Sweet & Sour Pork (Tang Cu Li Ji – 糖醋里脊)
The title of this dish says it all. It’s both sweet and sour and often added with rice.
Steamed Filled Buns (Bao Zi)
There’s lamb filled although you could get all sorts of other variations like vegetables or beef. Large buns are often offered. The fun part is the small bowl you get with this meal to mix your own sauce, for example vinegar and spicy sauce. Your choice how much you want.
Fish-Fragrant Pork Slivers (Yu Xiang Rou Si – 魚香肉絲)
This dish has no fish and to me doesn’t even smell like fish.
Hot pot (huǒ guō – 火鍋)
Chengdu has some of the best hot-pots but you don’t need to be in Chengdu to have a great hot pot. There’s so many foods you could put into the hot-pot that it’d take a whole separate article to recommend what to put inside. If you’re not into spiciness but the rest of the group is, don’t worry — ask for a split pot of spicy and non-spicy. Load up in vegetables, breads, meats, and beers. It’s a group activity.
Tomato & Eggs (Fānqié jīdàn – 番茄鸡蛋)
A simple soup like dish with tomatoes and eggs.
Home-style Tofu (jia chang dou fu – 家常豆腐)
Every restaurant cooks it differently. You never really know what style of tofu you’re going to get since it’s a specialty that every restaurant has different.
Dry Fried String Beans (Gān biān lǜ dòu – 干煸绿豆)
It’s a bit spicy and some restaurants add more spice than others so you never really know how spicy it’ll be. I say, the spicier the better. Sichuan pepper is added. This dish often goes well with rice.
Pickled Cucumber Salad (Liang Ban Huang Gua – 涼拌黃瓜)
There’s typically many cucumbers added to this dish. The vinegar and garlic go well with the cucumbers.
BBQ (Kao Rou – 烤肉)
Cooked mostly by Muslims and found throughout China and most commonly in western China. You’ll often find a few tables laying outside on the sidewalk and it’s like having a picnic. It’s a great way to socialize with your friends and have a few drinks before or even after a night of partying. Options include chicken, lamb, and beef. There are spices added to the mean too.
Cold Noodles (Liang Pi – 凉皮)
It’s a popular Shaanxi dish and if you’re in Xi’an, I highly recommend it. There’s different types and the process is pretty cool.
Chinese food has a huge selection. I could make an endless list of foods you should try in China.