Chinese Language Blog

Real Chinese Food – Snacks Posted by on Mar 7, 2016 in Culture, Vocabulary

We’ve already had three full meals of real Chinese food over the past few months – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you thought we were finished there, think again – there’s always room for more food in China! Anyone who’s ever been on a bus or a train in China knows just how popular snacks (小吃 – xiǎo chī) are across the country. Even for a short journey of a couple hours, people bring along a bag of snacks fit for the week-long trip on the Trans-Siberian train. Heading to the park or on a hike? Of course you need to load up on snacks! As my wife once mentioned to me, “It’s amazing there aren’t more overweight Chinese people – they’re literally always eating!” Obviously, there are different types of snacks depending on which region you’re in, but there are some that are quite popular all over the country. To aide you in snacking your way across China, here are 20 common snack foods, along with a few photos to make your mouth water:

Chinese cold noodles

Who said noodles have to be hot?

  • cold noodles (凉面 – liáng miàn)

  • roast sweet potatoes (烤红薯 – kǎo hóng shǔ)

  • soupy dumplings (小笼包 – xiǎo lóng bāo)

Chinese kebabs

Time for the meatstick!

  • BBQ/kebabs (烧烤 – shāo kǎo)/(串儿 – chuàn er)

  • malatang (麻辣烫 – má là tàng)

  • corn on the cob (考玉米 – kǎo yù mǐ)

Chinese jianbing

One of my personal favorites.

  • Chinese pancake (煎饼 – jiān bing)

  • stinky tofu (臭豆腐 – chòu dòu fu)

  • roasted chestnuts (烤栗子 – kǎo lì zǐ)

  • soy sauce eggs (滷蛋 – lǔ dàn)

Chinese hamburger

So delicious, cheap, and quick.

  • Chinese hamburger (肉夹馍 – ròu jiā mó)

  • fried dough stick (油条 – yóu tiáo)

  • steamed bun (馒头 – mán tou)

Chinese donkey meat

Donkey meat? Sounds gross, but it’s awesome.

  • donkey meat sandwich (驴肉火烧 – lǘ ròu huǒ shāo)

  • steamed stuffed bun (包子 – bāo zi)

  • flatbread (烧饼 – shāo bǐng)

Chinese candied hawthorn

A very popular snack across China.

  • candied hawthorn (冰糖葫芦 – bīng táng hú lu)

  • instant noodles (方便面 – fāng biàn miàn)

  • chicken feet (鸡爪 – jī zhuǎ)

  • shrimp crackers (虾片 – xiā piàn)

Now that you’ve got all that vocabulary, try answering these questions in Chinese:

Have you tried Chinese snacks before?
nǐ chī guò zhōng guó de xiǎo chī ma

Which Chinese snacks do you like?
nǐ xǐ huān shén me zhōng guó de xiǎo chī

What snacks does your country have?
nǐ de guó jiā yǒu shén me xiǎo chī

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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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