Disclosure: This is a guest post by Dimitris Vlachos of Movinhand, a service that helps workers find jobs and move abroad. This post also contains affiliate advertising. When you make a purchase from one of my links/ads, I’ll earn a small commission that helps to support this blog. Of course, this is at no extra cost to you. I only share products and services I 100% stand behind. As always, all opinions I share are my own.
By Dimitris Vlachos
Each and every single time I feel that I have had a long day, I always end it with a good scrumptious meal. And although I do not have plans for dinner, I always find myself inside a Chinese restaurant ordering my favorite dishes.
Chinese food is known to be one of the most comforting foods in the world. When I spent a couple of years in China as an ESL teacher, I learned a lot about the Chinese culture and tasted the best food I think every single traveler should not miss out.
I would teach all day in Shanghai, have fun with my Chinese students, and at the end of the day, cap it off with a freshly cooked plate or bowl of goodness, and I swear it made the whole day’s work worth it.
If you are traveling to China and want to know which foods you need to try, then you have landed on the right page. Allow me to share with you five foods I would travel to China for.
Photo Credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink, The Year in Food
Dumplings have been around for thousands of years. In fact, the Chinese say the dumpling was first invented around 225 AD. This food has witnessed China’s history and became a part of it.
Dumplings are made of minced pork and finely chopped vegetables wrapped in a dough. However, there are other variations nowadays. Instead of pork, they use beef, chicken or just plain vegetables. This is usually eaten steamed, boiled, or fried, but I would say that my personal favorite is the steamed one. Nothing spells authentic Chinese food like eating a hot steamed dumpling.
Sweet And Sour Pork
One way or another, you have ordered a plate of this in your favorite Chinese restaurant. That is why if you step your feet in China, you have to taste the authentic one.
It is made of marinated meat, deep fried to perfection, and sautéed in a red sauce that tastes exactly as it sounds — sweet and sour. Just like the dumplings, there are variations to this dish to cater to those who cannot eat pork. You will see sweet and sour chicken, fish, or tofu.
Photo Credit: Jaden Hair, SteamyKitchen.com
One of the things I like about this food is the fact that you can snack it away or pair with rice (which is, by the way, a staple food in China).
Spring rolls are made of minced meat — which could be a variation of pork, chicken, or beef — and finely chopped vegetables just like your normal dumpling. However, it is wrapped in a spring roll wrapper and deep fried. It is served with a sweet and spicy red sauce or soy sauce.
A China trip wouldn’t be complete without eating Peking duck.
Just like your dumplings, Peking duck has been around for a long time. This dish is from Beijing and has been prepared since the imperial era. It was served mainly to the upper classes, and it is said this dish has inspired Chinese poets to write poems. Duan Zhu Zhi Ci has a line from one of his poems saying, “Fill your plates with roast duck and suckling pig.”
The authentic way of cooking this savory duck is a bit complicated. The duck used for this dish should be around 45 days old. Air is pumped under the skin to separate the skin from the fat. The duck is then soaked in a boiling water, hung to dry, slathered in a marinated sauce, and roasted until you get that crispy skin.
Photo Credit: Nick, FrugalFeeding
This is basically stir-fried noodles that you always order in a Chinese restaurant right across from your office after a long, stressful day. This dish appears in every single Chinese food restaurant you visit in the world. Chow meaning fried, and mein meaning noodles.
This dish consists of egg noodles, different kinds of meat (most of the time, pork, chicken, beef, and/or tofu), spring onions, and celery or cabbage. This is best paired with a deep fried chicken or a Peking duck.
If you noticed, the foods I highly suggested for you to try are the dishes that you would normally see on a Chinese restaurant’s menu. Before I worked in China as a teacher, I had a specific standard set in my mind as to how these foods tasted based mainly on how it was prepared by the non-authentic Chinese food places. But when I was in China and got to taste these foods, I was blown away (not literally, though). Nothing beats Chinese food prepared by the locals. I swear that once you have tasted these, your taste buds are going to thank you.
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Don’t those five dishes seem tasty? Someday when I visit China, I’m going to seek out the best dumplings.
Which of these five foods would you like to try in China?