China is the most populous nation in the world and also boasts numerous sights that attract millions of visitors each year. When people visit China, most of them go to the top tourist destinations that are the most talked about, such as the Great Wall of China, the Summer Palace, and the Forbidden City, but one thing most tour guides fail to mention is the food.
Chinese food is some of the best food in the world, but there are so many options for tourists to try, it’s hard to decide. So, here is a list of the ten must-try foods in China to get you started.
As far as traditional Chinese dishes go, dumplings are on the top of this list. Dumplings can be found all over China and America in a myriad of forms, and they are most popular in China during the Spring Festival, during which dumplings are widely prepared in the streets and consumed by party-goers. Dumplings often involve soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and chili which is stuffed into a soft pouch with beef, pork, or chicken. This mixture can then either be steamed, boiled or even fried, which makes these food items delicious little morsels of Chinese goodness. Dumplings can easily be prepared at home with little effort.
9 Kung Pao Chicken (Gong Bao)
Next on this list is a popular Chinese food that is found in many Chinese restaurants across America and is a big favorite, but this traditional dish tastes much better when prepared by locals in China. Although there are many variations of this traditional dish, the key ingredients remain constant through China. This dish involves sliced up pieces of chicken which are then combined with peanuts, peppers, and a savory sauce. This dish can then be prepared in different ways but is best served with a bowl of rice and soy sauce. As far as Chinese food goes, Kung Pao Chicken will make your mouth happy.
8 Jian Bing
7 Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes
Next on this list is an uncommon and ridiculous-sounding dish that is surprisingly tasty. Scrambled eggs with tomatoes, along with Jian Bing are just two options for vegetarians who may be visiting China, and as weird as it may sound, once you eat this dish, you will understand its appeal. There is not much to say about this dish as the name explains most of it. The dish simply consists of fresh eggs that are scrambled and then paired with tomatoes. This must-try dish is cheap and tasty and is a staple, so it can be found anywhere. Maybe not so strange. We’ve seen plenty of folks put ketchup on their eggs.
6 Hot Pot
First thing first, it is important to note that Hot Pot is more than a traditional Chinese dish; Hot Pot is a complete culinary experience that every tourist in China should try. When you order a Hot Pot at a Chinese restaurant, you will be brought a simmering hot pot of spiced broth. This pot is left to boil at your table and you can order things to add into it such as meat, vegetables, and seafood. Along with a hot pot, you can make a customizable bowl of sesame paste which can be mixed with garlic, coriander, and other veggies.
5 Beijing Roast Duck
The Beijing Roast Duck is one of the fanciest meals offered in China and is a must-try food for tourists who are craving a high-quality meal. The Beijing Roast Duck was first made in China way back during the Northern Dynasty and has been around for centuries. Back in the day, the duck was considered a rich man's food and was only reserved for emperors and visiting dignitaries. Today, you can pick up a roast duck at a local grocery store to enjoy back in your hotel room or visit a fancy restaurant like Da Dong, which specializes in this dish.
4 Dim Sum
Next on this list is Dim Sum, which technically does not qualify as a Chinese dish because it is originally a Cantonese invention. The best dim sum in China can be found in the small province of Hong Kong or in the Guangdong province, where there is much Cantonese influence. Dim Sum is, in its essence, a variety of dumpling which is each prepared differently and with different stuffings. These dumplings can include a variety of fillings such as beef, pork, shrimp and even vegetables. If you order this dish at a restaurant they will come in servings of four.
3 Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles
Next, are Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles, which have a legend tied to the dish. The story goes that a long time ago, a scholar was studying for his exams and resigned to an island to study in peace. Every day, his wife would cross a bridge to bring him lunch but he would forget about it until it was cold. The legend goes the wife decided to make chicken soup, and combine it with the noodles after crossing the bridge. This way, the broth cooked the noodles and a layer of oil kept it all warm. Smart wife that guy had.
2 Mapo Tofu
Of the many types of Chinese food, one regional type of food is known as Sichuan food. Of all the Sichuan foods that can be found in China, the most popular and the best tasting dish by far is Mapo Tofu. Mapo Tofu differs from region to region but it essentially includes tofu as its base ingredient combined with a bean-based sauce containing chili and fermented black beans. This dish also comes with diced meat but chefs can easily make a vegetarian option that taste's just as great. Mapo Tofu tastes best with beef or pork in it. Not all Sichuan food is spicy hot. The chili pepper wasn’t introduced there until the 17th century.
1 Lanzhou Pulled Noodles
Last but not least in our must must-try food in China is Lanzhou Pulled Noodles. These are basically hand pulled noodles, and also known as beef noodles as they are cooked with mostly beef. The city of Lanzhou is especially famous for the dish, although there are over 20,000 restaurants in China selling this popular dish, also known as Lamian in Chinese. These noodles are cooked fresh, and you can see the cook pulling the noodles thick or thin, depending on the requirement of the customer. A bowl is Lanzhou Pulled Noodles seems quite cheap and doesn't cost over $1.50, if ordered from a street corner restaurant.