There's so Much More to Chinese Food than You Thought: Tease Your Taste Buds with Authentic Chinese Street Food (2019)

There's so Much More to Chinese Food than You Thought: Tease Your Taste Buds with Authentic Chinese Street Food (2019)

Are you visiting China for the first time? Don't miss out on the exquisite Chinese food culture, which is famous for its rich taste and whose aroma and appearance may even be enough to make your taste buds ask for more! We present to you some of the native Chinese street food you won't find anywhere else in the world along with some useful tips to keep in mind before trying out this one of its kind food.

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Chinese Street Food

History of Chinese Cuisine

The people of China believe in an ancient saying that “Food is the first necessity of the people”. Whether poor or rich, everyone in China believes that nutritious and healthy food is the right of everyone. They have been following this for thousands of years, resulting in developing their exquisite Chinese cuisine. Chinese cuisine has a history that goes way back to Zhou dynasty of 5000 years ago.

Chinese food started to get more fame from 1979 when China got its independence. Today, Chinese food rules the world, and you'd hardly hear from someone that they haven't ever tried Chinese.

Food & Health in China

Chinese food is trendy across the world, and that is because of the taste of the food and the ingredients used in it. There are several health benefits in eating Chinese cuisine, as most of the dishes are cooked without using any unhealthy oils or additives. Food is also not overcooked as it reaps the grain of nutrition, which is beneficial for health.

Street Dining in China

One of the best ways to taste Chinese cuisine is to visit the street food stalls in China. In every corner of China, you will be able to find food stalls selling street food. Wide range of street foods is available in China for you to taste from. From dumplings to steamed buns, you get a different variety in each option of food. They are made with different kind of meats, vegetables, and eggs and even with seafood.

Famous Street Food for Breakfast

Some of the most popular Chinese breakfast from the streets include:

  • Steamed Buns
  • Deep fried dough sticks with soya milk
  • Rice Porridge
  • Dumplings
  • Wheat noodles.

Famous Street Food for Lunch

Chinese also don't go easy on their lunches and their most popular lunch foods are:

  • Covered Rice
  • Jianbing (a type of pancake)
  • Chinese Burgers
  • Wheat Noodles
  • Dumplings

Famous Street Food for Dinner

Famous street food for dinner

  • Stinky Tofu
  • Chinese Fried Rice
  • Chinese Noodles
  • Chinese Tea Eggs
  • Chinese Crepes

Chinese Street Food Tips

Chinese street food is considered as the most diverse street foods in the entire world as you get so many varieties to taste from, and it would be overwhelming to see so many food stalls serving endless varieties of food on every nook and crook of major towns.

  • Before you start tasting the Chinese street food, you should first make a list of the best street food available in China. You need to make a list based on the time when you are going for food tasting. You get different types of dishes at different times of the day.

  • Once you have a list, your next step would be to search for the best restaurants serving these dishes. Not every stall can sell the best noodles in China. There will only be some specific stalls that serve the authentic and tastiest Chinese food, and it's the same with all other dishes.

  • Make sure the unique dish you've selected for yourself doesn't include something which you may not like to eat. Ask vendors beforehand if the dish is veg or non-veg.

The list of high-end restaurants available in China is also endless, but Chinese food stalls are your way to go for experiencing the real and authentic Chinese food.

Best Street Foods to Try in China

1. Chinese Dumplings

One of the most popular and essential foods in Chinese culture is Chinese Dumplings. The shape of the Chinese silver and gold ingots are in the form of Chinese Dumplings and hence, they are considered as a symbol of wealth. It's a very popular dish during the new year’s eve. The entire family gets together to make these dumplings and one gold or silver coin is hidden in one of the dumplings. Whoever gets it is considered the luckiest.

They are known as Jiao Zi in China. Based on how they are made, there are three different types of dumplings available in China – boiled dumplings, steamed dumplings, and pan-fried dumplings. The most common kind of dumplings in China are boiled dumplings. You can use any meat or cooked vegetables to make their fillings, and any of the three methods, as mentioned above, can be used to prepare these.

2. Steamed Buns


The Chinese name for steamed buns is Bao or Baozi which are one of a kind of dumplings. They are made in a similar manner as of dumplings, the only difference being in the shapes in which they are prepared.

Similar to the dumplings, for these steam buns, you can use any stuffing of your choice. They are slightly sweet and are delicious to eat. These steamed buns are usually eaten for breakfast. There are even steamed buns without any stuffing and are known as Mantou buns here.

3. Chinese Hamburgers

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Hamburgers are considered to be the food of the west. Many people have a misconception that hamburgers originated in the west only. But that's not true at all. They are originally from China! These are set to be originated during the Qin Dynasty which goes back to as long as 221 BC to 207 BC.

They are called Rou Jia Mo which means meat burger or meat sandwich. They are made with cooked meat and pita bun. There may be a difference in taste and the way they are made in China and the United States, but they are basically from China only. These hamburgers are one of the most sought after street foods available in the Chinese markets, and you ought to give them a try!

4. Street Barbecue Sticks

Chinese Street Barbecue Sticks or also known as Shaokao, are one of the most famous street foods available throughout China. They are nothing but a slight variation of Kebabs. Being one of the most popular in Beijing, they can be found around every corner stalls which are made with various kinds of meat, and are marinated with rich spices and cooked over charcoal.

You can even grill these on your own, but you'll be missing the rich taste that comes after cooking over charcoal. Charcoal adds a different flavour and aroma to it, that makes it very special. Bamboo skewers or steel skewers are used for making the barbecue sticks. Eat them with or without sauces; they are sure to make your taste buds go wild!

5. Chinese Crepes

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Chinese dumplings and steamed buns are the first things to cross the mind of every street food lover when talked about Chinese food. But we present to you another popular Chinese street delicacy - Chinese Crepes, otherwise known as Jianbing. These are made from wheat flour and mung flour. They are prepared like pancakes and eggs are spread all over them. A layer of spicy and tangy pickles are also spread over the pancakes to add more taste to them.

This is one of the very simple breakfasts available on the streets of China. The vendors start preparing the Chinese Crepes from five in the morning, and they are available for the whole day. They are thin and crisp with a sweet, tangy, and spicy flavour.

6. Chinese Noodles

Chinese noodles have a history of more than 4000 years. It's one of the most sought after delicacies around the world, but what better place would be there to try authentic Chinese noodles than China? They are made from different kinds of flours, and you'd be amazed to see the varieties present over there. They are usually made from all purpose flour and are delicious to eat. Unlike Indian noodles, they are made without any spices and are made using simple ingredients with meat, chicken, seafood, pork, or any other type of meats and vegetables. A lot of types of sauces are also used to add more flavour to them.

7. Chinese Fried Rice


Just like Chinese noodles, Chinese fried rice is also another around the world, famous Chinese street food. They are simple to make and yummy to taste. A lot of Chinese fried rice varieties can be made like vegetable fried rice, egg fried rice, chicken, pork, or other meat fried rice. No extra spices are added to give you the authentic Chinese rice, and only garlic and soy sauces are combined for an exquisite flavour. It's famous for being eaten with side dishes such as Manchurian.

8. Stinky Tofu

Stinky food doesn't sound like a tasty name, does it? But trust us on this one that it's only of the most famous street delicacies in China as well as Hong Kong. This food is usually sold during nights and mostly on street stalls only. This tofu is fermented using milk and a mix of meat, vegetables, and brine of fish. Strong tofu may be fermented for even around a month before it's ready to be served. The stinky tofu is definitely stinky but is eaten and loved all around China.

9. Candied Haws


One of the prominent and traditional snacks in China is Candied Haws. This snack is popularly known as Tanghulu in Chinese, which is over a thousand years old delicacy from the Song Dynasty. This food is a portion of popular street food available on the streets of China. On a bamboo skewer, Chinese candied hawthorns are used for the making of the candied Haws. Sugar is also used in the making of these candied Haws, and when you chew them, a tangy flavour explodes in your mouth.

10. Deep Fried Dough Sticks with Soy Milk

One of the most prepared quick snacks in China is deep-fried dough sticks with soy milk. This snack is very popular and is available on the streets of China. This breakfast is a combination of warm soy milk and deep fried crispy dough sticks. Besides being delicious, it's very easy to make as well.

11. Glutinous Rice Balls


Made of the chewy wrapper and sweet fillings, these glutinous rice balls are a delight to eat. They are known as Tang Yuan in Chinese. Rice flour is used for the making the outer wrapping, and it is filled with sugar, lard and ground nuts. The fresh glutinous rice balls taste really good when eaten fresh.

12. Chinese Milk Tea

There is an ancient history associated with China regarding drinking tea. Milk Tea in China is made using thick and fresh milk. It is usually very strong with perfect taste and flavour. Condensed milk is used instead of usual milk for making this kind of tea. Chinese tea is different from Chinese milk tea as the Chinese tea is usually served plain without any milk.

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From our editorial team

Real Street Food Lies in the Streets Only

While in China, you may get into the dilemma of whether having your food from the top-notch restaurants or those 'cheap street vendors'. Street food has come a long way down, and these days, street vendors take proper care of hygiene and other related things. If you genuinely want to experience what Chinese street food is about, go and visit the real streets and have one of the best food experiences you've ever had. Happy eating!