Chinese Language Blog

Scenes From a Chinese Restaurant Posted by on Nov 14, 2013 in Culture, Vocabulary

Explore a typical hole-in-the-wall, a mid-range, and a high-end restaurant in Beijing to see what REAL Chinese restaurants look like. Also, hit the streets for some amazing snacks across the country.

羊肉串儿 – yáng ròu chuàn er
lamb kebabs

烤馕 - kǎo náng
grilled naan bread

西红柿炒鸡蛋 – xī hóng shì chǎo jī dàn
scrambled eggs and tomatoes

拍黄瓜 – pāi huáng guā
smashed cucumbers

回锅牛肉 – huí guō niú ròu
twice cooked beef

大盘鸡 – dà pán jī
big plate of chicken

清炒西兰花 – qīng chǎo xī lán huā
stir-fried broccoli

娃娃菜 – wá wá cài
stir-fried cabbage

干煸豆角 – gān biān dòu jiǎo
spicy beans with pork

宫保鸡丁 – gōng bǎo jī dīng
Kung Pao chicken

饺子 – jiǎo zi

火锅 – huǒ guō
hot pot

北京烤鸭 – běi jīng kǎo yā
Beijing roast duck

海鲜 – hǎi xiān

小笼包 – xiǎo lóng bāo
soupy dumplings

大包子 – dà bāo zi
steamed stuffed buns

肉夹馍 – ròu jiā mó
chopped pork sandwich

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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.


  1. Peter Simon:

    Hi there,
    A nice entry again, thanks.

    Let me add a few remarks again. What strikes me most is that after a lot of entries on food, what hundreds of millions of people eat at their work-place or tens of millions of students and their teachers eat at school and at university canteens is still shrouded in mist. I think that’s the reality, especially come exam-time, and with the teachers having no time to go out with the thousands of tests to be corrected.

    What I noticed around a decade ago was that as to private schools, teachers and students almost never left the campus and were confined to eating canteen food, which was edible at best. Mostly people slurped up glutinous rice soup from a small metal bowl for breakfast, and often for lunch and dinner as well, in the latter cases supplemented with something like xī hóng shì chǎo jī dàn (scrambled eggs and tomatoes), or baozi. Scrambled eggs become terribly soggy as they add the raw tomatoes for a few seconds – I soon learned to avoid this dish. Baozi, jiaozi, long bao, and other items readily translated to mean “dumplings” by the locals are made of the same pasta, the name depending on the form. Each kind taste very differently depending on what’s stuffed inside and how well they are steamed, so, at least for me, a Hungarian, they were nothing like dumplings at all. However, these are among the best and most usual every-day food, especially when they are also fried a bit at the bottom (I’ve forgotten the name).
    To add just one more aspect, let me add that, as a lover of chicken meat, I quickly learned to avoid any chicken dish, as they are always made of chopped-up chicken pieces: a whole chicken is probably taken by the scruff after being gutted, and is chopped up carelessly with a big kitchen-axe, so my dish contains all manners of pieces of sinews, bones and joints intermingled with the meat. Besides, this all was then boiled, so there’s little taste to the little meat left. Nothing to be enjoyed together with pieces of tasteless boiled potatoes – or lotus stems.

    However, this is a continent-size country with 50% more people than Europe, so when they asked me (regularly) if I liked Chinese food, I asked back which Chinese food they mean. Because they left their mouths hanging after that, I always added that there was some that I loved (highly-ranked among all the kinds of food I love), and some that I don’t. I didn’t add that those I actually avoided at all cost.

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