China has a very impressive restaurant scene. Even so, its street food scene is more delightful and a common favorite among many Chinese and tourists alike. It is an important part of Chinese culture, and the most delicious foods are hidden away in the narrow streets of China. While there are times when the food looks unclean, it is a great way for anyone to relax and satisfy the taste buds. Also, it is a great adventure, especially if you are new to Chinese culture and are looking for something to explore in the country.
That said, if you are a street lover and are willing to explore the experience of new food states, this article may just be for you. We will look at 10 of the best Chinese street foods that are popular around China.
Chinese Dumplings (Jiaozi)
These Chinese dumplings are sometimes filled with meat and they always have vegetables. They are one of the most common and popular street foods and are shaped like gold ingots. Because of their shape, most Chinese believe that they bring good luck when eaten.
They are either deep or shallow fried and are more enjoyable with vinegar or soy sauce which adds flavor to the dumplings. Chinese prefer to eat jiaozi mostly on the Chinese New Year, but other people enjoy it throughout the year.
Chinese Crepes (Jianbing)
The dough used to make Chinese crepes is made of grain flour and wheat, and it is fried on a griddle that has eggs as the base. All chefs who make Chinese crepes have rich chili sauce, lettuce, scallions, and cilantro at the center. However, you can always exclude whatever ingredients that you wouldn’t want in your crepe.
Jianbing is one of the most amazing foods to be eaten for breakfast. You can easily access Chinese crepes at popular tourist attractions, several street corners, and in the morning outside of subway stations.
Chinese burgers (Rou Jia Mo)
There are two main types of Chinese burgers. One is the Shaanxi Province lazhirous jiao that has pork dipped in gravy, and the other type is the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region’s yangrou roujiamo, which has lamb in it. The meat in the Rou Jia Mia is shredded and other sauces used often depend on what the chef prefers.
The main difference between Chinese burgers and American ones is in their buns. The buns on the burgers are thinner and their flavor comes from a specially made chili paste and a mix of meat gravy.
Chinese Kebabs (Chuan’r)
Chuan’r is among the most renowned foods in China and are mostly found during the summer season. You would find them at outdoor night stalls known as dapaidang, which have been specifically set aside to make and sell Chinese kebabs.
Chinese kebabs have either meat (pork, beef, or lamb) or vegetables, depending on your preference. The meat or vegetables is carefully skewered into thin bamboo sticks cut according to the chefs special. The kebabs are then coated with dried chili flakes, ground cumin spice, and salt. Once mixed and the perfect consistency is achieved, they are barbecued over charcoal fires until it is well cooked.
Pork chops with rice cakes on the side (Pai Gu Nian Gao)
Pork chops are an exciting part of Chinese food culture and are widely accepted by all Chinese. The pork chops are boiled first before deep-frying them. The boiling process involves adding sugar, ginger, oil, and sauce, and then dipped with glutinous rice flour to form a crunch layer over the chops. Afterward, it is deep-fried until brown. Once fried, you get a sticky meal with a juicy flavor alongside a well-mixed dipping sauce.
Bread Buns (Baozi)
These are made just like Chinese dumplings. The only difference is that the bread buns have thicker dough and more fillings for flavor. There are two types: the Xiaobao, which is the most renowned and has small buns, and the Dabao that is slightly bigger.
The bread buns from China are filled with either barbecued pork or vegetables, depending on your preference. The pork or vegetables are steamed lightly in steaming trays that are made from bamboo.
Chinese Noodle Soup (Banmian)
The noodle soup in China is made from fish stock, specifically anchovy stock as the base. More often than not, the ingredients include egg noodles that have anchovies, mushrooms, flour, and eggs. Even so, you can always choose variations of their noodle soups that use substitutes such as chicken, Sichuan pepper, chili or sausages. Depending on the sauces that the street vendor uses, the Chinese noodle soup leaves a tingling effect on your tongue once you are done eating.
Chicken Feet (Ji Zhua)
If you travel across China, you are likely to find chicken feet everywhere you go. While it raises a lot of stereotypes and odd impressions by Westerners and other people outside of Asia, it is quite the delicacy in China.
Chinese prefer to chew on chicken feet because they are a tasty snack all over Asia. Ordinarily, we would think that chicken feet do not have enough meat, but they actually have just the right amount of meet to keep you full for a few hours.
Fried Bugs and Assorted Crawlies
Have you ever visited a temple fair during Spring Festival? If you have, then one of the most popular street foods you will come across are fried bugs and assorted creepy crawlies. You will find yourself sampling a range of bugs such as scorpions, hairy spiders and silkworm larvae.
Also, you can easily find this delicacy in Beijing, but you will find assorted foods such as sea horses, fried starfish and so many other creatures worth exploring. While these are a little creepy and strange, you’d enjoy this if you are adventurous. However, you may want to avoid them if you have any protein allergies.
Tea Egg (Cha Ye Dan)
One of the most convenient street food snacks that most people in China enjoy is tea eggs. This dish features boiled eggs that have been soaked in a special soy mixture and tea. The soaking process gives them a brown color.
They are the easiest to find by the roadside and are the best option if you are looking for something subtle to dine on, especially if you are trying to resist any of the exotic items in our list.