eTALK China Insights: Street Food in China

unique chinese street food
Source: Zhihu

Chinese food is certainly one of the most popular cuisines in the world, and the variety in the Middle Kingdom seems endless.

Besides the classic dishes like hotpot or the famous Peking duck, street vendors sell a huge variety of snacks or cheap food for people.

Let’s take a look at the most classic street food in China!

Street BBQ

Street BBQ food china
Source: pinterest, thermalmarket

Probably the most common street food in all of China is the classic street barbecue – Shaokao (烧烤).

Meat and vegetables are placed on small sticks and can be picked by customers at the barbecue sites.

Restrictions have been placed on this type of street food because of the air pollution caused.

Chinese Hamburgers

chinese hamburgers food china
Source: pinterest, thewoksoflife

Chinese love their own kind of hamburger: Rou Jia Mo 肉夹馍

It is classically and translated as “meat sandwiched in bread”.

Usually, long stewed pork is placed in a type of flat bread.

It is also believed to be the world’s oldest type of sandwich, having been documented as early as the Qin and Zhou Dynasties (up to 1000 BC)!

Sugarcoated Skewer

sugarcoated skewer china
Source: pandacheffy medium

These skewer can be found especially in northern China. Fruits like apples, strawberries or pineapple are coated in a hardened sugar syrup. The most traditional type, however, is with hawthorn.

This sweet snack is officially called Bing Tanghulu (冰糖葫芦).

While street vendors used to sell the sweet skewers mostly only in winter, today you can find them regularly.

Street Crepe

street crepe china food jianbing
Source: globaltimes

One of the most common Chinese breakfast dishes is Chinese street crepe or Jianbingguozi (煎饼果子) its Chinese name.

The filling can be varied according to taste. A youtiao, fermented bean paste, green onions, cilantro, lettuce and more are classically placed on top of the thin dough made from wheat, grains and eggs. It gets folded before serving.

The (unofficial) World Jianbing Day falls on April 30!

Deep-Fried Dough Sticks

Deep-Fried Dough Sticks China
Source: authenticchinese-blog

The golden deep-fried „Oil Sticks“ called Youtiao (油条) are not only served in Jianbingguozi, but also as a regular bread for breakfast.

In general, those are deep fried dough sticks which are more puffypuffierthan the bread you are used to know.

It is served with Doujiang (豆浆) which is soy milk or with bean porridge.

Steamed Buns

steamed buns china
Source: thewoksoflife

Quite similar to Chinese dumplings, the Chinese steamed buns are called Baozi (包子).

It is a steamed and stuffed yeast-leavened bun. Again, the filling varies according to taste; baozi with meat or vegetable filling is most popular.

The buns are often eaten for breakfast as a main meal or simply as a snack on the street.

Stinky Tofu

stinky tofu food china
Source: avocadobanane

Some love it, some hate it: Stinky Tofu.

You can actually smell this food from afar, which is how it got its name.

It is fermented tofu and is usually sold at small vendors or night markets. While traditional stinky tofu is fermented in a brine with vegetables and meat sometimes for months, factory-made tofu is marinated for only 1-2 days.

Spicy and Hot Soup

malatang spicy hot soup china food
Source: meishijr

Malatang (麻辣烫) is popular especially in the winter days and is very similar to hot pot because of its spicy broth. Translated, it means “spicy, numbing hot soup”.

Usually, customers can choose from a large number of ingredients in skewers or by weight.

Common ingredients include all kinds of meat, dumplings, vegetables, mussels, offal, fish balls and more.

Cold Rice Noodles

cold rice noodles liangpi china food
Source: redhousespice

Especially popular during hot summer days are cold rice noodles. Its Chinese name Liangpi (凉皮) means “cool skin”.

Traditionally the dish does not contain meat, but there are several variations of noodles.

A special steaming process produces these noodles that look like skin. The main ingredients for the dough are water and flour. A sauce of vinegar, oil, chili flakes and soy sauce can be added.

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