25 Famous Chinese Food To Try When In China

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Famous Chinese Foods To Try During Your Visit To China

Chinese cuisine culture has a lengthy history and is the product of years of refining and experimentation with various cooking methods, many of which are unique to China. At the same time, Chinese cuisine is regional, affected by each Chinese region’s natural topography, climatic circumstances, resources, specialties, and eating customs.

Chinese Eating Habits

Chinese people, in general, are less concerned about diet than Westerners. They are more interested in the texture, flavor, color, and scent of the meal. These are the most important aspects of good Chinese cuisine. Grain, vegetables, fruit, and meat are the four dietary categories in Chinese daily meals. Chinese people do not consume a lot of dairy products due to lactose sensitivity.

chinese-food
Photo Credit: The Spruce Eats

Instead, the Chinese replace them with soymilk and tofu, which are high in protein and calcium. Fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats are generally available. Preserved vegetables, such as snow cabbage or mustard greens, preserved eggs, sometimes known as “thousand-year-old eggs,” and salted and dried fish are examples of exceptions. Snacks such as beef jerky, cuttlefish jerky, sweet and sour preserved plums, and dried mango slices are also outliers.

Basic Ingredients In Chinese food

Because classic Chinese food reaches its legendary reputation by finding the precise combination of spicy, sour, sweet, and savory flavors, changing fundamental components risks upsetting this delicate equilibrium. When most people think of Chinese food, the first item that springs to mind are undoubtedly soy sauce. However, the distinction between light and dark soy sauce is sometimes misunderstood. Many meat and vegetable recipes benefit from the addition of oyster sauce, which has a particular savory flavor.

Famous food in China
Photo Credit: China Highlights

Recipes vary greatly, but Jeremy likes the Lee Kum Kee brand, which gets made with cornstarch, salt, sugar, and oyster essence. Dried mushrooms are a pantry staple in Chinese cookery. Sichuan peppercorns are a fruit that looks similar to black peppercorns. They get supplied whole or powdered but buy whole whenever feasible to get the most out of their lovely scent and peculiar mouth-tingling feeling. The drying of Chinese chilies also contributes to the development of their delicious flavor and unique perfume.

8 Important Culinary Cuisines In Chinese Food

1. Anhui – Anhui cuisine gets based on the unique culinary methods of the people who live in China’s Huangshan Mountains area. Although it is comparable to Jiangsu cuisine, less emphasis gets placed on seafood.

2. Cantonese – Almost all edible meats get used in Cantonese cuisine, including chicken feet, duck tongue, snakes, and snails. However, because of scarcity, lamb and goat are rarely consumed.

Cantonese Chinese Foods
Photo Credit: Chung Ying

3. Fujian – Fujian cuisine gets inspired by the region’s coastal location and hilly topography, and items such as wild mushrooms, bamboo shoots, fish, shrimp, and turtles are frequently employed.

4. Hunan – Hunan cuisine, it’s known for being hot and spicy, with plenty of garlic, chili peppers, and shallots. In contrast to the searing, numbing heat of Sichuan cookery, it’s recognized for being just hot.

5. Jiangsu – Jiangsu cuisine gets recognized for being soft but not falling apart: the meat tastes supple but does not separate from the bone when picked up.

6. Shandong – Shandong cuisine gets divided into two distinct styles: Jiaodong, which gets distinguished by light seafood dishes, and Jinan, and also gets distinguished by the usage of soup in its meals.

Shandong Chinese Foods
Photo Credit: Pinterest

7. Szechuan – Szechuan cuisine, it’s known for its use of powerful tastes, including chile, garlic, and Szechuan pepper, which are generously sprinkled throughout the meals.

8. Zhejiang – Zhejiang cuisine is often fresh and light, rather than oily. It comprises at least four culinary styles: Hangzhou, which gets distinguished by the use of rich foods and bamboo shoots; Shaoxing, which specializes in chicken and fish; Ningbo, which specializes in seafood; and Shanghai, which specializes in xiao long bao.

25 Chinese Food To Try

1. Dumplings

Dumplings
Photo Credit: Eatingwell

Chinese dumplings (Jiaozi) are often made with various types of meat (pork, beef, chicken, shrimp, or even fish) and chopped veggies wrapped in a piece of dough. The most typical fillings are pork with Chinese cabbage, pork with celery, lamb with spring onion, and leeks with eggs, although there are several more options.

Main Ingredients Of Dumplings: Meat

When To Eat Dumplings: Breakfast

2. Proper Street Kebabs

Proper Street Kebabs
Photo Credit: CNN

The most memorable cuisine in China is not found at Michelin-starred restaurants. Instead, head to the city’s center’s noisy, congested, and steamy street vendors. The Chinese street barbecue experience is a combination of the food itself and the hectic street bustle, from mutton kebabs with cumin and squid barbecued on an iron pan to roast chicken wings and oysters with spicy sauce. It is one-of-a-kind and difficult to obtain anywhere.

Main Ingredients Of Street Kebabs: Barbeques

When To Eat Street Kebabs: Brunch 

3. Spicy Crayfish

Spicy Crayfish
Photo Credit: China Daily

Crayfish has raced over China’s cities during the last decade, and the entire country gets obsessed with this crustacean. The crayfish gets cooked in a broth flavored with ginger, garlic, pepper, and a variety of other spices. Crayfish at night has become highly popular from spring to early October. On weekends, friends gather in a packed kiosk, sit on little plastic chairs, and purchase one or two pots of red crayfish.

Main Ingredients Of Spicy Crayfish: Crayfish

When To Eat Spicy Crayfish: Dinner

4. Lamb Hot Pot

Lamb Hot Pot
Photo Credit: Amy+Jacky

Many nations like Sichuan hotpot and healthful Cantonese hotpot. However, lamb hot pot is the most popular in China, particularly in northern China during the winter. According to folklore, lamb hot pot began in the Yuan Dynasty and got popularised by the Qing Dynasty rulers. The broth gets cooked in a copper container with a very high chimney through which the steam from the coals escapes.

Main Ingredients Of Lamb Hot Pot: Lamb

When To Eat Lamb Hot Pot: Lunch

5. Guilin Rice Noodles

Guilin Rice Noodles
Photo Credit: Travel Foodie

Located in southern China, Guilin gets surrounded by pristine water and karst landforms. It is well-known not just for its idyllic surroundings, but also for its cool rice noodles topped with sour beans, peanuts, bamboo shoots, and shallots. Rice noodle eateries get found all across Guilin and the surrounding area. Locals like dipping the silky rice noodles and toppings into hot and sour brine before eating them dry or in beef soup.

Main Ingredients Of Gullin Rice Noodles: Noodles

When To Eat Gullin Rice Noodles: Breakfast

6. Lanzhou Hand-pulled Noodles

Lanzhou Hand-pulled Noodles
Photo Credit: Taste Cooking

Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles developed in Northwest China’s barren Gobi region. It’s first-rate halal cuisine. Each bowl of Lanzhou hand-made noodles is both a feast and a work of art. Muslim noodle experts pat, fold and pull the dough into long, thin noodles in modest open kitchens. And they do it faster than guests can place their orders. Hand-pulled Lanzhou noodles get served with beef broth, sliced meat, coriander, and green onion.

Main Ingredients Of Lanzhou Hand-Pulled Noodles: Hand-Pulled Noodles

When To Eat Lanzhou Hand-Pulled Noodles: Evening

7. Steamed Crab

Steamed Crab
Photo Credit: SBS TV

Every year, a large number of gourmets from various Chinese cultural circles go to Shanghai to sample this renowned cuisine. Every September, these freshwater crabs from the Yangtze River estuary get dispatched to family kitchens, high-end hotels, and luxury restaurants, waving their massive pincers. Shaoxing yellow wine is the greatest traditional drink to pair with hairy crabs.

Main Ingredients Of Steamed Crab: Crab

When To Eat Steamed Crab: Dinner

8. Fish with Sichuan Pickles

Fish with Sichuan Pickles
Photo Credit: Lee Kum Kee

Grass carp is the most common fish served with Sichuan pickles. The meal has a hot and sour flavor. Fish is high in high-quality protein and contains a lot of minerals and other nutrients. The lactic acid in pickles can help with iron absorption and enhance appetite.

Main Ingredients Of Fish With Sichuan Pickles: Fish

When To Eat Fish With Sichuan Pickles: Brunch

9. Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken
Photo Credit: Rasa Malaysia

Kung pao chicken is a well-known Chinese dish that is popular among Westerners. It is a dish found in the cuisines of Shandong, Sichuan, and Guizhou. Kung Pao chicken gets prepared with peanuts, peppers, and other seasonings. It’s red but not hot, spicy but not overpowering, and the meat is soft, silky, and crisp. The suppleness of the chicken and the crunchiness of the peanuts complement each other well.

Main Ingredients Of Kung Pao Chicken: Chicken

When To Eat Kung Pao Chicken: Evening

10. Shredded Pork with Garlic Sauce

Shredded Pork with Garlic Sauce
Photo Credit: Red House Spice

The most renowned Sichuan cuisine is arguably shredded pork with garlic sauce, which gets found on the menu of practically any modest restaurant. It’s also a popular choice for home cooking. It has a sweet, sour, and spicy flavor that blends well with the rich aromas of onion, ginger, and garlic.

Main Ingredients Of Shredded Pork With Garlic Sauce: Pork

When To Eat Shredded Pork With Garlic Sauce: Dinner

11. Red Braised Pork

Red Braised Pork
Photo Credit: The Works of Life

Red braised pork, a well-known and popular dish get found in virtually all major Chinese cuisines, each with its own distinct flavor. In Hunan province, for example, it’s hot, whereas, in Shanghai, it’s sweet. It’s mostly made of streaky pork. The key to preparing a flawless red braised pork it’s said to be selecting the appropriate slices, with three layers of fat and two layers of lean meat.

Main Ingredients Of Red Braised Pork: Pork

When To Eat Red Braised Pork: Lunch

12. Steamed Fish Head with Diced Hot Red Peppers

Steamed Fish Head with Diced Hot Red Peppers
Photo Credit: Miss Chinese Food

Steamed fish head with chopped hot red peppers, a traditional and classic dish of Xiang cuisine, is well-known for its fresh and spicy tastes. The white sensitive fish head flesh gets topped with crimson chopped chili peppers. It’s not only visually stunning, but it’s also delicious. Once steamed, the fiery tastes of the chopped chili enter the fish head.

Main Ingredients Of Steamed Fish Head With Chopped Hot Red Peppers: Fish and Rice

When To Eat Steamed Fish Head With Chopped Hot Red Peppers: Lunch

13. Sweet and Sour Ribs

Sweet and Sour Ribs
Photo Credit: Healthy Nibbles

The origins of sweet and sour ribs are still getting debated. According to some, it originated in Guangdong. Others believe that Jiangsu was the first to popularise the dish. Regardless, it is still a popular meal in China and one of the most well-known Chinese foods in the rest of the globe. To produce real sweet and sour ribs, a competent cook always pays close attention to both the cooking process and the ingredients. In general, baby back ribs or spare ribs are thought to be the best choice.

Main Ingredients Of Sweet and Sour Ribs: Beef Ribs

When To Eat Sweet and Sour Ribs: Lunch

14. Mapo Tofu: Stir-fried Tofu in Hot Sauce

Mapo Tofu: Stir-fried Tofu in Hot Sauce
Photo Credit: Free Pik

Mapo tofu is a classic and well-known dish from Sichuan Province. Bean curd is the major component, while additional ingredients include garlic sprouts, minced beef (other meats also get used), and seasonings such as thick broad-bean sauce, chili powder, Sichuan pepper, soy sauce, and so on.

Main Ingredients Of Mapo Tofu: Bean Curd

When To Eat Mapo Tofu: Dinner

15. Twice-cooked Pork Slices

Twice-cooked Pork Slices
Photo Credit: Taste Of Asian Food

Twice-cooked pork slices are a dish typical of Sichuan cuisine. Pork buttock, green pepper, and garlic are the major components. It has a distinct flavor, a vibrant red hue, and is fatty but not greasy. Twice-cooked pork gets known as hui Guo rout in Chinese, which translates to “going back to the pot again.” The meat gets simmered until partially cooked and then stir-fried, resulting in a two-cooking process, hence the name.

Main Ingredients Of Twice Cooked Pork Slices: Pork

When To Eat Twice Cooked Pork Slices: Lunch

16. Fried Eggs with Tomatoes

Fried Eggs with Tomatoes
Photo Credit: Christie at Home

Fried eggs with tomatoes is, of course, a meal made using tomatoes and eggs. It’s sweet and sour, and it’s very good for the elderly and children. The ingredients are simple, and the preparation is straightforward. It’s popular among Chinese students studying abroad since it’s a terrific comfort dish when they miss their family.

Main Ingredients Of Fried Eggs With Tomatoes: Eggs

When To Eat Fried Eggs With Tomatoes: Breakfast

17. Roast Duck

Roast Duck
Photo Credit: The Spruce Eats

When it comes to roast duck, Beijing roast duck, particularly Quanjude roast duck, is the most well-known. Of course, there are other ways to prepare roast duck in China, each with its own distinct flavor. Roast duck is crisp and flavorful, and it is always served with sweet sauce, cucumber spears, and green Chinese onion folded in a thin pancake.

Main Ingredients Of Roasted Duck: Duck

When To Eat Roasted Duck: Dinner

18. Egg Fried Rice

Egg Fried Rice
Photo Credit: Kitchen Sanctuary

Egg fried rice is a colorful, flavorful, and simple dish to prepare. Long-grain rice, an egg, and green onion for taste and garnish are the major components. You may add other veggies, such as sliced carrots, bell peppers, peas, and corn, to make it more healthy and colorful.

Main Ingredients Of Egg Fried Rice: Egg

When To Eat Egg Fried Rice: Brunch

19. Hot Spicy Dip

Hot Spicy Dip
Photo Credit: Dreamstime

The hot spicy dip is the forerunner of spicy hot pot and is a simpler version of hot pot. The meat and veggies get placed on a bamboo stick, which is then dipped into the boiling crimson soup. The components in hot spicy dip and hot pot are the same. The main distinction is that the dip is easy and quick to make.

Main Ingredients Of Hot Spicy Dip: Pepper

When To Eat Hot Spicy Dip: N/A

20. Xinjiang “Big Plate Chicken

Xinjiang “Big Plate Chicken
Photo Credit: The Works Of Life

Xinjiang big plate chicken is a halal cuisine that consists of chicken, tomato, green chili, and noodles served on a huge plate, thus the name. The chicken is normally fried first and then stewed, and then the wonderful chicken with its scorched skin gets combined with the vibrant colors of green and red pepper. The potato starch in the soup absorbs the oil, reducing the greasy factor.

Main Ingredients Of Big Plate Chicken: Chicken

When To Eat Big Plate Chicken: Lunch

21. Scalded Shrimp

Scalded Shrimp
Photo Credit: Miss Chinese Food

Scalded shrimp is a well-known classic meal. The shrimp gets blanched in hot, clean water. Blanching shrimp is especially popular in Guangzhou because it keeps the shrimp’s fresh, sweet, soft, and unique taste. This entrée is complete with a dip into a delectable sauce.

Main Ingredients Of Scalded Shrimp: Shrimp

When To Eat Scalded Shrimp: Dinner

22. Braised Pork with Vermicelli

Braised Pork with Vermicelli
Photo Credit: Yum Of China

Sichuan and northeastern Chinese cuisines feature braised pork with vermicelli. It is mostly composed of pork, vermicelli, and either pickled or fresh cabbage. That is the original, but new versions with stronger flavors have appeared, such as pork and vermicelli with cabbage, pork, vermicelli with tofu, pork, vermicelli with radish, and so on.

Main Ingredients Of Braised Pork With Vermicelli: Pork

When To Eat Braised Pork With Vermicelli: Lunch

23. Steamed Rice Powder and Pork

Steamed Rice Powder and Pork
Photo Credit: The Works Of Life

This cuisine originated in Jiangxi and is primarily popular in southern China, however it has spread throughout the country. Eating steamed rice powder with pork is an important yearly ritual in the Jiangnan region at the start of summer. It’s also a must-eat traditional Chinese New Year meal.

Main Ingredients Of Steamed Rice Powder and Pork: Pork

When To Eat Steamed Rice Powder and Pork: Lunch

24. Chinese Sausage

Chinese Sausage
Photo Credit: Meats and Saussages

Sausage gets created with the ground or chopped pork that has gotten seasoned with salt, sugar, wine, soy sauce, Sichuan pepper, and other seasonings. The pork gets stuffed in chitterlings, air dried, or smoke-cured. The completed sausage will keep in the refrigerator for about three months.

Main Ingredients Of Chinese Sausage: Beef

When To Eat Chinese Sausage: Evening

25. Lotus Root and Rib Soup

Lotus Root and Rib Soup
Photo Credit: The Works Of Life

A classic Hubei meal is lotus root and rib soup. The soup gets cooked for hours over low heat until the meat slips off the bone. The lotus root has a sticky and crisp flavor. One taste of this aromatic and sweet soup will have you sighing in delight at its deliciousness! Spareribs and lotus root soup are also obligatory foods when entertaining distinguished visitors in Hubei Province.

Main Ingredients Of Lotus Root and Rib Soup: Lotus Root

When To Eat Lotus Root and Rib Soup: Breakfast

15 Chinese Dessert To Try

1. Eight Treasures Rice Pudding

Eight Treasures Rice Pudding
Photo Credit: The Hong Kong Cookery

The eight treasures rice pudding is a classic Chinese delicacy consisting mostly of glutinous rice and topped with candied fruits such as red jujubes, lotus seed, walnut kernel, and raisins.

Main Ingredients Of Eight Treasures Rice Pudding: Rice

When To Eat Eight Treasures Rice Pudding: Breakfast

2. Candied Sweet Potatoes

Candied Sweet Potatoes
Photo Credit: Medium

Candied sweet potatoes are a Chinese confection prepared with sweet potatoes and sugar. Fry the sweet potato dice; then, in a separate saucepan, boil the sugar until it thickens; next, dip the fried sweet potatoes into the melted sugar and coat them evenly with sugar.

Main Ingredients Of Candied Sweet Potatoes: Sweet Potatoes

When To Eat Candied Sweet Potatoes: Dinner

3. Sesame Glutinous Rice Balls

Sesame Glutinous Rice Balls
Photo Credit: The Works Of Life

Tangyuan (sesame glutinous rice balls) are a traditional Chinese dessert for the Lantern Festival. Doughs get prepared from sticky rice flour and packed with delicious black sesame paste.

Main Ingredients Of Sesame Glutinous Rice balls: Rice

When To Eat Sesame Glutinous Rice Balls: Evening

4. Glutinous Rice Balls in Sweet Rice Wine

Glutinous Rice Balls in Sweet Rice Wine
Photo Credit: Kirbie’s Cravings

The glutinous rice balls used in this Chinese delicacy are smaller and without filling when compared to sesame glutinous rice balls. Fermented rice wine and sugar get added during the boiling process, and egg and dried sweet-scented osmanthus are occasionally added to improve the flavor.

Main Ingredients Of Glutinous Rice Balls in Sweet Red Wine: Rice and Wine

When To Eat Glutinous Rice Balls in Sweet Red Wine: Dinner

5. Candied Fruit on a Stick

Candied Fruit on a Stick
Photo Credit: The Hong Kong Cookery

It is one of the best Chinese sweets, originated in Beijing, and is popular in the north. It is also known as Bintang Hulu. Fruits get hung on a skewer and dipped in molten sugar.

Main Ingredients Of Candied Fruit on a Stick: Fruits

When To Eat Candied Fruit on a Stick: Brunch

6. Mooncakes

Mooncakes
Photo Credit: CGTN

Mooncakes are traditional Chinese sweets that are typically consumed during the Mid-Autumn Festival. They are generally spherical to represent a family gathering. The sweet flavor comes mostly from the fillings, which are often comprised of fruits, red bean paste, lotus seed paste, and nuts.

Main Ingredients Of Mooncakes: Fruits

When To Eat Mooncakes: Festivals

7. Almond Junket Pudding

Almond Junket Pudding
Photo Credit: iFood

Almond junket is a delicious almond pulp-based Chinese delicacy. After chilling and curdling, the almond pulp and sugar will produce a pudding-like texture. One of the most famous China food.

Main Ingredients Of Almond Junket Pudding: Almond

When To Eat Almond Junket Pudding: Evening

8. Steamed Lotus Root Stuffed with Sweet Sticky Rice

Steamed Lotus Root Stuffed with Sweet Sticky Rice
Photo Credit: Travel China Guide

It is one of Zhejiang cuisine’s signature sweets. Boil the lotus root with brown and white sugar and uncooked glutinous rice. When the lotus root gets done, slice it and sprinkle it with the broth that gets used to prepare it and dry osmanthus.

Main Ingredients Of Steamed Lotus Root Stuffed with Sweet Sticky Rice: Lotus Root

When To Eat Steamed Lotus Root Stuffed with Sweet Sticky Rice: Lunch

9. White and Lotus Seed Soup

White and Lotus Seed Soup
Photo Credit: 123RF

We can see from the name that this Chinese dessert gets made primarily of white fungus and lotus seeds. To boil, rock sugar, Chinese wolfberry, and red jujube are also combined.

Main Ingredients Of White and Lotus Seed Soup: Lotus Seed

When To Eat White and Lotus Seed Soup: Dinner

10. Double-skin Milk

Double-skin Milk
Photo Credit: My Chinese Recipes

Double-skin milk is a Cantonese dish that originated in Shunde, Guangdong province. Its ingredients include water buffalo milk, egg white, and white sugar.

Main Ingredients Of Double Skin Milk: Milk

When To Eat Double Skin Milk: Evening

11. Tortoise Jelly / Guilinggao

Tortoise Jelly / Guilinggao
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Tortoise jelly is mostly manufactured from powdered turtle and tuckahoe shells. It is a traditional Chinese remedy as well as one of the greatest Chinese sweets. One of the most famous food in China.

Main Ingredients Of Guilinggao: Turtle 

When To Eat Guilinggao: Dinner

12. Stewed Clams with Papaya

Stewed Clams with Papaya
Photo Credit: new Knowledge

It is Cantonese in origin. The primary components include papaya, clam paste, fresh milk, water, rock sugar, and so on. This Chinese delicacy is high in protein and vitamins and is beneficial to one’s health.

Main Ingredients Of Sweet Clams With Papaya: Papaya

When To Eat Sweet Clams With Papaya: Lunch

13. Grass Jelly

Grass Jelly
Photo Credit: The Works Of Life

Grass jelly is a traditional Fujian and Taiwanese delicacy. The major ingredients include the Platostoma palustre plant, sugar, fresh milk, honey, purple potato, peanuts, and other ingredients.

Main Ingredients Of Grass Jelly: Platostoma palustre plant

When To Eat Grass Jelly: Evening

14. Sachima

Sachima
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Sachima, a classic Chinese pastry, dates back to the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912). It’s created of flour, honey, oil, white sugar, caramel, raisins, and other ingredients. One of the most famous foods in China.

Main Ingredients Of Sachima: Honey and Caramel

When To Eat Sachima: Dinner

15. Green Bean Cake

Green Bean Cake
Photo Credit: China Sichuan Food

Green bean cake, as the name implies, is a type of cake prepared with green beans and sugar. It has a gentle and delicate flavor with no oil. One of the best Chinese Food.

Main Ingredients Of Green Bean Cake: Green beans

When To Eat Green Bean Cake: Evening