Hoping to get a taste of real Chinese street food in China? Beware of what you wish for. While some are delicacies that you simply can’t resist, others might be ones you would want to resist. Whatever it is, it’s authentic and part of the culture and dirt cheap. Prepare yourself as we give you an insight into some of the best known Chinese food in and around the city streets.
A wheat-flour based flatbread that can be compared to a French crepe, an Indian paratha or a Mexican tortilla, Bings are more commonly eaten for lunch. You can find them being cooked on a skillet or griddle in many roadside stalls while some of them are simply baked. Bings also come with their own variations such as Jian Bing which is a fried egg pancake, Luobo si bing that’s filled with shredded raddish and a variety of others.
Tang hu lu:
Also called bingtanghulu, it is a traditional Chinese snack of sugar coated fruit that’s skewered together on bamboo sticks. These are widely sold by vendors in many Chinese cities. The original fruit used was Chinese hawthorn but nowadays vendors also use fruits like oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, pineapples, blueberries and grapes. The skewer is traditionally dipped in sugar syrup but tastes equally good with a chocolate coating or sesame sprinkles.
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These steamed or pan-fried dumplings are a classic Shanghai dish. Made from flour into a crusty outer wrap and stuffed with pork, they are a hot favourite on the streets. They taste best when fried and garnished with sesame seeds or spring onions.
A much favoured sweet dish, rice balls or ci fan tuan as they are known are made by tightly wrapping a piece of fried dough with sweet sticky rice. Other stuffing that go into it are pickled vegetables, pork floss and sugar making it a popular breakfast dish.
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Insect eating is the most natural thing in China like this bouquet of skewered grasshoppers. Boiled or roasted to a crisp, they are a delicacy in the local markets and quite enjoyed by people who want to get a taste out of the ordinary.
Originating from China’s Xinjiang province, these roasted kebabs are a popular street food in the cities of Beijing, Jilin and Tianjin. Traditionally made from lamb, they are now made from chicken, pork, beef and seafood like shellfish. For those wanting to widen their taste buds, Chuanr can also be found made from various insects and bugs and other exotic animals where you can tuck into them outside nightlife spots and taxi stands.
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Chou Doufu or Stinky Tofu:
Chou Doufu or stinky tofu as it is known will not only get your taste buds tingling but will have your nostrils flaring. A type of fermented tofu with a strong odour, it is a roadside snack widespread in China. Stinky as ever, it can be eaten cold, steamed, stewed or fried with chilli sauce for accompaniment. With comparisons being made to blue cheese and rotten meat, Stinky tofu is said to taste better when the smell is stronger.
The consumption of snakes has been a long standing tradition among the Chinese people with skewered snakes being a popular street delicacy. The Chinese believe that apart from it tasting great, it also has certain healing properties. If you’re up to it, you can get a taste of snake meat at the many roadside stalls and local markets that throng the place where you get to choose your own snake.
Roasted Starfish and Scorpions:
Crisp scorpions and starfish deep fried or roasted on a skewer are a popular snack among the Chinese people and a novel delicacy among westerners. The rich colour, pleasant aroma and flavoured taste is all too appealing and not so repelling.