Chinese food plates in a restaurant

China – Our Tips on Trying Chinese Food in China

This post was last updated on April 13th, 2020 at 09:18 am

Because China is a large country, Chinese food is also very varied. This is partly due to the fact that China has many climatic areas, which means that different types of food are available. In addition, the country has many inhabitants and many cultures, each with their own kitchens. You cannot really speak of one specific kitchen in China. In China, it is also common to present the food nicely. Part of Chinese cuisine comes from Indonesia.


Chinese Food, in China

It will not surprise anyone that Chinese food is mainly served with rice. In addition, many grains, millet, and wheat are eaten. The meat consists mainly of duck, chicken, pork, fish, and beef. A lot of vegetables are also used in the dishes. In addition to meat and vegetables, a lot of spices are used in China to add flavor to the food. Soup, and in particular noodle soup, is also often eaten. These are spicier than the noodle soup at your local supermarket!


TIP – The times when vegetarian food consisted of bread and water are over. You can get delicious vegetarian dishes in China.


In addition to traditional Chinese dishes, China also has “Western” food. In most hostels and hotels nowadays you can get a Western breakfast which mainly consists of coffee, tea, toast, fried egg, yogurt, and jam. In the restaurants, it is easy to order a Western dish, especially in the big cities.


Steamed buns, Chinese food usually eaten for breakfast
If you see a vendor selling these steamed buns, try it! They are very delicious!


Street Food

Just like in Thailand and Malaysia, China is also known for the many food stalls where you can get delicious dishes.


Street-food stalls display their cooking skills and many well-known dishes are invitingly waiting for you.


Try such a dish at least once, you’ll be surprised.


Bowl of noodles with vegetables and egg
A delicious bowl of noodles we got in Yunnan


Traditional Chinese Dishes

We recommend trying the traditional Chinese cuisine! The Chinese food that you can get from your local Chinese takeout restaurant is not the same as the food in China. Traditional Chinese food is more versatile. Eating in the local, smaller restaurants is a special experience. Although the food is a feast and all dishes are nicely served, you shouldn’t expect great works of art to appear on your plate.


TIP – If you’re hanging out with the locals you should offer to buy them a drink at a bar. However, do not argue with the Chinese about who pays for it! That is considered rude.


Most of the restaurants are very basic and they don’t have mood lighting. In addition, table manners are slightly different than ours. Slurping, smacking, noisy chewing, talking with your mouth full, spitting the food on the floor, it’s all part of China. The local restaurants in China may look bleak, but for the Chinese, it is all about the coziness that they create themselves. They prefer to eat with a group of friends, family and/or acquaintances in a busy dining room.


Chinese food is typically eaten with chopsticks. Whether you eat in a five-star restaurant or in an eatery by the side of the road, they use chopsticks everywhere. If you’ve never eaten with chopsticks it can be quite a challenge. Practice makes perfect and after a few times, a smooth mushroom or a lump of rice is no problem.


Traditional Chinese food on a table
Some traditional dishes of the Chinese cuisine


Drinks in China

Drinks are available in all shapes and sizes in China. Due to globalization, you can easily get Cola, Fanta or Heineken beer. Most supermarkets sell “Western” drinks. You will also find lots of iced tea and typical sweet Asian drinks in supermarkets.


The Chinese have only one word for alcoholic beverages; jiu. Usually, this is understood to mean wine although wine is also made from rice and does not taste like wine directly. Since the 19th century, the Chinese have also known beer, which is also called ‘pijiu’ in China. The most famous beer in China is Tsingtao Beer. This is even sold in many Western countries.


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