If you’re visiting China or Chinatown, one of the nicest things to do is try their street food. Chinese street foods are delicious, and unique. The best way to learn about China’s culinary sector is to eat your way through its lively street food. Crepes, dumplings, rice balls, burgers, and a variety of other meals are among the numerous selections. Street foods in China are well-known among locals, and visitors now are progressively embracing them.
Chinese Street Food
A typical Chinese street food, stinky tofu, is a strong-smelling Chinese kind of fermented tofu. It is typically offered as a snack at night markets or roadside kiosks, or as a side dish at lunch bars. A brine prepared from fermented milk, vegetables, and meat is traditionally used to make stinky tofu. The brine can also contain dried shrimp, mustard greens, amaranth greens, bamboo shoots, and Chinese herbs. It might take many months for the brine to ferment. To enhance odor, modern factory-made stinky tofu is marinated in brine for one or two days.
In Changsha, Hanan, stinky tofu is popular, and it’s generally consumed in paper towels with a spicy, salty brown sauce topped with chopped green onion and parsley.
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Basically, this dish can be consumed cold, steamed, stewed, or deep-fried, and it’s usually served with chili sauce or soy sauce. The color ranges from golden, fried Zhejiang-style smelly tofu to black, Hunan-style stinky tofu.
The odor of stinky tofu is believed to mimic rotting rubbish or nasty feet from a distance. Others have compared it to the flavor of blue cheese, while some have compared it to the taste of rotting meat. It’s considered that the stronger the aroma, the greater the flavor.
Deep Fried Dough Sticks
This is a popular street snack in Shanghai. These delectable deep fried dough sticks resemble conventional bread, except they are puffier. Soy milk and rice or bean porridge, or regular milk blended with sugar are the greatest accompaniments to the sticks.
Pan Fried Pork Bun
Another popular Chinese street food is Pan Fried Pork Bun. It is small, just like other dumplings, and should be eaten immediately. The top is garnished with chopped green onions, while the bottom is grilled crisp. The bun is typically pan fried until golden brown. This type of snack, like all other street snacks, may be purchased from sellers on the street.
Banmian/ Chinese Noodle Soup
Banmian is a classic Chinese noodle dish made comprised of handmade noodles served in a broth. It is made primarily of egg noodles served in a delicious broth with meat or fish, veggies, and other seasonings. Dried anchovies, minced pork, mushrooms, and a leafy vegetable like sweet potato leaves or sayur manis are some of the ingredients as well.
Restaurants, street stalls, and food carts around the region sell the dish, which is regarded one of the healthiest dining options. Because the soup is the foundation of the entire meal, there are countless variants in ingredients, stocks, and noodle forms. The cooked soup is frequently garnished with an egg that has been cooked in the hot liquid abon top of the noodles.
Traditional banmian noodles are made using an egg, water, flour, and salt mixture that is kneaded and then made into noodles. However, today’s banmian is mostly manufactured with a pasta maker that cuts noodles into various widths.
The soup’s base can be water, although it’s more typically a fish stock. Anchovy stock is also a popular alternative, although regular fish stock can also be utilized. Various components, such as onions, garlic, ginger, and bean paste, can be added to the stock to enhance flavor, yet some dishes are plain that basic stock is all that is required.
Chicken And Duck Feet
In many nations, chicken feet are cooked and consumed. The majority of the edible tissue on the foot consists of skin and tendons, with no muscle, when an exterior layer of hard skin is removed. The feet have a texture that is unique from the rest of the chicken flesh. Chicken feet are gelatinous because they are largely skin. Chicken feet can be offered as a beer snack, cold dish, soup, or main meal in a variety of Chinese cuisines.
Duck feet are also popular in addition to chicken feet. A popular salad or appetizer is duck feet with mustard, which is commonly served with vinegar, fresh green pepper, and crushed garlic.
Cifantuan/Glutinous Rice Balls
Cifantuan is a Chinese glutinous rice delicacy that originated in the Jiangnan province of eastern China, which includes Shanghai and the neighboring areas. It’s prepared by tightly wrapping glutinous rice around a piece of youtiao (fried dough). In Jiangnan, it is commonly consumed for breakfast with sweetened or savory soy milk. Basically, these are rice balls filled with numerous flavorful ingredients.
There are two types of cifantuan available now. The “savory” type, which contains items such as zha cai or pickled vegetable, rousong or pork floss, and small portions of youtiao wrapped in the rice ball, whereas the “sweet” type of cifantuan, includes sugar and occasionally sesame. Many current varieties of the dish are created with purple rice and contain ingredients like tuna, kimchi, or cheese.
Cifantuan is one of Shanghai’s most popular breakfast dishes, especially in Nanyang Lu and Xikang Lu.
Baozi/ Chinese Bread Buns
Another famous Chinese street food is Baozi. In Chinese cuisine, baozi is a yeast-leavened filled bun. Fillings can be meat or vegetables, and ways preparing it vary widely, however steamed buns are the most common. They’re a Northern Chinese version of mantou. They are made in the same way as jiaozi dumplings, with the exception that baozi have a thicker dough and a bigger amount of filling.
Baozi is a light and fluffy Chinese dish that if commonly eaten as a breakfast meal. It is inexpensive, tasty, and most importantly, accessible. Barbecue pork is a popular choice, but you may also get buns filled with delicious red bean paste, green veggies, or beef, depending on the location.
Liangpi/Cold Rice Noodles
Liangpi is a wheat or rice flour-based Chinese noodle dish. It is a speciality dish that originated in Shaanxi Province’s cuisine but has since extended throughout China, particularly in the northern China and central China. Despite the fact that liangpi is served cold, it is served throughout the year, especially during the winter. This noodle dish has a spicy sauce.
Basically, rice noodles, spicy sauces, soy sauce and bean sprouts as a side dish, are used.
Jianbing or Chinese Crepes
Jianbing is a traditional snack and Chinese street food that resembles crêpes. It is usually consumed for breakfast and has been recognized as one of the most popular breakfast street food in China. Jianbing is made out of a batter of wheat and grain flour, eggs, and sauces that are fried fast in a big frying pan or on a specialized flat hotplate. Depending on personal choice, these Chinese crepes can be topped with various contents and sauces such as bocui (fried cracker that is thin and crispy ), ham, chopped or diced mustard pickles, scallions and coriander, chili sauce, or hoisin sauce. Before serving, it is frequently folded multiple times.
Xiaolongbao is the term referring to a sort of small Chinese steamed bun (baozi) that is usually made in a xiaolong, a small bamboo steaming basket. Xiaolongbao are sometimes referred to as “dumplings,” although they are not to be mistaken with British or American-style dumplings, or Chinese jiaozi or wonto.
Pork is commonly used to fill xiaolongbao. Other meats, shellfish, shrimp, crab meat, and vegetarian fillings are among the more current variations.
Solid meat aspic is wrapped within the skin alongside the meat filling to make the dish. The gelatin-gelled aspic dissolves into the soup as the soup heats up. Because creating gelled aspic at normal temperature is significantly more difficult, refrigeration has made the process of manufacturing tangbao easier in recent times.
Deep Fried Scallion Pancakes Or Cong You Bing
Deep fried scallion pancakes are a delicious Chinese thin flatbread folded with oil and diced scallions (green onion). It is formed from dough rather than batter, unlike Western pancakes. It’s pan-fried, so the edges are crunchy but the texture is chewy. The multiple layers that make up the inside of scallion pancakes add to the chewy texture. Other tastes and fillings can be used into the fundamental method of cooking.
Green onions are occasionally combined with other ingredients like chopped fennel leaves and sesame seeds.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
In China and other East Asian countries, roasted sweet potato is a popular winter street snack. During the winter months in China, yellow-fleshed sweet potatoes are cooked in a big iron drum and sold as street food. They’re also known as kaobaishu.
Chinese Fried Rice
In China, this is a well-known dish. Cooked rice, meat, and veggies are combined with egg, soy sauce, and garlic for flavor and seasoning, as well as cooking oil, such as vegetable oil or sesame oil to grease the pan. The oil and soy sauce coat and grease the rice grains, keeping them from burning and clinging to the pan. In addition to diced processed pork, chopped scallion or spring onions, ginger, chili pepper, and mushroom are sometimes added to the combination. All of the ingredients are stir-fried over high heat in a Chinese wok cooking utensil, and the rice is flipped, swirled, and agitated with a spatula to ensure equal cooking and flavor distribution. Leftover rice is a common ingredient, and the recipe can also include other leftover foods.
This Chinese burger is a street meal that originated in Shaanxi Province and is now popular across China. Roujiamo is the Chinese version of hamburgers and meat sandwiches in the West. Roujiamo is regarded as one of the world’s earliest hamburger varieties.
Pork is the most frequent meat, which is cooked for hours in a broth with over 20 spices and seasonings. Although using only a few spices is acceptable (as many sellers do), the meat will be less flavorful. Rather than producing a huge, round patty, the meat is shredded. Instead of ketchup, the Chinese burger utilizes seasoned pork gravy and chilli sauce paste.
Also known as bingtang hulu. Tanghulu is a Northern Chinese delicacy made up of numerous rock sugar-coated Chinese hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida) fruits skewered on a bamboo stick. Tanghulu is sometimes confused with typical candied fruits, although it is really covered in a hardened sugar syrup. This sweet and sour dessert has been manufactured in northern China since the Song Dynasty and is still popular. It is like mini candy apples but is sourer. Though various fruits, like strawberries or apples, can be added to tanghulu, the most frequent and popular form, found in downtown Beijing, is packed with haws. Due to the fruit, the outside is crunchy and sweet, while the interior is soft, sweet, and sour.
Frequently Asked Questions
Street Hawkers, or simply hawker. A hawker is a seller who offers readily transportable goods. To attract attention and increase sales, hawkers sometimes use loud street shouts or chants and engage in conversation with customers.
Xiaolongbao. Dumplings are undoubtedly China’s most popular street food, with the Xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) being the most popular. They’re so popular that Western Chinese restaurants have taken notice, although their versions typically are different from the original.
It depends. Some street food sellers deep-fry meals in the same pot of oil over and over, which is unhealthy. If you have a sensitive stomach, avoid eating too much street food. Consume in moderation.