The 11 Most Popular Chinese Dishes, Tasty Chinese Food

Get the inside scoop on what to order (customer favorites) in China: sweet and sour pork, kung pao chicken, fried noodles, or something even better.

The 11 Most Popular Chinese Dishes, Tasty Chinese Food

Among the many cultural traditions related to Chinese cuisine are its long history, the diversity of its cooking styles and its exquisite taste. It is believed that Chinese dishes are famous for their color, aroma, taste, meaning, presentation, and beauty.

Foreigners and Chinese alike are fond of the following 15 dishes. They can be found in most large restaurants in China. 


One way to tell real Chinese food lovers apart is to serve hotpot (hugu). I am pretty sure you enjoy Chinese cuisine if you consistently order hotpot instead of just chow mein, dim sum, and fired rice.

The broth, or the liquid in which the meat slices and vegetables are cooked, is the real secret behind whether a hotpot is good or not. There are usually three broth choices available: mushroom, tomato, original, and spicy. But still, the flavor can differ depending on whether you serve the meat with a sauce or not. Different types can be found: a classic is peanut butter and garlic with chopped onions and sesame oil.

Sichuan Pork

A popular Sichuan cuisine dish, Sichuan Pork, actually, is poached slices of spicy pork ( shuzh rupiàn).

To preserve freshness and tenderness, pork is cooked with a coating made of egg white and starch in water rather than stir-frying, which consumes a lot of oil and can make the pork very easily overcook.

This peppery and spicy soup is commonly found in Sichuan cuisine. Throughout your meal, you will notice that every piece of meat contains an abundant amount of juices with a fragrant, fresh scent.

Braised Pork Balls in Gravy

In Chinese, braised pork balls with gravy ( zh x wánzi) are called “chinese meatballs”. Whether you’re rooting for Italian or Chinese cuisine, Chinese meatballs are probably right up your alley. 

You'll be tempted to keep eating the smooth and flavorful gravy like it's almost a "drug sauce" that makes you want more and more. Do you know how many calories it has? If you were me, you wouldn’t give a damn!

Shrimp with Vermicelli and Garlic

Shrimps with vermicelli and garlic (Garlic vermicelli steamed shrimp suànróng fns zhng xi) have gained popularity with both foreigners and Chinese younger generations in the past few years.

This dish has a strong garlic flavor, blended with a seafood sauce flavor. The freshly cooked shrimp bursts with sweetness. Vegetable vermicelli absorbed all dribbles of juice running down at the bottom. The secret behind this delicacy is some Chinese yellow wine used to capture the aroma and emphasize the flavor.


Jiozi ( dumpling ) are small delicacies made from minced meat surrounded by sliced vegetables in a thin dough skin. In North China, dumplings have a history of 1,800 years and are a traditional food that is often enjoyed.

The most commonly used stuffings are minced pork, diced shrimp, ground chicken, ground beef, and vegetables. A variety of ways can be used to cook it, including steaming, frying, and boiling. Dumplings are a traditional Chinese New Year’s Eve dish eaten by the Chinese community. Click here for tips on making Chinese dumplings.

Chow Mein

A Chinese character that means stir-fried noodles is pronounced as "Chow Mien" in Cantonese. Its main ingredients are noodles, meat (usually chicken, beef, shrimp, or pork), onions, celery, and spices.

When the noodles are to be cooked in boiling water for making chow mein, they need to be cooked for quite a while. You can then proceed to stir-frying after the potatoes have cooled. 

Peking Roasted Duck

The Peking duck (Bijng koy) dish was invented by Chinese cooks in Beijing and is now a famous dish.

A thin and crispy skin makes Peking duck so popular. In addition to pancakes, sweet bean sauce, or soy sauce with mashed garlic, Peking duck slices are often eaten with Soy sauce with ginger. You have to try this dish when you're in Beijing! Find out more about Peking Roasted Duck.

Steamed Vermicelli Rolls

A dim sum meal would be incomplete without the steamed vermicelli rolls (Intestinal powder chángfn). It is not only in the teahouses, morning tea restaurants, street food night bazaars, and street food night markets of Guangzhou, but is also a favorite for breakfast in middle-class restaurants in mainland China.

Rolled with various fillings, white sheets of rice starch are coated with a thin layer of oil. Among the traditional options are beef/pork, shrimp, oysters, mushrooms, egg, lettuce, watercress, and many more. Depending on individual preferences, the rolls may be topped with cooked peanut oil, raw soy sauce, chili paste, sesame sauce, or sesame sauce and steamed until all the flavors blend.

Fried Shrimp with Cashew Nuts

Another popular dish among foreigners in China is fried shrimp with cashew nuts (cashew shrimp yogu xirén). Everything is explained in its name. The shrimp are crispy and tender because they are peeled, and cashew nuts are crisp. The shrimps in this dish are usually tender and juicy, easy to deal with. This is nutritionally and smartly balanced, so it's a great choice for traveling with kids!

Sweet and Sour Pork

An orange-red color and an aromatic, sweet, and sour taste define sweet and sour pork loin (sweet and sour pork loin tángcù lj).

Since the very beginning, sweet and sour pork was the only dish served; however, in order to meet the needs of the customers, development has taken place. It can also be made with beef, chicken or pork ribs. 

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken ( gngbào jdng ) is one of the most popular Sichuan-based dishes, enjoyed by both foreigners and Chinese alike. Chipotle chilies, fried peanuts, and sliced chicken make up the major ingredients of this dish.

Westerners have adapted the Chinese dish gong bao chicken in Western style, in which the diced chicken is coated with cornstarch, vegetables, sweet and sour sauce, and mashed garlic are added.


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