Top 10 China tours 2024/2025 for first visits and returns: embark on a lifetime experience. Learn more
Travel Friendly Chinese Snack Foods for the Busy Sightseer

Travel Friendly Chinese Snack Foods for the Busy Sightseer

Written by GavinUpdated Nov. 14, 2023

In the midst of discovering historical palaces, plunging gorges, and bustling marketplaces, it's not always easy for travelers to find a satisfying meal. No one likes sightseeing on an empty stomach. With that in mind, here are 10 snack foods that any traveler can easily purchase and pack along for a day of exploring in China.

1. Baozi

baozi - Chinese steamed buns

It doesn't get more traditional than the classic steamed bun. Baozi are not only a cultural and culinary experience every China traveler should experience, they are also wonderfully portable.

The word "bao" is translated as "bag" and it is easy to see why. Baozi are dough-wrapped packages of various meats and vegetables that will keep you fueled up and ready to go. They are considered finger food, which makes them perfect for the busy traveler with no time to waste at a table.

2. Red Bean Buns

For those with more of a sweet tooth, red bean buns are the Chinese equivalent to a Little Debbie snack cake. Made in the same way as baozi, these buns are filled with a sugary, bean paste filling and make for a delightful pick me up at any time of the day. Don't be turned off by the word "bean". There is so much sugar added to these little buns you will be reminded more of Fig Newtons than something off the Taco Bell menu.

3. Zongzi


At first glance, zongzi doesn't look very appetizing, but this is definitely a case of not judging the book by its cover. Typically wrapped in the leaves of the bamboo plant, these glutinous rice dumplings are either boiled or steamed and can be found throughout Asia. Beneath the leafy exterior, you can expect to find fillings such as chicken, pork, peanuts, jujubes, and even red bean paste.

4. Náng


This flatbread can be found in any Chinese city with a Muslim district. Náng will often be sold from tiny stands stacked high with bread and can be wrapped up and stowed away for later snacking. Different stands will use a variety of toppings and seasonings, but all are guaranteed to taste fresh and delicious.

5. Dried Fruits

Dried Fruits

Dried fruits can be found at any market and are occasionally sold by street vendors as well. While you are likely to find Western standbys, such as banana chips and raisins, why not treat yourself to something new such as dried hawthorn berry, mango, or even sugared ginger?

6. Fresh Fruits


In China, you are never too far from a fruit market. Aside from apples and oranges, there are many fruits you won't have encountered in a Western supermarket. Fresh papayas, mangoes, Kumquats, Chinese pears, melons, dragon fruits, and many others. Just be sure you don't get anything you can't peel into easily. Luckily, most markets will have pre-peeled varieties of most fruits made fresh and ready to go.

7. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and Seeds

If nuts and seeds are your go to snacks at home you'll be happy to find all your favorites are readily available in China and are often much cheaper. Walnuts, cashews, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds can be found roasted or raw in most markets. They offer a healthy alternative for food conscious travelers and have the added bonus of being easy to see and order. Most places will set them at a set price per unit.

8. Tea Eggs

Tea Eggs

While tea and eggs may sound like two separate parts of a complete breakfast, the Chinese version is a treat everyone should experience. The eggs are hard boiled and then cracked and soaked in a mixture of tea and spices, which give them unbelievable flavor. The typical blend includes cinnamon, star anise, fennel, clove and the all-powerful Szechuan peppercorn. You will see pots of tea eggs soaking in street vendor stalls and restaurants alike.

9. Imported Snacks

Hershey Chocolate

Especially in the more westernized regions of China, it is easy to find imported snacks you may feel more familiar with. Things like Oreos, Lay's Chips, Cheetos, Snickers Bars, and Hershey Chocolate are common. Though, you can expect to pay more for that English on the wrapper and the quality may not be exactly how you remember it.

10. Chinese Versions of Imported Snacks

While you may find it comforting to soothe your homesick taste buds with the salty goodness of Lay's Originals, don't be too quick to write off the Chinese adaptations of your favorite brands. Specialty Lay's flavors you might encounter include seaweed, roasted squid, and cucumber. And while there are plenty of cream centered Oreos to be had, don't pass up on the green tea, kumquat, and lime versions as well.

Explore China and Its Food with China Highlights

Interested in exploring China and all of the amazing snack foods it has to offer? Let us help you plan your first visit with an eight day tour of China's "Golden Triangle" featuring the most famous cities and sites. 

Looking for the perfect introduction to Chinese cuisine? Why not join our twelve day The Flavor of China tour, which includes some of the grandest sites and dishes China has to offer. Learn more today!

Popular tours
Make the most of your time
Choose the best time to visit
Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

Sign up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

The China Highlights Experience

1-to-1 Expert Planning

1-to-1 Expert Planning

Your tour will be tailor-made by your personal travel advisor — a destination expert. Every reply will be within 24 hours.

Personal Journeys

Personal Journeys

Enjoy your personal local guide and ride. Explore destinations at your own pace. Have unparalleled flexibility, which is impossible on a group tour.

Authentic Experiences

Authentic Experiences

Discover the hidden gems. Experience local culture by practicing it. Try new and exciting activities, and unveil the stories behind the sights and people.

Well-Selected Local Guides

Well-Selected Local Guides

Knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and attentive — your personal local guides will share interesting stories, insider information, and even create unexpected highlights!

China Highlights tailor-makes China tours to help travelers discover China their way. We're a passionate team of one hundred avid travelers who love to share our knowledge of China with those looking for a more authentic travel experience, more ...
China Highlights International Travel Service Co., LTD
Corporate Number: 914503003486045699
Featured on