10 Most Popular Chinese Dishes

In a country where the traditional way to greet someone translates to 'have you eaten yet?'(ni chile ma), be rest assured, the food will be extraordinary. China has the most popular culinary heritage in the world.

In a country where the traditional way to greet someone translates to 'have you eaten yet?'(ni chile ma), be rest assured, the food will be extraordinary. China has the most popular culinary heritage in the world. The history of their cuisine dates back to about 1000 years with varied cooking styles, techniques and ingredients that have evolved over time.

A typical Chinese meal will have two things - a carbohydrate or starch like noodles, rice or buns, and accompanying stir fries or dishes of veggies, fish and meat. They use a lot of fresh vegetables like mushroom, water chestnuts, bamboo and even tofu. In North China, wheat-based accompaniments like noodles and steamed buns dominate the table, in contrast to South China where rice is a favourite. The short-grain sticky rice,  grown throughout Southern China, is absolutely irresistible.

Each dish focuses on creating a balance between three aspects - appearance, aroma, and taste. They pay a lot of attention to the aesthetic appearance of the food with diversified colours. Sauces  and seasoning like fish sauce, five spice powder, oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, root garlic, fresh ginger and others are used generously to offer a complex play of flavour and aroma.

Much like Japanese cuisine , Chinese dishes are rich in umami which is described as a 'pleasant savory taste'. The umami taste is common to many ingredients used in their cuisine like Chinese cabbage, spinach, celery, green tea or fermented products like soy sauce and pastes.

Chinese food and the way it is prepared is influenced by the two major philosophies - Confucianism and Taoism. One of the standards set by Confucius was that food must be cut into small bite- size pieces before being served. Those who follow Taoism focus more on food that promote health and longevity and those that have healing powers.

1. Dim Sums

1. Dim Sums

Small bite-sized rounds stuffed with veggies or meat. This essentially a Cantonese preparation.

2. Hot and Sour Soup

2. Hot and Sour Soup

A soup with a spicy and sour broth. It is made spicy by using red peppers or white pepper and sour with vinegar.

3. Quick Noodles

3. Quick Noodles

One of the staples in every Chinese home, this version is super speed. Just bung in all your favourites and create a masterpiece of your own.

4. Szechwan Chilli Chicken

4. Szechwan Chilli Chicken

A fiery delight straight from the Sichuan region. It is loaded with pungent spices like brown pepper. red chillies, ginger, green chillies and white pepper.


 

5. Spring Rolls

5. Spring Rolls

A crisp appetizer where shredded veggies are encased in thin sheets and then fried golden.

6. Stir Fried Tofu with Rice

6. Stir Fried Tofu with Rice

A simple stir-fry with tofu and Oriental sauces. Serve with some fried rice to make a wholesome meal.

7. Shitake Fried Rice with Water Chestnuts

7. Shitake Fried Rice with Water Chestnuts

Mushrooms and water chestnuts are used frequently in Chinese cooking. A dish that is fast, filling and flavourful.

8. Chicken with Chestnuts

8. Chicken with Chestnuts

This earthy recipe is perfect for a holiday feast.

9. Date Pancakes

9. Date Pancakes

Pancakes are like a blank canvas, ever so versatile. Chinese pancakes  are usually made with dough instead of using a batter.

10. Wok Tossed Veggies in Honey and Black Bean Glaze

10. Wok Tossed Veggies in Honey and Black Bean Glaze

A colourful melange of veggies like chestnuts, mushrooms, Chinese cabbage - all tossed in honey and black bean sause.