Food is life in China, and there’s a lot of it. A country famous for its abundance of food, you never know when you’ll find yourself in the middle of a street stall or dine at one of the world’s most innovative restaurants. Luckily, Chinese people love to eat and they’re almost as creative with their meals as Americans are with theirs. Great food isn’t limited to some exotic Michelin-starred restaurant; it can be had anywhere there’s a group of people willing to share their culinary experiences with each other. Here are some of the best things to eat in China — from local delicacies to globally recognizable brands — that you need to try before you leave!
Breakfast in China: From Traditional to Western
A bowl of congee is one of the most common dishes eaten at any time of the day in China. Congee is a popular Chinese meal made with a rice-flour base. It is often served with a side dish of vegetables or meat, seasoning, and/or a fried egg. Congee is a popular meal for breakfast, and is often eaten as a cure for colds, flu, and other ailments. Another popular breakfast dish is buns. Buns can be sweet or savory, and are often filled with meat, or vegetables. Some shops, especially in the Western regions, sell fresh-baked croissants that are the perfect companion to your coffee.
Street Food and Snacks
Street food offers a unique opportunity to taste the local flavours of a new city or country. The best way to find out about the street food scene in a new city is to search on Google for “where to eat in X.” When looking for snacks, you’ll find a wide variety of options. Popular street snacks in China include: Fried cruller buns, or jianbing, which are a round bun filled with everything from pork to beef mixed with seasonings and wrapped in a fresh leaf. Jianbing can be found at nearly every street cart, and are always a good choice for something quick and cheap. Fried dough sticks are similar to cruller buns but are usually smaller and made with a wheat flour dough. Fried dough sticks are popular throughout China. Fried doughnuts covered in sugar are a classic street snack that you’ll find in most Chinese cities. You can also try you hand at making doughnuts at the local doughnut shop.
Chinese Favorites: Hong Kong, Taiwan and Shanghai Dishes
Some of the best Chinese dishes are also a great introduction to the cuisines of other Asian countries. A great example is the dim sum, or steamed dumplings, that are a popular part of the Hong Kong and Macau cultures. Another famous dish is the Szechuan pepper pot, a spicy and flavourful dish that can be found in western China. Another popular cuisine is Taiwanese, or Chinese, cuisine, which has evolved over the years due to the influence of many countries, cultures and cuisines. Popular Taiwanese dishes include: Spicy braised pork belly, Taiwanese braised chicken, and stewed century eggs.
Dim Sum for All Occasions
If you’re visiting China during the spring and summer, you’ll be happy to know that many cities host a great dim sum festival. These festivals bring together vendors who sell dim sum dishes for a great price. Many cities have a festival where these festivals take place, including Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Nanjing. One of the best things to eat at a dim sum festival is the steamed shrimp dumplings. These are great for a casual meal with friends, and they can be found at almost any festival. If you’re visiting during the winter, be sure to try steamed buns paired with a cup of hot wine.
Lunch in China: From Sesame-Wrapped to Stir-Fry
During your travels through China, be sure to stop at a local restaurant for some amazing local dishes. Local restaurants often offer a great value meal. Another great option is to visit a street food market where you can sample regional favourites for a low cost. Some of the most popular Chinese dishes include: Stir-fried noodles, or mian, are a popular Chinese dish that can be found in many different forms, often with meat or vegetables as the main ingredient. Sesame- Wrapped Seafood: This popular dish typically includes shrimp, fish, and crab wrapped in a savoury batter. You’ll find this dish at many Chinese street food markets. Steamed Fish with Minced Vegetables: This classic Chinese dish is typically served as a bowl of vegetables and fish, often with a sauce like vinegar. This dish is often found in Chinese restaurants.
Dinner in China: From Dim Sum to Steak
If you’re staying in a city for a week or more, be sure to try some of the best restaurants in the city. Traditional restaurants are a great place to try authentic Chinese dishes, and many cities also have fusion restaurants that fuse Western cuisine with traditional Chinese dishes. Another great option is to visit a local restaurant that serves authentic local dishes. Local restaurants often serve a variety of different dishes, some of which are traditional and some of which are traditional interpretations of traditional dishes. If you’re visiting during the spring and summer, be sure to try some of the best restaurants in the city for some amazing local dishes, such as Szechuan hot pots, shuizhuang, or rice with stir-fried vegetables. If you visit during the winter, be sure to try some of the best restaurants in the city for some amazing traditional comfort foods, such as steaks, roast chickens, and hotpot.
Food is life for all cultures, and for many Chinese people, it is a way to express themselves. The Chinese have a long history of creating new and innovative foods, which is why dining out can be so exciting in any Chinese city. Whether you prefer dim sum, street food, or a five-star meal, you’ll find something delicious in China.