How many times have you felt too tired to cook and ordered Chinese take out? If you think that’s delicious, it should come as no surprise that China is one of the best countries in the world for food. Chinese takeout is not even close to being a good representation of all the tasty Chinese food that exists.
If you aren’t familiar with Chinese street foods, you’re in for an entirely new culinary experience. Street food culture began in the Tang Dynasty and continues to evolve, having a major influence on other cuisines across Asia. While you may not be able to book a spontaneous flight to China anytime soon, you can learn about some of the most flavorful Chinese street foods and try them out for yourself.
You might want to grab a snack to eat because this is sure to make you hungry.
- Beijing Pancake
The Beijing pancake is at the top of the list because of how popular and common it is. It’s over 2000 years old and a native dish to Northeast China.
It begins with the batter spread onto a hotplate. Then there are various toppings, sauces, and spices placed on the crunching batter. Followed by a golden sheet of crispy batter added on top.
Finally, you fold up the pancake and it’s done! While this tends to be a popular breakfast item, it’s worth eating at any time of the day.
No food list about Chinese food is complete without mentioning dumplings. These bite-size parcels are sold everywhere in China. You can find them at train stations, in lively public squares and, of course, at street stalls. Dumplings are made with thin dough and inside there is a soft meat and vegetable mix.
Something else you might not know, dumplings are thought to bring you good luck.
The great thing about dumplings is that they’re easy to make on your own but you can order them online! For example, Thexcj.com sells delicious packs of dumplings you can quickly serve up at home. It may not be the same as being in China but it comes pretty close.
- Fried Dough Stick
Here’s another breakfast item you’re going to love, it’s called the youtiao or fried dough stick. This is similar to the American doughnut. Essentially it’s pieces of dough that are thrown into the hot oil.
The dough becomes these fluffy sticks that are ready to eat. They’re perfectly paired with Chinese rice porridge or a cup of hot soy milk.
- Steamed Buns
Steamed buns are another street food that you’ve probably had before. They’re pillowy puffs that are served on bamboo steamer baskets. They’re made of thick dough, fluffy, and a heavier consistency than dumplings.
Essentially, steamed buns feel like you’re biting into a warm roll. There are all types of filling too, from sweet red beans to salty seaweed. You might think that it’s just a tasteless ball of dough until you bite in and it’s a heavy dose of flavor.
Steamed buns have an interesting history too, they’re an all-around classic food staple that’s been around for a long time and is sure to stick around.
- Layered Flatbread
It’s difficult to dislike carbs, they’re the main aspect of some of the most satisfying foods around the world. The layered flatbread is no different! Also called a shaobing, this is a bread/pastry that has a crisp exterior and a layered interior.
You’ll likely see these covered in sesame seeds and the inside filling will either be sweet or savory. This is another popular breakfast item that is flaky, crispy, crunchy, and chewy! It’s amazing how versatile all these foods can be.
The best part of all? These flatbreads are incredibly easy to make at home, so you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out on anything. There are a bunch of different recipes online to follow so just find your favorite and get to cooking.
- Candied Fruit
For anyone with a sweet tooth, hope you haven’t felt neglected. While many of the items on this list might have a sweet option, this is an undeniable dessert. Candied fruit on a stick, or tánghúlu, are a popular go-to Chinese treat.
These are skewered fruits such as grapes or strawberries that are doused in a sweet syrup which crystallizes and hardens. Candied fruits have been around for over 800 years and there’s an old wives tale that it helps with indigestion. You’ll bite down on the crunch exterior and get to the sweet fruit on the inside.
Your tastebuds are sure to be grateful.
- Fried Rice
Now to bring some more familiarity to this list. You may think of fried rice as your go-to takeout option but it’s on a whole other level in China. This well-known dish involves cracking an egg inside the wok followed by rice, spring onions, and then protein or vegetables.
Then it’s tossed and turned in high heat. The fried rice is poured out into a bowl and handed to you, ready to be devoured. You can learn to make your own fried rice at home or maybe consider making your next travel destination China.
Delicious Chinese Street Foods
With so much exquisite food around the world, it can be overwhelming to think of how much you have to try. That’s why you need to start small and work on expanding your palette. What better way to start than with one of the most loved types of cuisine in the world?
Everyone might be familiar with Chinese take out but not enough people are aware of Chinese street foods. You may not be in the position to roam the streets of Beijing but you can at least find duplicates near you. All you need is an open mind.
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