep you warm! Unfortunately, you won’t be able to take the blanket home with you though, so no sneakily trying to stuff it in your bag as you leave!
9. Free Snacks
Even the snacks at HDL taste good, but you don’t have to worry about stuffing yourself when you’re already full—simply ask to take some of the snacks home with you! Just say “你家零食好好吃呀” (nǐ jiā líng shí hǎo hǎo chī yā), which means “your snacks are so tasty” and the friendly staff will gladly pack a bag full of snacks for you to bring home!
10. Free Cola Bear Float
This is one cute dessert you won’t want to miss—just ask for a “可乐熊” (kě lè xióng), which literally means “Cola Bear” and be presented with an icy Coca Cola Float with an adorable frozen Cola Bear on top! Be warned though, there are only limited numbers of the Cola Bear each day so you might not get one if you come too late in the day!
If all else fails and the staff at HDL don’t understand these secret codes, try asking what you want directly and they’ll most likely be more than happy to accommodate your requests!