20 popular Chinese dishes you should try

When you travel to China, you will have the opportunity to taste and experience Chinese cuisine. What are some of the names of some of the most popular Chinese dishes in Chinese?

The Chinese give great importance to food, as evidenced by the saying, mín yǐ shí wéi tiān 民以食为天. 1. mín 民=the people, 2. yǐ shí 以食=consider food, 3. wéi tiān 为天= as Heaven or as the top priority. Food and caring about their living needs are the most important thing for the people.

China’s cuisine has been heavily influenced by its regional environment, climate, products, customs, and eating habits for quite some time. Among its most striking characteristics are its 8 Major Cuisines. In history, Shandong, Jiangsu, Guangdong, and Sichuan formed the four major cuisines of Chinese food, which subsequently evolved into Zhejiang, Fujian, Hunan, and Huizhou thus forming the Eight Major Cuisines of Chinese food.

Below are some of the most popular dishes from the Eight Major Chinese Cuisines.

Traditionally, Sichuan cuisine chuān cài 川菜 Sichuan cuisine serves twice-cooked pork slices as a pork meat dish. Double-cooked pork slices are characterized by their distinct flavour, bright brown colour, and not too oily nor greasy surface.

2. má pó dòu fǔ 麻婆豆腐 - Mapo Tofu

This dish is delicious and heavy in taste due to its spicy, fragrant, and fresh flavours.
iStock 1277581099

3. bāo zǎi fàn煲仔饭 Steamed rice with preserved meat in clay pot

A clay pot is a standard tool for preparing food in China, especially when the dish is to be cooked slowly. The most common way to prepare steamed rice with a clay pot is to steam rice, marinated sausage, and vegetables with a flavourful sauce in the clay pot together.

This dish belongs to the yuuè cài 粤菜 yuè cài Guangdong/Cantonese cuisine. The cuisine of Guangdong consists primarily of three sub-cuisines: Guangzhou, Chaozhou, and Dongjiang.

Bāo zǎi fàn 煲仔饭 is characterized by a crispy bottom layer of rice, indicating that it is well balanced in terms of taste.

4. xiā jiǎo 虾饺 Dim sum Shrimp Dumplings

In Cantonese teahouses and restaurants, shrimp dumpling dishes are very popular, and Chinese people love to drink tea together with a basket of shrimp dumplings.

Xiā jiǎo 虾饺 are especially appreciated for being smooth and fresh. The rapping is white and thin, barely displaying the red shrimp filling.

iStock 1341799401

5. shuāng pí nǎi 双皮奶 Milk Pudding with two layers

The classic Double-layer Milk Puddin is a traditional dessert that is still extremely popular today. It is usually served with an afternoon tea or after a meal.

There are two layers of milky skin on top of the custard, formed during cooking. The first layer forms while cooling the boiled milk, and the second layer forms while cooling the cooked custard.

6. duò jiāo yú tóu 剁椒鱼头 Steamed Fish Head with Chopped Pepper

duò jiāo yú tóu 剁椒鱼头 Steamed Fish Head with Chopped Pepper, a dish from Hunan cuisinexiāng cài 湘菜 Hunan cuisine, combines the “freshness” of fish heads with the “spicy” of chopped chillies for a distinct taste. This dish is popular because of its bright red colour, strong flavour, and tender texture.

7. má là xiǎo lóng xiā 麻辣小龙虾 Spicy Crawfish

The crab, sometimes called the small lobster, is a must-have dish enjoyed by locals all year round.

Spicy crawfish is cooked with chilli, pepper, and other spices.

8. huáng mèn jī mǐ fàn 黄焖鸡米饭 Braised Chicken

This particular dish originates from Shandong province and consists of chicken that has been braised in sweet bean paste mixed with soy sauce.

9. shuǐ jiān bāo 水煎包 Steam-fried Stuffed Bun

Stuffed buns are made by stuffing dough with minced meat and cabbage and steaming them.
iStock 946144996

10. bā gōng shān dòu fǔ八公山豆腐 Palgongsan tofu

Palgongsan Tofu, also known as Bagongshan Bean Curd, is a popular traditional dish in Anhui Cuisine. This dish features a golden-golden crust and a tender sweet inside, giving it a unique taste.

11. huā shēng tāng 花生汤 Sweet Peanut soup

Peanuts, water, and sugar are used to make this rich, creamy, and sweet dessert.

12. fó tiào qiáng 佛跳墙 Buddha jumps over the wall

The Buddha Jumps Over the Wall Soup is famous for the variety of ingredients and nutrients contained in the soup. To prepare this renowned soup, it has to be simmered and slowly cooked for several hours to be tender. This soup also includes lots of herbs that make it very nourishing.

13. huǒguō 火锅 Hot Pot

There are several different kinds of huǒguō 火锅 Hot Pot in China, but one of the more popular ones is 麻辣火锅 Chongqing Hot Pot, which is all about the spices.

Sauces and meats contribute to the flavour of Hot Pot. Hot Pot is typically quite spicy, which is why it is popular in Chongqing and Sichuan.

If your friends have different tastes, you can split the pot into two parts, where one part is mild, and the other part is spicy.

iStock 1254493321

14. xiā miàn 虾面 Hokkien Prawn Noodles

A favourite dish in Fujian province, Hokkien Prawn Noodles, has been spread to immigrants in other South Asian countries. So this dish is also popular in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

15. dōng pō ròu 东坡肉 Dongpo braised pork belly

The Dongpo Braised Pork Belly is a signature dish of Hangzhou cuisine, made from braised pork belly with a good balance of fat and lean meat. Spices are added during cooking to make this dish less greasy and more delicious.

16. xī hú cù yú 西湖醋鱼 West Lake fish in Vinegar gravy

The soup sauce gives the fresh and tender fish a sweet and sour taste. You can even detect a faint smell of crab from the dish.

17. jiào huā jī 叫花鸡 Beggar's Chicken

Changshu’s Beggar’s Chicken is a dish famous in Jiangsu. This dish is not actually prepared for beggars, but it has its name because of the way it is cooked. The chicken is wrapped in lotus leaves and then roasted. Even a beggar can cook it because it doesn’t require any tools.

18. yáng chéng hú dà zhá xiè 阳澄湖大闸蟹 Hairy crabs from Yangcheng Lake

Yáng chéng hú dà zhá xiè 阳澄湖大闸蟹 Hairy crabs from Yangcheng Lake is a famous seasonal crab after the Mid-Autumn Festival until the end of December. It is not about the crab’s meat, like Alaskan king crabs or Sri Lankan crabs, but the roe.

19. Běijīng kǎoyā 北京烤鸭 Beijing Duck

Symbolizing China’s capital, the Běijīng kǎoyā 北京烤鸭 Beijing Duck is popular among foreigners and locals alike.
A typical duck dish includes duck skin and pancakes. Cucumber and spring onions are usual accompaniments. A thinly sliced shallot or a salad would enhance the experience.

Despite the dish’s name tying it to Beijing, Beijing Duck restaurants can be found throughout China, and they are generally just as tasty.

iStock 801261522

20. táng cù pái gǔ 糖醋排骨 Sweet and Sour Spareribs

A popular dish in China is táng cù pái gǔ 糖醋排骨 Sweet and Sour Spareribs. The sweet-and-sour sauce is brushed over the fried spareribs to add fresh flavour and make the ribs less greasy.

Do you want to learn more Mandarin Chinese or know someone who does?

If you want to learn Mandarin Chinese, feel free to REGISTER FOR A FREE TRIAL CLASS HERE or send me an email (Chen Huimin): huimin@laerkinesisk.no.

We offer private lessons and group classes at all levels, HSK 1-6, children, adults, business. All Mandarin Chinese classes are offered in classrooms or online.

Do you know anyone who wants to learn Chinese? We will give you 500 US dollars as a bonus as a part of our program “Refer a friend – get $ 500” if your friend or others you introduce to us start taking Chinese classes at our school. Register here if this is interesting for you!

WeChat Image 20210427081950 3

Sign up for a free trial class here.

Sign up for classes here.

Learn more about our Chinese Summer Camp for Children here.

Learn about our Internship Program in China.

Get free Chinese learning resources.

Learn about China’s 2024 Offical Holiday Schedule

Ønsker du en gratis prøveklasse? Registrer deg!

Bli med på en gratis prøveklasse i kinesisk!

Do you want a Free Trial Chinese Class? Register now!

Join a Free Trial Chinese Class!