surfing china

Visit China Like Anthony Bourdain, Eat Food Like A Boss And Try These Places

Have you heard of Anthony Bourdain? He’s pretty wild, and as a former chef, he LOVES to eat. In fact, he has entire shows dedicated to traveling and eating his way around the world. The best part about him though? He’s willing to try it all! And I mean, ALL of it. The weird, seemingly disgusting, and top dishes from places all around the world, Bourdain has probably tried it.

So, after checking out his travel and food shows like No Reservations and Parts Unknown, you will most likely want to get out there in the world and do the same.

If you’re visiting China, this is a great place to start your quest and channel your inner Anthony Bourdain. Because in China, they have a whole host of strange and unusual dining options.

Here’s how you can eat food like a boss in China, and these are the places you need to try them in.

Bird’s Nest Soup

Yes, this soup is made using real bird’s nest. Nests that were made using the bird’s real saliva! EW! Chinese people love it largely because of its rarity, and because of how expensive these things are to get a hold of. The price varies depending on the kind of bird that made the nest, as well as that bird’s diet. When added to soup, the nest becomes gelatinous and is known to go well with sweet or savory dishes.

Where Should You Try It?

Yongfu Hui-Shanghai

Beggar’s Chicken

This is a traditional dish that originated in the eastern Zhejiang Province. The story goes that a beggar showed up in Hangzhou and had a chicken, a knife, and fire. So, to cook it, he wrapped the unplucked chicken in mud and then roasted it. The mud hardened and when he took it off, all of the chicken’s feathers came off with it. Today, it is cooked much the same way, except it is much more sanitary.

Where Should You Try It?

Louwailou Restaurant-Hangzhou

Preserved Egg

Visit China Like Anthony Bourdain, Eat Food Like A Boss And Try These Places


Also called the thousand-year egg or the century egg, the preserved egg is made by preserving it in a mixture of rice hulls, clay, salt, ash, and quicklime for several months or weeks. During the process, the yolk will change to a dark green color with a creamy texture and a strong odor. The white of the egg will become a dark brown with a jelly consistency and have a salty taste. They look like rotten eggs, but Chinese people love them.

Where Should You Try It?

Any traditional Chinese restaurant

Bamboo Rice

This dish is a rice and pork mixture that is wrapped in a bamboo leaf and cooked.

Where Should You Try It?

Guilin, particularly in Longsheng Minority village.

Deep Fried Spider and Scorpions

Visit China Like Anthony Bourdain, Eat Food Like A Boss And Try These Places

Photo Source: Pins Daddy

These are some serious street snacks that you’ll find around China. And, they aren’t just there to be a novelty; people actually eat them. The spiders aren’t little guys either! You can expect to see tarantula looking spiders with a light battering and deeply fried. Same goes for the scorpions; they are available with pincers and tails still intact. These creepy eats will most likely be found on skewers and sold by street vendors.

Where Should You Try It?

Donghuamen Night Market-Beijing.

Duck Head

Visit China Like Anthony Bourdain, Eat Food Like A Boss And Try These Places

Photo Source: Los Viajes de quokka

Vegetarians beware. Just the sight of this dish is enough to make you cry. It’s actually a duck head that is seasoned and stir-fried, making it crispy and ready to eat. Chinese people seem to really like the dish, and many people say that it helps with growing brain power!

Where Should You Try It?

Anywhere in Shanghai

Stinky Tofu

Visit China Like Anthony Bourdain, Eat Food Like A Boss And Try These Places

Photo Source: That Best Bite

This dish is extremely popular all over China, and you will probably recognize the smell before you even learn what it looks like. It’s made by preserving the tofu, deep frying it, and then adding some spices. It looks just as gross as it smells, but it actually tastes quite nice. It’s one of the most loved street snacks in China and can be found nearly everywhere, especially in the big cities.

Where Should You Try It?

Changsha or Nanjing.

Meat Floss

No, it’s not meat that you floss your teeth with. Think of the consistency of cotton candy once you pull the strands apart. That is what meat floss is like. In China, it’s extremely popular to find donuts, bread and other pastries full of this savory meat floss. Make sure you’re careful when visiting the bakery because you could get a meaty surprise when you really meant to pick up a sweet treat.

Where Should You Try It?

Any bakery in China!

Hand-Pulled Noodles

If you’re visiting China, you’ll probably notice people hand pulling these noodles in the windows of restaurants.  The Chinese name for them is Lamian, and they are made by twisting, pulling and stretching the dough before putting them in hot water for soups or frying them up.

Where Should You Try It?


Shark Fin Soup

Visit China Like Anthony Bourdain, Eat Food Like A Boss And Try These Places

Photo Source: World Atlas

This soup is considered a luxury in Chinese culture and is typically eaten only on special occasions like weddings. The fins don’t taste like much but are added for their texture which is quite chewy and stringy. All in all, the soup doesn’t have a whole lot of taste, but people like to say that they have tried it at least once.

Where Should You Try It?


Candied Hawthorns

These are my absolute favorite street snack in China! You can find them being sold by vendors in public spaces and parks, especially during the spring and summer. They are quite similar to candied apples except they are smaller, sourer, and put on a skewer. Each skewer will have four or five, and they will be coated in burnt sugar. Make sure to be careful when you eat it because the middle often still has some seeds.

Where Should You Try It?


Some of these famous Chinese dishes are delicious, while others seem downright insane. However, if you want to visit China like Anthony Bourdain, you’ll have to suck it up, get in a good mindset and just go for it! Happy eating!


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Shannon Ullman

Hey! I'm a published American travel blogger and teacher. My travel writing has been featured on Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Matador Network and Thought Catalog. I spent over a year living and traveling around China while I taught English there. I have also visited dozens of other countries around the world.