Most Popular Chinese Dishes You Should Eat

Most Popular Chinese Dishes You Should Eat

February 25, 2017
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China is rich in tourist attractions. Delicious foods are an attraction indispensable in a good tour. With a long history, unique features, numerous styles and exquisite cooking, Chinese cuisine is one important constituent part of Chinese culture. Chinese dishes are famous for color, aroma, taste, meaning and appearance.The following are the eight most popular dishes among foreigners and Chinese. For customers’ convenience, we also list their Chinese character names and English pronunciations. These eight dishes are sweet and sour pork (chicken), gong bao chicken, ma po tofu, wontons, dumplings, spring rolls, chow mein and Peking duck. These dishes are available in most large restaurants in China.

1.Sweet and Sour Pork

One of the classic dishes of the Han people (90% of Chinese), sweet and sour pork is included in Zhejiang cuisine, Shandong cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, and Cantonese cuisine, of which the Shandong-cuisine style is the most popular.

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Ingredients and Seasonings

Main ingredients: 200g pork tenderloin, 1 egg, water

Seasonings: 2g salt, 5g white sugar, 10g light soy sauce, 10g starch, 30g tomato sauce, 10g vinegar, coriander

Preparation

1. Crack the egg into a bowl. Separate the egg white and yolk.

2. Slice the pork tenderloin into strips.

3. Prepare the marinade using a pinch of salt, one teaspoon of starch, two teaspoons of light soy sauce, and an egg white.

4. Marinade the pork strips for about 20 minutes.

5. Put the remaining starch in a bowl. Add some water and vinegar to make a starchy sauce.

Cooking Instructions

1. Pour the cooking oil into a wok and heat to 190°C (375°F). Add the marinated pork strips and fry them until they turn brown. Remove the cooked pork from the wok and place on a plate.

2. Leave some oil in the wok. Put the tomato sauce and white sugar into the wok, and heat until the oil and sauce are fully combined.

3. Add some water to the wok and thoroughly heat the sweet and sour sauce before adding the pork strips to it.

4. Pour in the starchy sauce. Stir-fry all the ingredients until the pork and sauce are thoroughly mixed together.

5. Serve on a plate and add some coriander for decoration.

2.Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao chicken is a famous Chinese dish made with diced chicken, chilies, and peanuts. In some Western countries, this world-famous dish is synonymous with Chinese cuisine.

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Ingredients and Seasonings

Main ingredients: 400-500g chicken, 100g peanuts

Seasonings: dried red chilies, 5 green onions, a piece of ginger, 5 pieces of garlic, 30g cooking oil, 15g thick broad-bean sauce, 5g cooking wine, 15g cooking starch, 2g salt, 5g rice vinegar, 10g soy sauce, and 5g sugar

Preparation

1. Clean the chicken breasts and dice them.

2. Stir together the cooking wine, cooking starch, and salt, and marinated the chicken cubes in the mixture for half an hour.

3. Soak peanuts in hot water for 10 minutes and remove the peanut skins.

4. Clean the dried red chili peppers and cut them into small pieces. Clean and chop the green onions. Clean and dice the ginger and garlic.

5. Make a bowl of starchy sauce with the sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and cooking wine.

Cooking Instructions

1. Use a moderate amount of oil to fry the peanuts until they turn yellow, drain them, and set them on a plate to cool. Cool peanuts are crisper.

2. Using high heat, heat oil in a hot wok, then add the chicken cubes, and fry until they turn slightly brown. Drain them and remove them to a plate.

3. Leave some cooking oil in the wok, and using a high heat stir-fry the dried chilies for 30 seconds to release the spice.

4. Then re-add the fried chicken cubes and add the diced garlic and ginger, and the thick broad-bean sauce. Stir-fry until the sauce becomes red.

5. Add the starchy sauce and chopped green onions, and re-add the cool fried peanuts. Stir-fry together for 30 seconds.

6. Serve it on a plate.

3.Mapo Tofu

Mapo tofu, one of the most notable regional Chinese dishes has become a popular Sichuan dish around the world. It can be said that, “Tourists who don’t taste mapo tofu have not really visited Sichuan.” Because of its tasty flavor, it has become a famous dish not only in China, but also in Japan, Singapore, and many other countries.

The Dish Described

Mapo tofu is a combination of tender tofu and spicy chili-and-bean-based sauce, sprinkled with minced meat, usually pork or beef, and topped with some chopped scallion pieces. The snow-white bean curd, red beef, and green scallion contribute to a colorful, spicy, tender, and aromatic dish.

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Ingredients and Seasonings

Main ingredients: 500g fresh tofu, 150g minced (scalped) beef, 50g green onions

Seasonings: 120g cooking oil, 5.5g salt, 20 ml Mapo tofu sauce (soy sauce), chili powder (to taste), 20g Pixian bean paste, 250g double-boiled soup (made from bone with ginger and pepper), 40g starch and water (the starchy sauce), (2g chicken powder)

Preparation

1. Dice the tofu into 2 cm (½–1″) cubes, and put them into a bowl of hot water to remove astringency.

2. Clean and cut the green onions into small pieces

3. Make the starchy sauce by mixing the starch and water.

Cooking Instructions

1. Heat up a wok with the prepared vegetable oil to around 80 °C.

2. Fry the chopped beef in the wok till it becomes light brown, and then add the salt, Mapo tofu sauce, chili powder and Pixian bean paste. Keep frying.

3. Add the double-boiled soup and diced tofu, and use a moderate heat to cook till tasty.

4. Add the garlic sprouts and soy sauce, cook for a few seconds and thicken with the starchy sauce. (Add chicken powder if you like.)

5. Serve in a shallow bowl, topped with chili powder and chopped spring green onions.

There is a four-word Chinese saying for cooking Mapo tofu: ‘numbing, spicy, hot, and integrated’.

4.Wontons

Wonton (pronounced “hún tún” or “hún tun” in Chinese pinyin, pronounced “wěn tēn” in Cantonese, and “wonton” in English) is a traditional regional pasta of the Han nationality in China. Originating from northern China, wontons are similar to dumpling and are usually served in soup.

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Ingredients and Seasonings

Main ingredients: 175g minced pork, 340g chopped fresh vegetable (Chinese cabbage or celery), 24 (3.5 inch square) wonton wrappers

Preparation

In a large bowl, combine pork, sugar, salt, wine, soy sauce, green onion, and ginger. Blend well, and let stand for 10 minutes.

Direction

The way of making wonton varies from regions to regions. The easiest way is to place, roll it up with a chopstick, and press the top corner and the bottom to seal it.Or, you can place about one teaspoon of the filling at the center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten all 4 edges of wonton wrapper with water, and then pull the top corner down to the bottom, folding the wrapper over the filling to make a triangle. Press edges firmly to make a seal. Bring left and right corners together above the filling. Overlap the tips of these corners, moisten and press together. Continue until all wrappers are used.

For soup

Bring some chicken soup to boil. Carefully place wontons (usually 10 – 15 wontons for each person) into boiling soup without crowding, and cook for 3 – 5 minutes till the wontons float to the surface. It’s best to serve with some white pepper powder, several drops of sesame oil, and oyster oil.

Wonton Described

A piece of wonton wrapper is a 6×6 cm square, or a 5×7cm isosceles trapezoid; and a piece of dumpling wrapper is a circle 7cm in diameter.

Wonton wrapper is thinner than dumpling’s and looks crystal after cooking. If you cook the same amount of wontons and dumplings in boiled waterthe wontons will cook  easier and faster.The soup of wanton is the key of its flavor, while the dip is all-important to dumpling.

5.Chinese Dumplings

Dumplings are an important Chinese New Year food in northern China. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, Northerners usually make and eat dumplings. There are many ways to cook dumplings, including boiling, steaming, and frying.

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Ingredients: 600g wheat flour, 400g ground pork, 100g Chinese cabbage, 2 eggs, some ginger, green onion and some garlic

Seasoning: 5–10g salt, 20g soy sauce, sugar, cooking wine, sesame oil, chicken powder

Preparation and Cooking Instructions

1. Make the Dumpling Wrappers

a) Put the wheat flour in a basin. Add some salt and mix evenly. Pour water in the center of the flour. Knead and stir the flour into dough. Cover the dough with a wet cloth for about half an hour.

b) Sprinkle some flour onto a board and place the dough on the board. Knead the dough into a long strip and cut it into dumpling-skin-size pieces.

c) Roll each small piece flat with a rolling pin to make the dumpling wrappers. Stack the wrappers aside, sprinkling some flour on each to prevent them from sticking together.

2. Make the Dumpling Filling

a) Clean and mince the pork.

b) Clean and mince the Chinese cabbage.

c) Mix the ground pork with the minced Chinese cabbage, salt, cooking wine, chicken powder, sugar, eggs, and some water, and stir them evenly.

3. Fill the Dumplings

a) Put a spoon of filling into the center of each wrapper.

b) Fold and pinch the wrapper edge together hard.

c) Make sure the wrapper edge is sealed.

4. Make the Dipping Sauce (Adjust to Your Taste)

a) Clean and chop some green onion, ginger, and garlic.

b) Make starchy sauce by mixing starch, boiled water, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

c) Add the sliced ginger and garlic to an oiled wok, and stir-fry them until the fragrance is released.

d) Add the starchy sauce to the wok and bring to the boil.

e) Add the chopped green onions. Stir-fry quickly to finish the dipping sauce.

5. Cook the Dumplings

a) Boil some water, and add the dumplings one by one. While boiling the dumplings, stir them to prevent them from sticking together or to the pot.

b) When the water boils again, add a small cup of water. Cover and repeat twice more.

c) Drain the dumplings and serve them in a dish.

6.Chow Mein

Chow mein refers to stir-fried noodles with little  soup that are characterized by a salty taste. The name is from the Taishan Chinese dialect (a kind of Cantonese). Taishan is a county of Guangdong province. There are many varieties of chow mien all over the world. It is a famous Chinese cuisine.The different kinds of noodles used in chow mein include rice noodles, flat noodles, fine noodles, sliced noodles, filleted noodles, silk noodles, and more, Chow mein is usually stir fried with brown and glossy soy sauce.

Varieties of Chow Mein

There are many kinds of chow mein including shredded meat (pork, beef, mutton, or  chicken) chow mein, egg chow mein, seafood chow mein, and plain chow mein.

Beef Chow Mein

Beef chow mein is a main course with noodles and beef being its main ingredient . It is very delicious, and  nutritious.

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Ingredients and Condiments

Main ingredients: 200 g salted beef, one section of fried noodle, and an appropriate amount of green onions

Seasonings: a piece of ginger, 20g cooking oil,15g soy sauce

Cooking Method  

1. Cut the fried noodle into several pieces.

2. Add oil into the wok and heat it up to thirty-five percent hot. Place the noodles into the wok and fry them crisp, then put them into a bowl touse later.

3. Drizzle with a dash of oil again, and stir-fry with beef until well-done. Pour them out and filter out the oil.

4. Add scallions, ginger slices and beef into the wok, then add some cooking wine.

5.Mix soup andamylum together evenly with oyster sauce, and stir them into a starchy sauce.

6. Spare the sauce evenly on the noodles, pile them onto a plate and it is done.

The cooking methods of pork, mutton, and chicken chow mein are the same as beef chow mein. The only difference is the meat.

Egg Chow Mein

Egg Chow Mein is a delicious Chinese recipe. Learn how to make/prepare Egg Chowmein by following this easy recipe.

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Ingredients and Condiments

Noodles (200g), eggs (100g), vegetables (100g), scallions(10g), salt (3g), soy sauce (25g), peanut oil (50g).

Cooking Method

1. Break the eggs and put them into a bowl. Beat the eggs with chopsticks until thoroughly mixed . Add a little refined salt  and set them aside to  use later.

2. Wash vegetables and cut them into small pieces. Clean the scallions and dice them finely. Set them by to use later.

3. Cook the noodles until they are well-done. Rinse them with cool water. Dish them out of the wok and leave them to cool.

4. Add an appropriate amount of peanut oil into the wok. Heat up the wok until it is seventy percent hot. Add the egg mixture into the wok and stir the eggs around until they are scattered and broken. Place them in a bowl when done.

5. Get another wok and heat it up with the rest of the peanut oil to seventy percent hot. Then add the scallion pieces into the wok. When the scallions spread their fragrance, drop rape pieces, soy sauce, and refined salt into the wok. Cook them until welldone.

6. Nextdish them out and leave the juice in the wok. Bring  the juice to a boil then put the noodles into the wok and stir for about 3 minutes. When the juice has cooked out and the noodles are well-done, add the eggs and vegetable pieces. Mix them evenly then  serve.

Seafood Chow Mein

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Ingredients and Condiments

Hand-pulled noodles (boil to well-done), fresh oysters (soak in ice water after being boiled to well-done, then drain), fresh shrimp (boil the shrimp to well-done), short necked clams ( the remaining  meat after being boiled to well-done), mushrooms, peppers, gingers, and scallion pieces.

Condiments: a large tablespoon of garlic lobster sauce and oyster sauce eachcooking wine, soup stock (soup which is used to boil short necked clams), half a bowl of rice, and a little salt.

Cooking Method

Heat up the wok with two lager tablespoons of oil. Add peppers, gingers and scallion pieces. Fry them until the fragrance bursts out. Drop oysters, shrimps, clams, and mushrooms into the wok. Stir-fry them immediately for a fewminutes , and then remove from dish.

Boil half a bowl of soup stock with some salt. Put the well-done noodles into the wok and stir-fry them until the soup cooks out. Add the seafood back, fry evenly, then the dish is finished.

Plain Chow Mein

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Plain chow mein is a kind of noodles stir-fried with vegetables.  This colorful dish is very appetizing.

Ingredients and Condiments

Noodles (500g), dried beancurd sticks (40g), fresh mushrooms (60g), winter bamboo shoots (60g), flowering cabbage (100g), scallions (10g), gingers (5g), salt (6g), monosodium glutamate (3g), soy sauce (4g), cooking wine (5g), sesame oil (10g), peanut oil (35g).

Cooking Method

1. Cut the mushrooms into slices, flowering cabbage into sections, and bamboo shoots into pieces. Soak the dried beancurd sticks with warm water, wash them, then chop into pieces. Slice scallions and gingers into filiform pieces after removing their peels. Set them aside for later use.

2. Cook the noodles until they are well-done. Put them out and leave them to cool.

3. Heat up the wok with peanut oil. Then add the noodles and stir-fry until they take on a golden color. Dish up and remove the oil.

4. Get another wok. Spread a little peanut oil, and heat the wok to seventy to eighty percent hot.

5. Drop the filiform scallions and gingers to stir into the wok.

6. Then add mushrooms, dried beancurd sticks, fresh bamboo shoots, and flowering cabbage and fry themthoroughly.

7.Add the cooking wine, soy sauce, refined salt, and light soup and bring to a  boil.

8. Then mix the fried noodles in and stir-fry together. Turn down the heat and braise with a cover for a while.

9.Put in the monosodium glutamate and drop the sesame oil, and then the dish is done.

7.Beijing Roast Duck

A saying that is often heard is: “There are two things you must do in Beijing: eat Beijing Roast Duck and see the Great Wall.” Therefore, tasting Beijing Roast Duck is a key part of any Beijing Tour. Beijing Duck has even been dubbed “the number one delicious food in the world.”

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Unique Manner of Serving and Eating Beijing Duck

The manner of serving and eating Beijing Duck is also unique. The chef presents you the whole duck before taking it away for slicing. One duck may produce about 120 very thin slices, each containing both meat and skin. The duck slices are brought back to the table with some thin pancakes, green onion or shallot, sweet soybean paste and fresh cucumber, and sometimes garlic paste and sugar. The good way to enjoy the Beijing Duck is as follows: take a piece of the pancake in one hand, then put three or four slices of the duck onto the pancake with each of the above mentioned vegetables and seasonings. The soybean paste is most important. Finally roll up the pancake and eat it.

Nearly every part of the duck can be prepared as food. Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant serves the so called All Duck Banquet, in which the bone of the duck together with cabbage and Chinese water melon is made into a fresh white soup and is served at the end of the banquet.

The Popularity of Beijing Duck in Abroad

The Beijing Roast Duck is not only popular in China but also abroad. The former US Secretary of State Dr. Kissinger, for instance, is extremely fond of Beijing Roast Duck. He takes every possible chance to taste it. He thus plays an important role of advertising Roast Duck in the States and many restaurants there try to serve this delicacy. An interesting story is heard in the US about the duck. At first the cooking method for roast duck was against the state food legislation of California, therefore it was banned. To solve the problem Roast Duck was sent to California University for testing. The test results showed that Peking Duck was safe as food. What surprised others was that the Roast Duck was so delicious that the scientists in the lab ate up all the tested duck. Roast Duck had long been a best seller in Beijing restaurants.

The Bush family, the family of two former US Presidents, are widely known to be real Beijing Roast Duck lovers. Their tradition of eating Roast Duck started from President Bush Senior in the 1970s when he was working in the US Embassy of Beijing. Returning home, he still can not resist the temptation of this food and often enjoys it with his whole family at a restaurant called Beijing Restaurant in North Virginia. His love for the duck has already been passed down to his sons and grandchildren. Of course, celebrities who have visited this restaurant include many others. Good examples are the Philippines President, a Thai Queen, princes from Saudi Arabia, the former US Minister of Defense, as well as former and current US State Secretaries Generals Powell and Rice. The hundreds of picture hanging inside the restaurant are the best evidence.

8.Spring Rolls

Spring rolls, also named ‘spring pancakes’ or ‘thin pancakes’ , are a traditional Chinese Chinese New Year food. They are popular around the world, but especially in regions south of the Yangtze River.

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How Spring Rolls Are Made

  • 1. Mix white flour with a little water and salt, knead into a dough and bake it into round wrappers.
  • 2. Add the filling a vegetable and meat filling in most places, but a red bean paste filling is used in north China on the wrappers
  • 3. Roll the wrappers, folding the two ends up
  • 4. Deep-fry the spring rolls until they are golden brown and crispy.

In China and Overseas

Chinese spring rolls are generally smaller in China. A 20-cm dim sum dish can hold more than ten.

Spring rolls served in Chinese restaurants in America reportedly usually have meat fillings, and can be as big as hamburgers. UK Chinese takeaway spring rolls are about an inch wide and 3 inches long (3 x 8 cm).

History and Origin

According to records, before the Tang Dynasty (618–907), everyone made a kind of thin pancake with flour on the day of ‘the Beginning of Spring’. People put them in a dish and added special vegetables and fruits. This was called the ‘spring dish’ . It was sent to relatives and friends as a spring present and blessing.

In the Tang Dynasty, the ‘spring dish’ was generally decorated with carrots and celery by the poor, while it had various additions in rich families. There were sauces, baked and salted meats, various fried dishes, spinach, chives, beansprouts, bean vermicelli, and eggs.

In the Song Dynasty, the ‘spring dish’ served in the imperial palace was even more luxurious.

In the Ming and Qing dynasties (1367–1911), with the development of cookery skills, cooks rolled the traditional pancakes into mignon spring rolls. They were not only well-liked by common folk, but were also famous in the palace.

During the Qing Dynasty, when the grand banquet — the Manchu Han Imperial Feast  with 128 dishes — was held, spring rolls were served as one of its nine main pastries.

Now, spring rolls have many delicious varieties. They are better than ever before.

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