Get a Full Serving of China’s Tastiest Street Eats

China’s long and complex history is full of diverse modern as well as traditional culture. Within this country are various customs, dialects, and of course, food. As a result of the country’s vastness, there is also a variety of Chinese cuisine found throughout the streets of every city. There are exotic foods to be found around every corner. Here is a list of the dishes and delicacies you should try at least once:

Donkey Meat Sandwich

donkey sandwich

The Chinese have been eating donkey meat since the Ming Dynasty, when the military ate it for survival. Today the Chinese treat it as a delicacy. They stew the donkey meat with a variety of sauces and spices, making it nice and juicy, then place it between two sandwich buns. You can find this popular street food on almost every corner as it is an easy meal to eat on the go.

Chinese Hamburger (Rou Jia Mo)


Rou Jia Mo is a Chinese version of the American hamburger, except with shredded meat instead of a patty, and a thinner bun flavoured with chilli paste and meat gravy.

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The filling and spices used vary from vendor to vendor, though the two most common are the yangrou roujiamo made with lamb, and the slazhirous jiamo, made with pork in gravy.

Hotpot (Huo guo)

Huo guo, more commonly known as hotpot, is a Sichuan specialty that has unfurled its impact all over the country. Over time, many variations have developed in each region of China, using different condiments, sauces, soup bases, as well as meat. The most famous of all huo guo is the Chongqing ma la hotpot. Because the boiling meat broth has Sichuan pepper, it is known to leave a burning and spicy sensation on the tongue.

Chinese Bread Buns (Baozi)

Baozi are dough buns filled with things like vegetables and juicy meats, then prepared in bamboo steaming trays. They are similar to jiaozi dumplings, but have a thicker dough and more filling. They often appear in two sizes: small buns called Xiaobao and big buns called Dabao.

Glutinous Rice Balls (Cifantuan or Ci Faan)

glutinous rice balls

Cifantuan are an extremely popular breakfast dish found along the streets of Xikang Lu and Nanyang Lu in Shanghai. Also called ci faan, Cifantuan are rice balls filled with various flavourful local ingredients. Rice balls can be either sweet or savoury. The sweet kind is similar to the savoury but with sugar and sesame added. The savoury ones can have everything from pork floss to pickled vegetables.

Pork Chop with Rice Cakes (Pai gu nian gao)

pork chop with rice

Another great street-food to try when visiting China is Pai gu nian gao. This dish combines fried rice cakes with pork chops. The pork is marinated then boiled with ginger, sauce, sugar, and oil. The rice flour is ground into a paste, then sliced into small, thin segments, that wrap around the pork chop. Then it is fried, resulting in a compact meal that is hot and slightly sticky, concealing the juicy flavours of the pork and sauce.

Chinese Dumplings (Jiaozi)

Chinese dumplings are a common street food filled with vegetables and sometimes meat. They get their shape after ancient gold ingots, which were believed to bring you good luck. They can be deep-fried or shallow fried and are served with a soy-vinegar dip for flavour. As soon as you bite into it, a mouthful of hot, juicy broth is released all over your tongue, creating a total flavour experience. Jiaozis are eaten all throughout the year, but more so on Chinese New Years.

Chinese Crepes (Jianbing)

Jianbing is one of the most common breakfast street foods eaten in China. Often found outside of tourist attraction and subway stations as well as on many street corners, these delectable Chinese crepes can vary by city. The main ingredients, however, are usually the same– a dough made of grain flour and wheat is fried on a griddle with egg as the base. Meanwhile, the centre is filled with a rich chilli sauce, cilantro, lettuce, and scallions.

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Lesley Daunt

Lesley Daunt is a travel writer that has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Huffington Post, Examiner, Digital Journal and more.
Lesley Daunt