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Chinese Food Ingredients

China is a country full of delicacies, with a wide range of food ingredients. From the basic rice and noodles to the unusual animals’ organs, there is more than you could imagine in Chinese cooking.

Staple Foods

Rice and wheat play the main role in China’s grain, so there’s no doubt that rice and noodles become the dominated staple foods at Chinese dinner table.

Rice

Guilin Rice Noodles
 

Guilin Rice Noodles

Rice is perceived as a staple food throughout China. It is mostly served steamed or stir-fried (after boiling) at every Chinese meal. The Chinese believe that a meal without a bowl of steamed rice is incomplete.

In Guangxi Province area, for example Guilin, rice noodles are a very popular local food. Usually being served with side dishes such as marinated pork/beef and pickled yard long beans, rice noodles are soft, pliable, and milky white and made from long-grain rice flour. Do you want to try the famous Guilin Rice Noodles? Join our Guilin and Yangshuo Memories Tour!

Rice can also be cooked with a lot of water to produce congee (rice gruel), a popular breakfast food and late-night snack eaten with a number of savory side dishes. Cantonese congee is regarded as the best in the country, which even enjoys the same popularity as dim sum in China. Why not plan your Guangzhou & Shenzhen or Hong Kong tour to savor tasty dim sum and Cantonese food?

Noodles

Our Customers Tasting Biang Biang Noodles
 

Customers Tasting Biang Biang Noodles

While the Southerners keep their heads in rice, the Northerners are obsessed with all kinds of wheat products, or specifically, noodles. Made from wheat flour, salt and egg, Chinese noodles can be served with different ways in different areas:

  • Beijing Zha Jiang Mian: “noodles with soybean paste”, a typical Beijing food made by stir-fried ground pork/beef, salty fermented soybean paste, shredded cucumber and carrots.
  • Lanzhou Beef Noodles: a popular halal food in China, served with clear soup and sliced beef.
  • Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles: a famous Chengdu street food, served with spicy sauce containing some spices and few vegetables.
  • Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles: a specialty cuisine of Xi’an. It is the belt-shaped hand-made noodles which are mixed with spicy and oily sauce.
  • Guangzhou Wonton Noodles: a Cantonese dish served with noodles, wonton and soup.

Main Ingredients

Meat: Regular vs Weird

Braised Rabbit Head
 

Braised Rabbit Head

Chinese people love to eat and almost all animals’ meat can be eaten. In addition to the common meat like chicken, duck, fish, pork, beef, mutton, etc., every part of the animal can be cooked and served, like the organ of ox and sheep.

Adventurous food lovers can try some strange but delicious meat dishes during their travel in China: Chongqing “Mao Xue Wang” (made from pig’s blood, tripe, duck’s blood, ham and chicken gizzard), Chengdu “Husband and Wife Lunge Pieces” (sliced beef and ox organs in chili sauce), Cantonese Snake Soup, Steamed Frog Legs on Lotus Leaf, … Would you dare to try any of them?

Vegetables

Vegetables is the second important part of Chinese cuisine, after rice. You can find a large variety of vegetables in a Chinese kitchen: lettuce, onions, mushrooms, carrots, white radishes, bean sprouts, yard long beans, Chinese cabbage, Chinese eggplants, bamboo shoots, lotus root, all kinds of melons…

Soybean Products

Bean Sprouts
 

Bean Sprouts

China is the hometown of soybean and has thousands of years of eating soybean and its products.

  • Tofu: bean curd, made from soybean milk, water, and curdling agent, always served in soups, salads and stir-fried dishes.
  • Tofu skin: dried yellowish sheets made from soybean milk.
  • Soybean milk: a traditional Chinese breakfast drink, made from soybeans, water and salt/sugar.
  • Bean sprouts: upper stems of any of various sprouted beans, usually mung beans, soybeans and peas.
  • Dou Chi: a type of fermented and salted black soybean, used to season a number of dishes in Chinese cooking, especially fish and beef. Sold in packets or tins.

Condiments and Seasonings

Oils

  • Cooking oil: blended vegetable oil (but never olive oil) used by Chinese cooks for frying. Peanut oil is used most for its distinctive flavor.
  • Sesame oil: more used for flavoring than for cooking; very intensely flavored so only a little required.
  • Chili oil: used to enliven some Sichuan dishes.

Sauces

Various Soy Sauces
 

Various Soy Sauces

  • Soy sauce is made from the naturally fermented soya bean. Dark soy sauce is rich and used to add both color and flavor to many sauces and marinades. Quite salty and often used instead of salt to season a dish. Light soy sauce is thinner, lighter and has a fresher taste; also saltier. It is used in cooking, as a table condiment and as a dipping sauce.
  • Vinegar: black, red or white Chinese vinegars are all made from rice.
  • Oyster-flavored sauce: made from oyster extract, it is used in many fish dishes, soups and sauces.
  • Hoisin sauce: sweet reddish-brown made of soya beans, used to season meat and also served as a dipping sauce.
  • Chili sauce: similar in texture to tomato sauce (ketchup) but tastes spicy.
  • Plum sauce: sweet and sour sauce with a unique fruity flavor.
  • Thick broad-bean sauce: ready-to-use sauce, made from salted black beans and rice wine, containing garlic and hot chilies. It is commonly used in Beijing and Shanghai cuisines.
  • Rice wine: made from glutinous rice, also known as yellow wine –Huang Jiu or Chiew - because of its color.

Spices

Spicies
 

Spicies in Chinese Cooking

  • Green onions, ginger and garlic are the most common ingredients used as spices for seasoning in Chinese cooking.
  • Chilies/peppers: fresh or dried, hot or hotter, mostly used in spicy dishes, especially in Sichuan and Hunan cuisines.
  • Coriander: Chinese parsley, a herb with a strong flavor, usually cooked with sauces, soups, dim sums or as garnish.
  • Star anise: star-shaped brownish black spice with eight points, each containing a shiny seed, with a pronounced aniseed flavor and often cooked with beef.
  • Dried tangerine peel: gnarled, brittle, rusty-orange-color peel that adds a light citrus flavor to sauces, soups, and braised dishes.
  • Five-spice powder: mixture of five or more ground spices, including star anise, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and Sichuan pepper.

Wrappers (Store in freezer)

Dumplings and their Wrappers
 

Dumplings and their Wrappers

  • Egg roll or Spring roll wrappers: paper-thin, made from wheat or rice flour and water; available from Chinese supermarkets. Wheat wrappers are usually sold frozen, while rice flour wrappers are dry.
  • Wonton/dumpling wrappers: paper-thin squares of yellow-colored dough; available from most Chinese supermarkets.

Recommended Chinese Restaurants

Beijing Si Ji Min Fu Restaurant (Dengshikou)

Peking Duck
 

Peking Roast Duck

  • Chinese: 四季民福烤鸭店
  • Location: 1/F, Donghua Restaurant, No.32 Dengshikou West St, Dongcheng District, Beijing
  • Highlights: Peking roast duck, Beijing local cuisine, near Wangfujing Street

HOME’S Shanghainese Restaurant

  • Chinese: 上海精品私房菜
  • Location: 791 Julu Rd, Jing’an District, Shanghai
  • Highlights: authentic Shanghainese food, Shanghai local homely dishes

Guangzhou Dian Dou De (Ju Fu Lou)

  • Chinese: 點都德
  • Location: 470 Huifu East Rd, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
  • Highlights: Cantonese dim sum, reasonable price

Hong Kong One Dim Sum Chinese Restaurant

  • Chinese: 香港一點心中餐厅
  • Location: Shop 1&2, G/F, No.15 Playing Field Rd, Prince Edward, Hong Kong
  • Highlights: dim sum, local cuisine


Experience Chinese Food with China Travel

Chinese Cooking Class
 

Customers are Learning Chinese Cooking

No one who loves food will say “no” to the delicacies of China, especially after admiring natural and cultural beauties – how would a perfect travel be without delicious food? below are three sample tours we hand-pick for your inspiration:

Elben Pan
Always Traveling, Always Writing.

For an authentic travel experience, contact one of our travel advisors. Our local experts are always ready to create a hassle-free tour for you.

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