Chinese Language Blog

My Favorite Chinese Dishes Posted by on Feb 19, 2020 in Culture

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you probably know by now that I really like Chinese food (我很喜欢中国菜 – wǒ hěn xǐ huān zhōng guó cài). When I first moved there, I missed my good old American food from time to time. The longer I stayed in China, though, the more I fell in love with local food. These days, a plate of dumplings or a bowl of noodles are my comfort food instead of burgers and pizza! In this post, I’ll share with you some of my favorite Chinese dishes.

20 of My Favorite Chinese Dishes

While each region of China has its own specialties, there are plenty of dishes that you can find all over the country. The problem for most lao wai is not being able to understand the menu. You’ll get pictures from time to time and the occasional English menu, but those tend to be confusing Chinglish that doesn’t really tell you what the dish actually is.

Nice Chinglish for a tasty noodle dish.

To make things easier for you, here’s a list of 20 of the most popular Chinese dishes that you can print out and take with you. These dishes are popular for a reason and they’re same of my absolute favorites. Don’t end up eating McDonald’s or KFC because you’re intimidated by the local menu!

gōng bǎo jī dīng
xī hóng shì chǎo jī dàn
yú xiāng ròu sī
yú xiāng qié zi
de sān xiān
huǒ guō
yáng ròu chuàn
chǎo miàn
dàn chǎo fàn
huí guō ròu
má pó dòu fu
bāo zi
là zǐ jī dīng
lǘ ròu huǒ shāo
jiān bing
pāi huáng guā
ròu jiā mó
niú ròu lā miàn
jiǎo zi
má là tàng
Kung Pao chicken
eggs and tomatoes
fish-scented pork
fish-scented eggplant
“Three Treasures of Earth”
hot pot
lamb kebabs
fried noodles (chow mein)
egg fried rice
twice cooked pork
Mapo tofu
steamed stuffed bun
spicy diced chicken
donkey meat sandwich
egg pancake
smashed cucumber salad
meat burger
pulled beef noodles
hot and spicy soup

Looking at that list, you may be wondering about dishes like “fish-scented pork/eggplant” and the “Three Treasures of Earth.” Don’t let the name throw you off, as the pork & eggplant dishes really do not smell anything like fish. I still don’t understand the name after eating both countless times. It’s actually a bit sweet and spicy and really has nothing to do with fish.

As far as the treasures, they are: potatoes, green pepper, and eggplant. This is one of the best dishes for vegetarians in China. It’s one of my go-to dishes that I’ve eaten all over the country during my travels. The eggs & tomatoes dish is already a solid choice if you don’t eat meat.

For a more detailed look at some of my favorite dishes in China, check out these posts:


They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll let my photos do the talking. Here are some photos of my favorite Chinese dishes that I listed above:

Start your day off with a 煎饼.


Donkey meat is awesome. Try a 驴肉火烧 for lunch.


The ubiquitous 宫爆鸡丁.


Chinese Vegetarian Dishes

A classic Chinese veggie dish – 西红柿炒鸡蛋.


There’s nothing like a hot plate of 饺子.


The Sichuan classic dish – 麻婆豆腐.


Chinese kebabs

羊肉串- the perfect snack at a beer festival!


Probably the most fun dining experience around – 火锅.



Of course, we’ve also got some videos about real Chinese food floating around on our YouTube channel. Here are some of my favorites:

Munch on the amazing donkey meat sandwiches.

Hit up Ghost Street in the capital for some Old Beijing hot pot.

Take a class at Beijing’s Hutong School to learn how to make Chinese dumplings.

Get introduced to 5 different types of Chinese noodles.


I’m sure your mouth is watering after this post and you’ve probably already ordered takeout from your local Chinese restaurant. Before you stuff your face, though, leave a comment below to answer this questions:

nǐ zuì xǐ huān chī shén me zhōng guó cài
What’s your favorite Chinese food to eat?

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.

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