Chinese cuisines are one of the top cuisines worldwide. They are consumed and enjoyed by people from every part of the globe. Chinese foods have great nutritional values and provide all the essential nutrients needed by the human body to run and function properly.
China is a country of diverse cultures, and so are its foods. So, if you are also visiting China sometime soon and looking for the best options and foods to explore and excite your tastebuds with, then you have landed in the right place. Here, in this comprehensive article, we will be discussing the ten most popular foods in China and delicious specialties for you to try and enjoy, along with some other interesting information and facts about Chinese cuisines.
So without wasting a minute further. Let’s get started!!
What is the famous dish in China?
The food served in China is authentic and different from the foods served, in other nations, as the food here is thoughtful, delicate, and packed with delightful flavors. Some popular Chinese foods that you should try on your visit to China are; Peking Duck, Dim Sum, Sichuan Hot Pot, Xiaolongbao, Biang Biang Noodles, Hot & Sour Soup, Szechwan Chilli Chicken, Spring Rolls, Stir-Fried Tofu with Rice, Shitake Fried Rice with Water Chestnuts, Chicken Chestnut, Honey Chilli Potato, Wok Tossed Veggies in Honey & Black Bean Glaze, Peri Peri Chicken Satay, and many more.
How is food served in China?
In China, drinks and cold dishes will be first served, followed by hot dishes. Soup is served in China at the end of the meal, and after that, restaurants serve complimentary fruits as desserts. The majorly used eating utensils in China are; chopsticks of solid foods and ceramics spoons for congees and soups.
The cold dish is considered the first meal of Chinese cuisine and is served to provoke the appetite of people. The hot dishes are considered as the main course and are cooked using unique & old Chinese cooking techniques. Soups & congee (a kind of porridge) is served at last as it is considered good for digestion.
Keep reading below to know about some popular Chinese foods.
Top 10 Chinese dishes:-
- Ma Po Tofu- Ma Po Tofu, a scrumptious dish, is one of the most popular Chinese foods. This classic dish of the Sichuan Province of China got its first name ‘Ma Po’ from the poker-marked grandma, who lived during the Qing Dynasty and who created this delicacy. This delicacy consists of tofu, beef, Sichuan pepper, chili oil, rice wine, soy sauce, scallions, doubanjiang, ginger, garlic, corn starch for thickening, and thick bean paste. It is an exotic, flavourful, spicy, mumbling hot, tender, and aromatic dish that you should try for sure on your visit to China.
- Spring Rolls- These are considered traditional snacks of China. Spring Rolls consists of thin dough sheets and filling of ingredients such as shrimp, diced tofu, cabbage, eggs, pork, mushrooms, carrot, cabbage, spring onions, peanuts, bean paste, bamboo shoots, and many more. After putting in the filling, it is rolled out and deep or shallow-fried in oil until they turn crispy and golden-brown. This snack is a houseful of flavors and is served as an appetizer with dips, tea, and coffee. It is enjoyed by both locals and tourists and is rich in fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. This popular Chinese food is mostly found in the South China provinces.
- Fried Rice- Fried rice is a popular Chinese food that is usually prepared in vegetable oil, palm oil, and peanut oil, using rice, eggs, and vegetables such as carrots, onions, peas, and mushrooms. At some restaurants, shrimp, meat pieces, scallions, sea cucumber, and Chinese ham are also included in a bowl of fried rice. This is a simple, classic, and flavourful dish that will bombard your taste palette with flavors.
- Kung Pao Chicken- Kung Pao Chicken, is another classic dish belonging to the Sichuan province. This dish is stir-fried and includes diced chicken pieces, vegetables, Sichuan pepper, peanuts, chicken stock, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and cornflour. This tender & mouth-watering chicken dish is so flavourful that it will make you go crazy. The marinated layer of cornstarch and soy adds amazing flavors to chicken and also protects it from overcooking. The chicken is then fried in hot oil until it turns out golden, and then the chicken pieces are perfectly covered in the sauce. The sauce of this dish is made of ingredients such as; chicken stock/broth, Chinese wine, Chinese black vinegar, hoisin sauce, and light or dark soy sauce.
- Sweet & Sour Pork- Sweet & Sour Pork is a traditional Chinese cuisine that has its roots back in the 18th century. This traditional Chinese New Year’s meal is consists of chunks of pork coated in a batter and deep-fried until they turn crispy from outside and remain tender from inside. The fried pork pieces are then mixed with a bright red sweet & sour sauce that has a sticky texture, and veggies such as onions, carrots, and green pepper. This is one of the most popular foods in China and has an irresistible taste that will take your palette on a roller-coaster ride of flavors.
- Hot Pot- Hot Pot is a traditional and popular Chinese food prepared by following a special cooking technique. It is also known as a steamboat that consists of stew-like or soup-like dishes using East Asian ingredients such as mushrooms, udon, dumplings, sliced meat, potatoes, tofu, leafy vegetables, seafood, and many more ingredients. The Hot Pot is prepared over a simmering pot of soup stock placed at the dining table. It is also served with a dipping sauce at the side. Some most popular places in China that serve you the best Hot Pot are; Chengdu Huangcheng Laoma in Chengdu, Lao Ma Tou in Chengdu, Dong Lai Shun in Beijing, Little Sheep in Beijing, Shu Jiu Xiang Hot Pot in Chengdu, and Li Xuan in Chengdu.
- Dumplings- Dumplings, one of the most popular Chinese foods, are also known as Pot Sticker. This dish has a filling inside a wrapper that is usually steamed, boiled, shallow, or deep-fried and was originally originated in China. The wrapper is usually made up of wheat flour dough, and the fillings consist of pork, cabbage, ginger, onion, sugar, soy sauce, rice, vermicelli, bean sprouts, nuts, dates, walnuts, and there are endless filling options. Dumplings can be served with or without a soup or broth, and are mostly consumed during the Lunar year by the people in Northern China. Dumplings are a common side dish in China that will enlighten your taste buds and is filled with a variety of ingredients, given interesting shapes, and cooked in unique ways.
- Peking Duck- Pecking Duck is the most popular meal in China invented by the people of the Ming dynasty and served as a royal delicacy. Nowadays, this typical Beijing cuisine is worldwide famous as a typical exquisite dish. To make this dish best duck is chosen and roasted & cooked on a wood fire until the skin becomes golden or reddish-brown in color and crispy. The meat of the duck is tender, moist, and slightly sweet and is served with delicate millet flour pancakes, sliced shallots or cucumbers, and hoisin sauce or plum sauce. This dish is eaten with hands, like a burrito. On your trip to Beijing China, do try this fine dish that will bombard your mouth with heavenly flavors.
- Wonton- Wontons, a popular Chinese food, is a chewy and juicy ball of minced meat that is wrapped inside a thin sheet of dough. The dough used to form the wonton wrapper is of premium quality and is brought into use by the process of kneading & fermentation. The techniques of making a wonton and the filling placed inside it vary from region to region in China. Wontons usually have the filling of pork, shrimp, vegetables, meats, and there are endless possibilities. They are soft & lovely, like a warm and flavourful hug to your mouth. If you are wondering whether Gyoza and Wontons same? Then they are not. Gyozas usually have a thicker wrapper and are folded in a crescent shape, and are enjoyed by themselves. Whereas, Wontons have a thinner wrapper and are enjoyed in a soup or found floating in a broth.
- Chow Mein- Chow Mein is the most popular fast food in China and worldwide. Chinese cuisine also serves Lo Mein, and it’s different from Chow Mein. Chow mein is prepared in a way, that its noodles are crispier, oily, with lots of proteins, vegetables, and light sauces. Whereas lo mein noodles have a silky texture, they are non-greasy, covered with delicious lo mein sauce, with a considerable amount of proteins and veggies. The texture, the sauces, the cooking techniques, and the preparation styles of both the noodles are different. Now it is completely upto your personal choice and tastebuds, which noodles you like more.
Pros & Cons
After knowing about the above listed top ten popular Chinese foods, we would like to tell you about the pros & cons of eating Chinese cuisines:-
- Chinese food is very filling as the portion sizes are quite big.
- The food served in China has a wide variety of flavors. From spicy to bland food, from food full of sauces & meat to bitter & sour flavored food, and from garlic to subtle flavors. Chinese cuisine has everything to satiate your tastebuds.
- A wide variety of ingredients are included in Chinese cuisines.
- Some of the popular Chinese foods are not healthy as they are cooked in lots of cooking oil and also contain lots of salt, spices, and MSG, which can cause health-related issues.
- A lot of dishes served in China contain pork, and for those who don’t eat pork, it may be difficult to choose what to eat and what not.
- Less vegetarian options.
- Rice is the staple food of Chinese cuisine, and eating it regularly, may increase body fat and lead to obesity.
- What is the most popular drink in China?
- Apart from the above-mentioned list, of the most popular foods in China, you should also enjoy some popular Chinese drinks such as; Baiju, Pearl milk Tea, Jiuniang, Soyabean Milk, Coconut Milk, Tsingtao Beer, Tieguanyin, Xinjiang Black Beer, Suanmeitang, Chrysanthemum Tea, Yunnan Coffee, and more.
- What are some Chinese eating etiquettes?
- Some strange food etiquettes in China are:-
- It is considered okay in China to hold the food bowl close to the mouth and shovel in the food using chopsticks.
- It is considered rude to finish up your plate in China as if you clean your plate it, indicates that your host didn’t provide you with enough food.
- In China, it is acceptable if you loudly slurp in your noodles.
- Burping at the end of the meal is acceptable in China.
- What options are available for Vegans in Chinese cuisine?
- The most popular Chinese foods in China contain meat and pork. But chefs generally use tofu as a replacement for meat for vegan customers. If you are a vegan you can enjoy Chinese foods such as; veg spring rolls, garlic tofu, sweet & sour tofu, cashew tofu, tofu & broccoli, Mongolian tofu, orange tofu, kung pao tofu, steamed veggies with sesame sauce, steamed rice, and a few more. But they are available at a handful of places.
As we saw in the above article, China is home to a wide variety of cuisines, food items, and flavors. Each cuisine and item has a significant historical background and unique cooking techniques. You must have noticed that the major ingredients used in every Chinese cuisine are beef, pork, rice, soy sauce, veggies, peppercorns, and tofu.
In this article, we discussed the ten most popular foods in China, but in reality, the list of food items and cuisines available in China is innumerable. So what are you waiting for now? Do enjoy the lip-smacking delicacies mentioned above on your trip to China.