Eight Most Popular Chinese Dishes

Guilin and Guangzhou Tour

China is rich in tourist attractions. Delicious foods are an attraction indispensable in a good tour. With a long history, unique features, numerous styles and exquisite cooking, Chinese cuisine is one important constituent part of Chinese culture. Chinese dishes are famous for color, aroma, taste, meaning and appearance.

The following are the eight most popular dishes among foreigners and Chinese. For customers’ convenience, we also list their Chinese character names and English pronunciations. These eight dishes are sweet and sour pork (chicken), gong bao chicken, ma po tofu, wontons, dumplings, spring rolls, chow mein and Peking duck. These dishes are available in most large restaurants in China.

Since China is so attraction-packed and Chinese food is so delicious, taking a Chinese Food Tour is a good way to ensure you taste a variety of these delicious delicacies and enjoy the top sights in China.

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork 糖醋里脊

Sweet and sour pork has a bright orange-red color, and a delicious sweet and sour taste.

At the very beginning there was only sweet and sour pork, but to meet demands, there have been some developments on this dish. Now, the pork can be substituted by other ingredients like chicken, beef or pork ribs. Read the DIY recipes of sweet and sour pork ribs.

Gong Bao Chicken

Gong Bao Chicken 宫保鸡丁

This is a famous Sichuan-style specialty, popular with both Chinese and foreigners. The major ingredients are diced chicken, dried chili, and fried peanuts.

People in Western countries have created a Western-style gong bao chicken, for which the diced chicken is covered with cornstarch, and vegetables, sweet and sour sauce and mashed garlic are added.

Ma Po Tofu

Ma Po Tofu 麻婆豆腐

Ma po tofu is one of the most famous dishes in Chuan Cuisine with a history of more than 100 years. Ma (麻) describes a spicy and hot taste which comes from pepper powder, one kind of condiment usually used in Chuan Cuisine.

The milky tofu is enriched with brownish red ground beef and chopped green onion. It is really a tasty delicacy. Read the DIY recipes of ma po tofu.


Wontons 馄饨

Since the Tang Dynasty (618–907), it has been a custom for people to eat wontons on the winter solstice.

The most versatile shape of a wonton is simple a right triangle, similar to Italian tortellini. Wontons are commonly boiled and served in soup or sometimes deep-fried. The filling of wontons can be minced pork or diced shrimp.


Dumplings 饺子

With a long history of more than 1,800 years, dumplings are a traditional food widely popular in North China. Dumplings consist of minced meat and chopped vegetables wrapped into a thin piece of dough skin.

Popular fillings are mince pork, diced shrimp, ground chicken, beef, and vegetables. They can be cooked by boiling, steaming, or frying. Dumplings are a traditional dish eaten on Chinese New Year’s Eve.

chow mein

Chow Mein 炒面

The "Chow mein" is the Cantonese pronunciation of the Chinese characters above, which means stir-fried noodles. Generally speaking, this stir-fried dish consists of noodles, meat (usually chicken, beef, shrimp, or pork), onions and celery.

For making chow mein, the noodles need to be cooked in boiling water for a while. After they becoming cool, then move to the step of stir-frying.

Peking duck

Peking Roasted Duck 北京烤鸭

Peking duck is a famous dish from Beijing, enjoying world fame, and considered as one of China’s national dishes.

Peking duck is savored for its thin and crispy skin. The Sliced Peking duck is often eaten with pancakes, sweet bean sauce, or soy with mashed garlic. It is a must-taste dish in Beijing!

spring rolls

Spring Rolls 春卷

Spring rolls are a Cantonese dim sum of cylindrical shape. The filling of spring rolls could be vegetables or meat, and the taste could be either sweet or savory. After fillings are wrapped in spring roll wrappers, the next step is frying. Then the spring rolls are given their golden yellow color.

It is a dish especially popular in Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Fujian, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, etc.

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Hi, I'm Ruru Zhou
I updated this article on March 26, 2014
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Questions and Answers About Eight Most Popular Chinese Dishes

Hailey 2013-05-17
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what are some similarites food wise between the usa and china? thanks
Dear Hailey, I think it is quite different between Chinese food and American food. Rice is the main food in Chinese style and the bread is the main food in USA's style. Eventhough we also eat vegetables, meat, eggs, beef, chicken and so on, the way of cooking is quite different. Lussie Lu replied on 2013-05-17
Fabio Delorez 2013-03-19
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where is china located?
Dear Sir or Madam, China is situated in eastern Asia on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean, with an area of 9.6 million square kilometers. China's continental coastline extends for about 18,000 kilometers, and its vast sea surface is studded with more than 5,000 islands, of which Taiwan and Hainan are the largest. Lussie Lu replied on 2013-03-19
Paul 2013-03-14
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Hello, I would like to know how Chinese eat their steamed white rice: is it during the other entrees, beginning of the meal, or at the end?Thank You
Dear Paul, In general,people eat the rice during the meal. Lussie Lu replied on 2013-03-15
ayubu 2012-12-03
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please i have an home work from my chinese class, to give the picture of different chinese food and their names, help me
Hi. Follow below links to find different Chinese food and their pictures, hope it helps! http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/menu/ http://www.yycys.com/a/shenghuo/196/ Annie Wu replied on 2012-12-04
Kimberly Miles 2012-06-12
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Hi, I had a great dish with rice noodles. I kept a menu from the restaurant but I cannot locate it. I just know that it was a very light dish, with veggies and chicken and a light sauce. If I saw the name I would definitely know it. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance,
Hi Kimberly, there are many kinds of rice noodles in China. With vegetable and chicken, it's possible to be the Cross-bridge Rice Noodles, which is famous in Yunnan Province in China. If you would like to visit Yunan, we are happy to arrange a tour for you. Please feel free to contact me at nora@chinahighlights.net. Nice day! Nora Ou replied on 2012-06-12
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