5 Famous Chinese Dishes You Should Try (to make yourself)

The more you begin to feel confident in China, the less scared you will be to venture out to local Chinese restaurants. Their menus are usually in Chinese (or with amazing translations) so if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed trying to choose a Chinese dish, here’s what to look out for! From the expat-loved Gongbaojiding to tofu and dumplings – we’ve got you covered. Feel ready to try your hand at the Chinese cuisine? Find out more about new summer cooking program and become the Chinese Gordon Ramsay.

The great thing about Chinese cooking? One pot.

If you’ve ever been apartment hunting in China or if you’ve been to a friends home you might have noticed their stove; 2 burners max. This makes things easy, especially if you are a student – no fancy utensils needed!

Gōng bǎo jī dīng 宫保鸡丁

Chinese dish

Spice lovers, meet Gongbao. You might know this dish better as ‘Kungpao chicken’.

This Chinese dish originates from the Sichuan province which, of course, is home to the Sichuan pepper.

Toasting peanuts in a wok is the first step. After this, the chicken is cooked and joined by chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns (warning: do not eat these) and other fragrant ingredients such as ginger. The sauce is added last, a simple and surprising recipe. The toasted peanuts are added to the mix and once the sauce has thickened, this famously delicious dish is ready to serve.

Niú ròu miàn 牛肉面

Originally a Taiwanese dish, this one can be found all over China. Small stalls specialized in these noodles or bars advertising their 牛肉面 special. This one may look complicated, but looks are always deceiving. Get ready to impress all your friends.

A bit more washing up is required as 2 pots are used instead of one. The beef, along with tomatoes, onions, ginger, and spices such as chili are boiled and left to simmer for about an hour. Chinese seasoning (aka vinegar and soy sauce) is added and left to rest while the bok choy and noodles are boiled in a different pot. Using the broth from the beef pot, the noodles are served with the beef and bokchoy.

Chinese dish

Má pó dòu fu 麻婆豆腐

Chinese dish

Sichuan peppercorns at the ready – here’s another Sichuan tradition, Mapo Dofu.

Vegetarians beware, this one contains meat! This dish is for the chef that is ready to multi task and expand their palette. This dish consists of 4 steps: make the sauce, poach the tofu, stir-fry the pork and put it all together.

The sauce consists of 4 ingredients only: chicken broth, bean paste, soy sauce, and salt. These are mixed together et voila!

Next up, the tofu is poached by letting it simmer in water while stir frying the pork. This is done by frying the pork in some oil with garlic and ginger.

Finally, the sauce and strained tofu are added to the pork. Cornstarch is the secret to making any sauce thick and sticky, so this is added as the mixture cooks. Add in those peppercorns and this traditional dish is ready to go.

Shrimp and Cashew Stir Fry  腰果虾仁  (yāoguǒ xiārén)

Another straightforward yet delicious Chinese dish, are you ready?

This dish involves shrimps coated in corn starch and egg white, stir-fried with garlic and ginger and added to a delicious mix of vegetables such as broccoli and carrots. A more adult dish as the sauce calls for Sherry. Seasoned with, you guessed it, pepper and served with rice.

Chinese cooking

Jiǎo zi 饺子

Chinese dish

Dumplings are the favorites of many. If we haven’t gotten you halfway to the nearest cāntīng 餐厅 yet, just picture yourself eating these pockets filled with deliciousness.

Perfecting the art of folding dumplings is something only Chinese grandmothers have achieved. Making dumplings alongside them tends to bring out our competitive side as they make 10 in the time that we finish just one.

Once the dough is made, it is split up into little balls, filled with a variety of mixtures and pinched closed. They are then left to steam for 5 minutes and served immediately.


What’s your favorite Chinese dish? Have we left your mouth watering and left you feeling inspired? Want to learn more about Chinese cooking techniques and recipes? Contact us to find out more about or Chinese cooking program.

Of course, there are many more vegetarian options out there. Here are some recommendations.