My Favorite Chinese Dishes Posted by sasha on Feb 19, 2020 in Culture, food
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.
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!
xī hóng shì chǎo jī dàn
yú xiāng ròu sī
yú xiāng qié zi
de sān xiān
yáng ròu chuàn
dàn chǎo fàn
huí guō ròu
má pó dòu fu
là zǐ jī dīng
lǘ ròu huǒ shāo
pāi huáng guā
ròu jiā mó
niú ròu lā miàn
má là tàng
eggs and tomatoes
“Three Treasures of Earth”
fried noodles (chow mein)
egg fried rice
twice cooked pork
steamed stuffed bun
spicy diced chicken
donkey meat sandwich
smashed cucumber salad
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:
- Baozi vs. Jiaozi – Steamed stuffed buns or dumplings? I compare the two classics and weigh the pros and cons of each.
- 10 Different Types of Chinese Noodles – I introduce niu rou la mian and nine other varieties of Chinese noodles in this post.
- Warm Up with Chinese Hot Pot – This post goes into more detail about huo gou, which is probably the best thing to eat on a cold winter day.
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:
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: