The post was written by Anna Rugg
When you first arrive in a new country, the food options can be overwhelming, and well chicken’s feet aren’t most westerners’ favorite delicacy. But there are so many wonderful foods in China, and many of them are consistently loved even by foreigners here.
We explored many kinds of Chinese food when we learn Chinese in China. Here are a few of the simple foods that we, and most other foreigners, love in China:
Fried Rice (chǎo fàn, 炒饭) – The great thing about fried rice is that it is a complete meal in and of itself. Protein, vegetables, and carbs all fried together into one tasty dish. Fried rice can be found easily all over China and is inexpensive and filling. This is a great dish to get started with when exploring Chinese cuisine.
Fried Noodles (chǎo miàn, 炒面) – Very similar to fried rice but for noodle lovers. Just be sure to pronounce it correctly. Avoid butchered pronunciation of chow main that is so common in America.
Scrambled eggs fried with tomatoes (xīhóngshì chǎo jīdàn, 西红柿炒鸡蛋) – This is a favorite among Westerns new to China. It is simple, tasty, and relatively familiar to something you might find in the West.
Steamed Buns (bāo zi, 包子) – These simple steamed buns can range from plain to packed with flavor. They can be both sweet and savory varieties. Bao zi are usually one of the favorite options for a Chinese breakfast among foreigners, but they can be eaten at any time of day. They are sold all over in small shops.
Fried Dough Sticks (yóu tiáo, 油条) – You tiao is similar to a western doughnut. It is light and fluffy dough fried in oil, but they are savory not sweet and always served hot. Often paired with warm soy milk (dòu jiāng, 豆浆), you tiao are the Chinese equivalent of a doughnut and coffee breakfast.
Chinese Dumplings (jiǎo zi, 饺子) – This is our family’s personal favorite Chinese food. Unfortunately, it is also one of the least exported. It is very unusual to find at a Chinese food restaurant in the States, so most people are completely unaware of this culinary treasure. They are eaten specially at Chinese new year because they are said to resemble nuggets of gold, but they are available year round. Jiao zi are translated as “dumplings,” but they are really more similar to a Chinese meat ravioli. Jiao zi are available in small and large restaurants all over, pre-made in the grocery store, or you can even learn how to make your own with ingredients fresh from the market.
There are many more exciting options to try, but these are a great starting place when beginning to explore the world of Chinese cuisine.
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