Updated: May 18, 2020
Do you want to level up from Chicken Chow Mein and try traditional Chinese dishes? If so, stay tuned to learn how to pronounce the names of these top 10 most symbolic Chinese dishes properly in Chinese. Before we start, remember to subscribe to our Youtube channel for free Chinese lessons every Thursday and Sunday.
Today we will learn how to pronounce the names of these Chinese dishes properly. And this is for all those of you plan to travel, work or study in China because sometimes menus at restaurants are all in Chinese and if you can’t read or write Chinese, it’ll be hard for you to order a dish. Learn these dishes to impress your friends along the way! Let’s start.
1. 饺子 (Jiǎozi) – Dumplings
You probably thought of dumplings when you thought of Chinese food and that is correct because dumplings are eaten all over China and during some Chinese festivals, people in the Northern regions of China also eat this too. But there are so many different types of dumplings such as being pan fried, boiled, and soup-based so we’ll learn how to say the different types so you can order the ones that you want in a restaurant. So we have:
· 水饺(shuǐjiǎo) : Boiled dumplings
This is literally translated as ‘water dumpling’ and are dumplings that are stuffed with either meat, vegetables or a combination and boiled. It is a staple in the Northern provinces of China who make these from fresh and enjoy these together with their family during the Lunar New Year.
· 锅贴 (guōtiē) : Potstickers
These are dumplings that are pan fried on one side and therefore are very crispy on the bottom and slightly softer on top. You may have also seen or heard of 生煎包 (shēng jiān bāo) which is similar in its cooking technique but resembles more of a round ball and is a Shanghainese speciality.
· 小笼包 (xiǎolóngbāo) :
This is another Shanghainese speciality and are dumplings that are steamed. The dumplings are filled with hot soup inside so be careful when you eat this or you’ll burn your tongue in the process. I like to poke a hole in it so the soup can leak onto my spoon and cool down for a bit. They are usually filled with pork.
· 汤圆 (tāngyuán) :
These are gooey glutinous rice dumplings that are normally eaten during the Winter Solstice and Lantern Festival. They are normally sweet and filled with black sesame, peanuts or red bean. Instead of serving them on a plate, they are plopped in hot soup which is sweet.
· 馄饨 (húntun) : These are commonly known as Wonton in the western world and are commonly served boiled in noodle soups.
2. 葱油饼 (Cōng yóubǐng) – Green onion pancake
I love green onions and this snack is one of my most favourite ones. It can be found all over China but originates from the northern regions of China. It is a savoury pancake that is made from flour and green onions.
3. 炸酱面 (Zhá jiàng miàn) – Fried sauce noodles (literally)
Ok this one doesn’t really translate well into English and you probably can’t tell what it is from the name. It is another dish that originates from Northern China and consists of thick wheat noodles. This is topped with a sauce made by simmering soybean paste with stir fired ground beef or sometimes pork. It is normally garnished with fresh or pickled vegetables such as cucumber or radish too. If you are familiar with Jjajangmyeon, a Chinese inspired Korean dish, then you’ll know exactly what this one is.
4. 北京烤鸭 (Běijīng kǎoyā) – Peking duck
Peking duck was one of the main dishes on the imperial court menu back in the days and is also a popular dish among my foreign friends. As you can tell from the name, this is also a dish that originates from the northern region of China. A whole duck is roasted to perfection with enough fat that it is not too greasy but crispy and tender. Peking duck is sometimes shredded and eaten D.I.Y style where you roll up pancakes with the meat and add in vegetables such as spring onion and cucumber.
5. 辣子鸡 (Làzǐ jī) – Sichuan spicy Chicken
Finally, one from the south of China. This is a dish that originates from Chongqing and Sichuan which is known for its spicy cuisine. It is a savory dish made from deep fried pieces of chicken mixed with dried Sichuan chili peppers and a spicy paste. It is often garnished with spring onions and sesame seeds. If you like spicy food, this is the one to go for!
6. 担担面 (Dàndàn miàn) – Dan Dan noodles or literally ‘noodles on a pole’
This is another one from Sichuan and I bet that you also can’t tell what this one is by just reading the name. Dan Dan noodles are typically freshly hand pulled noodles mixed with seasoned minced pork and then this is laced with fermented mustard green, chili oil and sesame paste. The dish is very affordable in China and that is where the name came from because Dan Dan is the pole that walking street vendors used to carry to sell the dish.
7. 麻婆豆腐 (Má pó dòufu) – Mapo Tofu (Literally pockmarked grandma’s tofu)
This is yet another famous dish from the Sichuan province and is a dish with cubes of silky tofu mixed with ground pork, green onions and Sichuan peppercorns which have a numbing effect on the mouth.
8. 龙须糖 (Lóng xū tang) – Dragon’s beard
This is a sweet candy from the Anhui province and is similar to cotton candy. Its main ingredients are sugar (lots of it), peanuts, coconuts and syrup. After being knead, it turns into a doughy texture which is then pulled and stretched to create strands of sweet goodness.
9. 皮蛋瘦肉粥 (Pídàn shòu ròu zhōu) – Preserved egg and pork rice porridge
This is one of my favorite dishes to eat, especially when I am feeling slightly ill and want something that will go down easily. Contrary to what my foreign friends think, this is not like the sweet oat porridge that you have for breakfast! It is a savory porridge made from rice, it has a thinner consistency than oat porridge. It also has pork and preserved egg in it too to add a bit of a flavor to a mildly flavor dish. It is a delicacy in the Guangzhou province.
10. 火锅 (Huǒguō) – Hot pot
Lots of countries have hotpots which are similar to a fondue. In China, hot pots are more like a group activity where there is a metal pot, simmering with broth which can be spicy or mild. You can event have pots divided up into different compartments where you can have different soups or have your own individual one. Common hot pot ingredients include thinly sliced pieces of beef, lamb, chicken, fish, pork and other fresh seafood. You can also dip in vegetables such as cabbage or even add tofu too. My favorite thing about hot pot is that you can design everything to your taste buds and this includes making the dipping sauces yourself. You can mix a choice of sesame oil, chili oil, soy sauce and more to dip you meat and vegetables in it.
Watch the video here:
So these are the top 10 Chinese food dishes in no particular order and how say them in Chinese. Let us know which ones you have tried and which ones you liked or didn’t really like in the comments below! See you next time :)