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Top Eight Most Popular Chinese Food with Recipes

Nov 12, 2009

Last Christmas, my friends Mike and Nicole went for a honeymoon trip to Belize. In the poor remote countryside of this Central America nation, they cannot find any familiar fast food restaurant such as McDonald or KFC. However, they are able to find a few Chinese restaurants. They were so amazed by their existence. Just like a proverb has told: There are Chinese people where sun rises; there is Chinese restaurant where Chinese people live.

image

by the rocketeer @ flickr

For the early Chinese immigrants to the United States, most of them do not have high educational level or any qualified skills. So it is their only choice to rely on housekeeping cooking skills to open a Chinese restaurant and make a living.

As a Chinese myself, I always say, “The most lucky thing to be a Chinese is to have Chinese food”. Like it or not, Chinese food has apparently become an important image of Chinese culture to the rest of the world. It is loved by hundreds of millions people all around the world. Although at lots of foreign places, the Chinese food is not really “authentic” Chinese food, it does change the food preferences of many people.

Here is the “eight most popular Chinese food for foreigners” selected by a survey with foreigners. Which ones of them have you ever tried? Recipe links are also included.

CAUTION: don’t drool over your keyboard when viewing these yummy pictures!

1. Sweet and Sour Pork 糖醋里脊 – recipe

Not surprising that this is ranked first. With a mixture of sweet and sour flavor as well as bright, colorful appearance, nobody could not resist. One answer in the survey says “Sweet and Sour Chicken (NO PORK)”. It seems to a typical example that good dishes have been improved in foreign countries.

Tang Cu Li Ji

2. Kung Pao Chicken 宫保鸡丁 – recipe

Many respondents from different countries have nominated this one in their answers. In China it is also one of those “must-have dishes” for a lot of people.

Kung Pao Chicken -- Red Lantern

3. Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐 – recipe

Probably no other cuisine can compete against Sichuan food on complicated use of spice. Current popularity of Sichuan cuisine is majorly because of the “spicy” word. Western cuisines will never give the same taste. Foreigners could only tell us their praise while busy enjoying the food.

mapo-tofu

4. Wonton Soup 混沌汤 – recipe

Simply no western wheaten food could be as delicate and refreshing as wonton soup!

Wonton Soup (Hong Kong Restaurant)

5. Dumplings 饺子 – recipe

There is a saying in China: Nothing is more delicious than dumplings. It shows the importance of dumplings in Chinese food. It encompasses the essence of Chinese culture. No wonder that in the eyes of foreigners it can best represent Chinese dishes. In addition, fried dumpling is also very popular in foreign countries. Variations in flavor are achieved with changes in the filling. Never be surprised when you put something new in the filling.

Safe and Warm

6. Spring Rolls 春卷 – recipe

It makes sense that foreign friends elected this dish. From this, we can easily find the influence of Chinese, especially Cantonese-style dim sum snacks in the minds of foreign people.

Dim Sum - spring roll

7. Chow Mein 炒面 – recipe

When foreign friends wrote “Cantonese Chow Mein”, I did not realize what it is. I have to say that Cantonese people have made an outstanding contribution in changing the diet habits of foreign people.

Tomato Beef Chow Mein with Crispy Hong Kong noodle

8. Peking Duck 北京烤鸭 – recipe

Every foreigner who comes to China would want to have this dish, because of its reputation and its history.

Peking Duck

What other Chinese cuisine do you think should be included in this list? Tell us your favorites!

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  1. November 12th, 2009 at 11:54 | #1

    I HATE THIS BLOG! YOU ARE MAKING ME SO HUNGRY! I’VE NOW DROOLED ALL OVER MY KEYBOARD! UGH. Amazing pictures! THANKS!

  2. November 12th, 2009 at 15:07 | #2

    @Magnus
    Sorry, I should have served some napkins with them. Hope it’s not too late to save your keyboard :x

  3. November 12th, 2009 at 21:07 | #3

    Mmmm… 包子、 茄子、 韭菜饼 are among my favorite.

    There are some dishes here that I really don’t see in China… it’s more a Western-Chinese kind of food.

    But you are right, there are Chinese restaurants everywhere. Belize, for sure, I had great Chinese food there. But also Argentina, Peru and Bolivia (Chinese restaurants are called chifa by locals), France… really, everywhere.

  4. Zhu@china
    November 16th, 2009 at 21:22 | #4

    Your pics are so amazing. Where did you get that?

  5. November 19th, 2009 at 08:30 | #5

    @Zhu@china
    They are “Creative Commons” licensed images from Flickr.

  6. December 2nd, 2009 at 04:46 | #6

    Kung Pao chicken is my favourite! I can’t get enough chinese food :)

  7. glchina
    December 11th, 2009 at 06:39 | #7

    when I travel to Shenyang last year , I ate spring rolls the first time . When we went to restaurant ,my friend recommended me eat spring roll. wow, when I roll up on a thin piece of pie a fragrant dishes swallowed , I feel great.But after that time , I never eat again, because there is no spring rolls in the city I live now , I really don’t know it is one of China’s most popular foods.Thank you for your sharing
    _________________________________________________
    http://world-culture-research.org/c.asp?d=15370 spring rolls–my favourite

  8. xtaaxtw
    December 11th, 2009 at 06:41 | #8

    aha!I LOVE Spring Rolls too

  9. January 29th, 2011 at 11:12 | #9

    Dumplings 饺子 and Peking Duck 北京烤鸭 really are my favourites! Delicious!

  10. Lyn
    August 15th, 2012 at 20:43 | #10

    Fyi… Belize does not have any fast foods chains because it does not want any american franchises. You speak of those chains like its something to be proud of. Do you forget the obesity problem the USA has?

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