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.
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.
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.
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.
4. Wonton Soup 混沌汤 – recipe
Simply no western wheaten food could be as delicate and refreshing as wonton soup!
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.
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.
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.
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.
What other Chinese cuisine do you think should be included in this list? Tell us your favorites!