Lee Kum Kee
Six Must-try Chinese Street Foods

Six Must-try Chinese Street Foods

27 July 2023

From bustling food carts to busy street stalls, China offers a plethora of delightful, traditional dishes. Including popular dishes from different regions of China, here are some iconic Chinese street foods straight from the vibrant and varied streets of China.

Jianbing (Chinese crepes)

Jianbing, the breakfast Chinese street food known as “Chinese crepes”, translates to "fried pancake.” This popular breakfast food is traditionally made with eggs and fried batter. The filling however, can vary depending on where you are in China. From savoury to sweet, and crispy to chewy this dish can be layered with contrasting textures and flavours. Folded in ingredients can include: scallions, lettuce and cilantro with rich chilli sauce and hoisin sauce added according to preference.

Baozi (Chinese bread buns)

Traditionally steamed in a bamboo steamer tray, this fluffy, flavourful dish can be eaten for breakfast, as a main meal, or a snack. Usually sold as Dabao (“big buns”) by street vendors, Baozi are pillowy dough buns commonly filled with juicy meat like pork, vegetables or both. The diverse flavourful fillings can be accompanied by wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and oyster sauce or whatever you fancy!

Jiaozi (Chinese dumplings)

Shaped like ancient Chinese gold ingots, Jiaozi, symbolises, longevity, wealth and good fortune. Jiaozi is eaten throughout the year but especially around Chinese New Year. Wrapped in tradition, for many people it is important to hand make Jiaozi dumplings with family, in preparation, to celebrate Chinese New Year. This traditional Chinese food is usually filled with ground meat like pork and chopped vegetables and served with soy sauce, seasoned rice vinegar and chiu chow chilli oil for dipping. There are three ways to cook Jiaozi – boiled, steamed or pan-fried. Pan-fried Jiaozi is often served as street food.

Roujiamo (Chinese burger)

Originating from the Shaanxi province Roujiamo is a tasty, tender, Chinese street food. With a direct translation of “meat in a bun” the Roujiamo resembles an American hamburger with a few differences - the bun is thinner and the juicy meat is usually shredded, pork belly. The taste can vary from vendor to vendor as each one sells Roujiamo with their own special spice mix - flavours are enhanced with aromatic spices, creating an indulgent, handheld treat.

The pork can be braised with sugar, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, ginger, chili and many aromatic spices.

Stinky Tofu

If you're feeling adventurous, give Stinky Tofu a try. Despite its pungent aroma, this fermented tofu dish is a delicious and beloved street food in China. It’s deep-fried, accompanied with a brown sauce which is typically spicy and salty and complemented with parsley and green onions. You can also use oyster sauce, pure sesame oil, or if you like extra spice, chiu chow chilli oil for dipping.

Tánghúlu (Candied fruit on a stick)

If you have a sweet tooth try Tánghúlu. A centuries-old delicacy, Tánghúlu consists of skewered fruits such as grapes, hawthorn berries, and strawberries coated with a sweet syrup, the syrup can be mixed with plum sauce, that undergoes crystallization and hardening. As well as being a sweet and sour treat it can also serve as a wonderful gift from parents to their children, or as a delightful bouquet of edible "flowers” to a partner.

So, the next time you find yourself exploring the vibrant streets of China, don't miss the opportunity to embark on a culinary adventure and experience the wonders of these tasty street food treats.

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