8 Things to Order off a Chinese Menu

Chinese food-you’ve likely had it, you likely love it, but do you fully know it? Across the world, Chinese food has been endlessly reinterpreted, adding new dishes, ingredients, and flavors, all depending on where you live. In fact, no two regions of the world would describe their version of Chinese food the same way. But what are the foods that embrace traditional Chinese cooking? I asked a few of my subscribers of Chinese origin and background to let me in on the secrets-What do they enjoy ordering off of a Chinese menu?

Featuring

Alex

Wa Na

Karen

Janice

James

1. Mini Pork Soup Dumplings

“I have chosen thousand year egg with green pepper. It’s made from dark eggs, long preserved with clay, salt, ash, etc. In Chinese restaurants, we usually have that as the cold appetizer with minced chili pepper, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. I hope you enjoy the century old egg as it should be served.” – Karen

2. Thousand Year Egg with Green Pepper

“I have chosen thousand year egg with green pepper. It’s made from dark eggs, long preserved with clay, salt, ash, etc. In Chinese restaurants, we usually have that as the cold appetizer with minced chili pepper, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. I hope you enjoy the century old egg as it should be served.” – Alex

3. Tofu Skin with Hot Green Chili

“For sides, I have chosen stir fried [tofu skins] with green peppers. If you don’t like tofu, I would highly encourage you to try tofu skin, which is very chewy and has an elastic texture. And when re-hydrated, it is able to absorb all of the flavors that make it super versatile and easy to incorporate in many dishes.” – Wan Na

4. Chinese Herbal Tea

“There is a really famous Chinese herbal tea called Wanglaoji. It’s supposed to cool you down based on the yin and yang philosophy of where spicy food is hot, you want to eat something cold to combat the hot inside your body.” – James

5. Acid Bean Minced Pork

“The dish I’ve selected for you to try is acid bean minced pork, which is a classic citron dish. My dad used to grow and ferment his own pickles while I was growing up, and this was always one of my favorite dishes when I was a child.” – Janice

6. Snow Pea Shoots with Garlic

“I think you should get the snow pea shoots with garlic. It’s leafy, it’s earthy, it’s pretty darn healthy for you, and it eats almost like meat too, and it’s actually one of my favorite vegetables.” – James

7. Ants Climbing a Tree

“You should try a dish called ‘ants climbing on a tree.’ It’s a really popular dish in China and also in Taiwan where I’m from. Supposedly the ground pork looks like the ants, the bean thread noodle looks like the tree.” – James

8. Mini Rice Ball in Chinese Sake

“The last dish that I chose for you is mini rice ball in Chinese sake. This dish really isn’t for everyone, but I think if you like sweetened sake or warm sake you should give this a try.” Janice

As you can tell, the menu of a Chinese restaurant is so much more diverse than we may think. And these aren’t even all of the options! A few more subscribers suggested a few more delicious dishes like: Duck Blood Noodle Soup, Ox Tongue and Beef Tripe with Spicy Pepper Sauce, Whole Fish in Sour Cabbage Broth, Salt and Pepper Pork Chop, Golden Frog, Kelp Knot Ribs Soup, Shredded Potato with Chinese Pepper, Big ChunKing, Beef Chow Fun, Classic Braised Pork, Peking Duck, Stir Fried Tomato with Egg, and Sesame Rice Ball with Chinese Sake. So next time you find yourself looking at a Chinese menu, give one, two, or all of these suggestions a try for a more diverse and traditional approach to Chinese food.

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