10 Foods You Must Try in China
One of the most exciting aspects of traveling is trying new food, typically different from what you're used to back home.
Whether it's completely new or the authentic version of the replicas in your home country, eating in China is definitely an experience.
Here are 10 foods you must try while in China:
Hot soup dumplings (xiao long bao)
The most famous are in Shanghai, though you'll find them at many restaurants. I especially enjoyed a lightly fried version I had (pictured above) in Hangzhou!
To eat the dumplings without having the soup explode everywhere, simply take a small bite of the dumpling to make a hole, suck out the soup, and then eat the rest.
Black rice crackers
These light, airy black rice cakes (this kind is actually purple) are some of the best snacks I've had! Both sweet and salty, they satisfy any snack craving.
Hot pot is great any time of year, but this would be especially good in the cold winter months. The pot is full of boiling broth, to which you add meat, noodles, and vegetables and let them cook. Then you take out what you'd like from the pot and dip it into some sauce.
You'll find these all over the streets and see a ton of people eating them on a hot, summer day.
If you're a foreigner, the street seller will most likely try to charge you a higher price - our Chinese co-worker told us that the seller literally told him that if he weren't with us, she would've charged us many times what we paid!
We got these for 1 yuan each (super cheap, that's about $0.16 USD).
Beijing is known for Peking duck and you are bound to stumble upon restaurants specializing in it. Take freshly carved duck slices and wrap them up in a small, thin rice "tortilla" with a small selection of vegetables or even rice.
Ice Monster (shaved ice)
This is not your average dessert. Originally from Taiwan, the shaved ice is not like a snow cone, rather it is much lighter and sweeter.
The shaved ice tops ice cream and fruit - we tried the most popular mango version, which came with mango shaved ice, mango sorbet, and actual slices of mango.
Here's a photo of what it looks like. It's huge, so make sure to share with a friend or two (or get a container to have leftovers).
Sweet and sour pork
The Chinese eat more pork than every other country in the world combined, so you'll find no shortage of it in this country.
Sweet and sour pork is a safe option for those less adventurous, though very delicious all the same.
Green tea originates from China so you are bound to find the best, freshest green tea here. Visit a tea plantation (they're incredibly beautiful!) to learn more about the process of green tea.
Chances are you've already tried watermelon in life and it's not a surprising food to see in many places. However, you're bound to find watermelon served at many, if not all, meals of the day, and even served sliced fresh in bowls on the street.
It makes for a sweet break from spicy, sauce-heavy options during a meal.
Frozen froyo popsicle
Okay, so this froyo shop is originally from Australia (Melbourne) but if you find yourself at the Jiuxianquao Indigo mall in Beijing you HAVE to try it. Seriously such a great invention.
For the extra adventurous...
Fried scorpions, frog legs, and chicken feet are a few other food options you may come across. If that's new to you and you're willing to try it, then go for it! Who knows, you just might find your new favorite food.
Also, some restaurants serve smelly tofu. This is literally labeled "smelly tofu" on menus because of its supposedly strong, unbearable stench. Order only if you dare!
These are just a few of many foods to try in China. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below!
GOING TO CHINA SOON?
Book a place to stay - my all-time favorite booking website is the well-known Booking.com - I’ve used it for years all over the world.
It is the easiest way to search and find the best hotels (hostels too!), especially based on reviews. I always check the reviews on Booking, even if it’s a name-brand hotel. You never know!