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Shenzhen cuisine is based on refreshing flavors. Unlike the spicy, sour, and greasy food in some other places in China, Shenzhen’s local cuisine might be more acceptable for foreign travelers.
Dim sum and congee are two Cantonese foods that locals eat a lot of, and you might like to try them. Various types of seafood are also highlights of Shenzhen cuisine.
Read on to discover some dishes you may like to try when you’re in Shenzhen.
Of all the foods within Cantonese cuisine, dim sum is the favorite of foreigners in the Cantonese areas.
You can enjoy small morsels of food with tea at breakfast or lunchtime. These are usually served in a small bowl or basket. Tea is also an important element of a traditional dim sum meal or snack. Diners may choose from green, oolong, jasmine, chrysanthemum, or other types of tea.
In restaurants, customers pick from a large selection of tasty choices that are served in steamer baskets or on small plates. The classic dim sum dishes include shrimp dumplings, congee, and steamed pork dumplings. It helps to dine in groups to be able to order many kinds of dim sum.
Learn how to eat dim sum in the right way.
Congee is a typical Cantonese food that many people eat daily. It is basically a soup made from rice and bits of other ingredients. To Western tastes, it is quite bland and seems like watery rice but many locals eat it daily for breakfast, snacks, and as part of their lunch and dinner.
Read about more typical Cantonese dishes eaten by locals in Guangzhou Food.
A seafood hot pot might be the most luxurious and tasty dish you will try in Shenzhen. There are over 20 kinds of soup base for you to choose from. Among them, the satay soup base is the most popular and recommended one. If you don’t like strong flavors, the pork bone soup base or potato and tomato soup base are also suggested.
As for the ingredients, just choose your favorite seafood, such as fish, shrimps, or oysters.
You can enjoy socializing as the Chinese do by sitting around a table with a big pot filled with boiling soup in the middle. You'll select a group of ingredients to boil with the help of the waiter. This may sound like a strange way to have a meal but it is a fun and interesting activity.
Check out more types of hot pot in China.
Cantonese sausages are a popular dish on Shenzhen people’s dining tables because of the sweet and salty flavors as well as the appetizing red color.
The best flesh to make a Cantonese sausage from is the rear leg of a pig. Selecting the best pork is only the first step. The pork will then be cured with sugar, wine, salt, and soybean sauce. After the casing is filled with the sausage meat, the sausages are dried at a certain temperature.
Eating the sausages is also about creativity. They can be cut into pieces then steamed to be eaten on their own, added to a bowl of rice, or fried with other ingredients.
This dish seems strange because it is a congee dish made from rice but you can’t find any grains of rice in it. The secret is that the rice is cooked until it melts into liquid and the tiny grains of rice are filtered from it.
The congee has a gentle flavor and can be easily digested. It is a fantastic dish if you are on a diet or if you suffer from problems with your stomach.
Another popular way to enjoy the congee is to use it as a hot pot soup base.
The oysters that are bred in Shajin in Bao’an District have a larger size, tenderer flesh, and are more nutritious than other oysters. Shajin oysters are praised as being the “milk of the sea”, not only because of their milky white flesh but also because of their rich composition of protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Shajin oysters can be found in all restaurants serving seafood and you can decide how to eat them: steamed, fried, or roasted. Oyster oil and canned oyster are also wonderful souvenirs.
See how Chinese people deal with fish and seafood dishes.
After feasting on the delicacies mentioned above, why not try some local snacks? A special pudding called bo zai gao by local people is recommended.
The bite-sized pudding is made from rice flour and many flavors are available depending on the ingredients that are added. Some shops provide puddings with over 20 available flavors, such as strawberry, apple, peach, coconut, pineapple, and sesame.
If you find a roadside shop selling Cantonese puddings, just choose the flavor you prefer.
Besides local dishes and snacks, it is not hard to find food from other places in China or the rest of the world when you’re in Shenzhen. Some restaurants provide dishes from Japan, Korea, Thailand, and India.
If the types of food suggested above are not for you, there are also Western restaurants for you to choose from and you can just eat as you would at home. There are Michelin-starred French or Italian restaurants as well as popular fast-food restaurants.
Check out more restaurants in Shenzhen.
Since dining well is an important part of touring, it would be helpful to have a local guide who can give you insider recommendations on what and where to eat. Our guides ensure that you order only the best Chinese cuisine or other types of cuisine to suit your taste preferences. Our dining and food orientated tours include:
We can modify these suggestions to customize your Shenzhen tour.