Monday, August 29, 2011

China is a Yummy Place {Delightful Adventures)

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you already know that I've spent lots of time in China. I studied there for a year and have been back to visit a couple of times.

Though I am a southern girl who loves comfort food, I love China. it's the complete opposite of North Carolina for sure, but maybe that's why I find it so adventurous. One thing is for sure, China has ruined me for American Chinese food FOREVER. I can no longer stand the taste of pink sweet and sour chicken. It just isn't right. And no, there are no fortune cookies in China.

Authentic Chinese food is amazing. I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite dishes, in case you ever get to visit China-or in case you make it to Chinatown in NYC and find a real authentic restaurant. Unfortunately, there is no Yunnan restaurants, which in my opinion is the region with the yummiest food.

You'll have to look up how to pronounce these yourself-I don't know how to type Chinese pronunciation keys. Sorry!

Favorite Yummy Dishes
Most are enjoyed family style over rice

 Jiaozi (dumplings)

 Better known as "pot stickers" in America, Jiaozi are dumplings wrapped in a special rice pastry. My favorites are pork-filled and they are best enjoyed dipped in a mixture of vinegar and soy sauce. If you like spicy, you can add some of the famous Chinese spice La Jiao.

You can also get these fried. They are called Guo Tie.

Bao Zi

Another type of dumpling-these are a little thicker and can be filled with vegetables or meat. Chinese people often eat them for breakfast.

Tie Ban Niu Rou
(Sizzling Skillet Beef)

Doesn't this just look mouth-watering? It's beef and peppers mixed in a yummy sauce. it's not spicy-I cannot handle spice, so my spice gauge is pretty sensitive. It comes to the table literally sizzling.

Tang Cu Li Ji
(Sweet and Sour Pork)

Fear not, the sweet sour exists in China (with chicken too)! But, I cannot even begin to describe how different it is. As you can see, the sauce isn't pink or red-it's much more savory than they make it here in the US.

Gong Bao Ji Ding
(Kung Pao Chicken)

Yep, the Kung Pao Chicken is really Chinese. This is a mix of chicken, peanuts, celery, and La Jiao. But, you can eat around the La Jiao-the spice doesn't rub off on the other food in this dish. 

Bo Luo Ji Din
Pineapple Chicken
I unfortunately have no mouth-watering photo. This dish is hard to find and may be a Yunnan regional special food, but I'm not positive on that. But, if you are in Yunnan province, it shouldn't be as difficult to find.

Duo Sheng
(Pineapple Rice) *Yunnan Regional Food

 Many non-Chinese people are unaware that there are 56 minority groups in China-groups who have their own culture, dialect, food, customs, dress, etc. This dish is a yummy offering from the Dai people. It's sweet and sticky.

Xiao Kao
(Sichuan Barbeque)

This dish, made popular in the Sichuan province, is available everywhere in China but is best in Sichuan and surrounding provinces. It's dirt cheap and is eaten as a night snack (around 8pm-10pm). It costs about 20 cents a stick. You choose your stick of meat, vegetable, whatever and they grill it for you in minutes on a small outside grill. These can be very spicy, but you can request no La Jiao. There's usually still some spice residue. My favorite is quail eggs. Don't knock it 'til you try it!

Kong Xin Cai
(Hollow roots)

The Chinese make all vegetables yummy! This one is garlicky and delicious.

Fan Qie Chao Jo
(Egg and Tomatoes)

(Fried Goat Cheese) *Yunnan Regional Food

 I don't even like normal goat cheese, but this is yummy!

Su Hong Duo
(Fried Red Beans) *Yunnan Regional Food

This dish is amazing. It's maybe my favorite.

Lao Nai Yang Yu
(Old Lady Potatoes) *Yunnan Regional Food

 It's basically garlicky smashed potatoes. They usually put La Jiao on them, so learn the phrase "Bu Yao La Jiao" if you don't like spicy. 

Gan Bian Yang Yu Si
(Fried Potato Pancakes)

Man Tou
(Fried Bread with Condensed Milk)
A yummy sweet ending. It reminds me of fair food-I can only eat it in small doses, but it's good!

Guo qiao mi xian
(Over The Bridge Noodles)
*Yunnan Regional Food
There are tons of restaurants that just serve these noodles. Most of them include entertainment! The dish is rice noodles in a hot boiling broth with all of the above meats and stuff you see in the photo. They bring it to your table just like this. The broth is boiling, so you cook it yourself by throwing everything in and stirring it. The dish is based on a Chinese legend about a woman carrying her husband's lunch to him across a bridge. 

I thought I'd also share which foods you might want to avoid...unfortunately the adventurer in me has had lots of experience with this.I will post this separately as to not taint this food (and make this post super long).

Delightful Adventures!


  1. Hey April, I'm going to China in three weeks time for three weeks on a business trip, I can't wait! I've been to Beijing before, but this time I'm going to Kunshan, near Shanghai. I don't know how well you know Shanghai, but I'm wondering about buying fabric when I'm there - is it easy to get quality fabric?

  2. SOOOO glad I read this post in addition to your latest :) I was starting to get turned off to Chinese food. I haven't been to Chinatown in NYC in ages, but I may have to go for the dumplings (at least until I can get to China!). I have always liked authentic Chinese food, and have found a lot of veggie-friendly options out there, too.

  3. Delicious foods. I like the most goat cheese which i have never enjoyed, but heard couple of times about goat cheese.

  4. I am so happy to have found your blog. As we speak I am compiling Yunnan Local Cuisine recipes. I will follow you and come back often. Thanks!
    Regards, Roz


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