Chinese food has a long history

The Chinese know how to make delicious meals. That’s because passionate cooks have been perfecting recipes for thousands of years.

Whether it’s the steamed buns, fried dumplings or Peking duck like you've never tasted before, you’ll fall in love with China’s cuisine.

According to author Peter Hessler, Chinese people will always complain if food is not up to standard. This is why it's so good.

"In China it’s common for people in restaurants to complain about food. The Chinese can be passive about many things, but food is not one of them; I suppose this is one reason they’ve ended up with a first-rate cuisine." Peter Hessler, author

Fried dumplings

Fried dumplings are a popular food choice in China.

The food varies across China

What’s unique about China is that the food varies greatly between each of the provinces, as well as within provinces. 

For example, in the north, carbohydrate is king. Think noodles, bread and steamed buns.

On the other hand, in the south you’ll experience sweeter food, such as Fuzhou’s sweet and sour pork. This is hard to find elsewhere in China.

And in the west of the country, your tastebuds will be pushed to their limit with some of the spiciest dishes around!

If you get the chance to travel across China between semesters, or after you finish teaching, make sure you try food that's unique to the province you're in. You probably won't be able to find many of these dishes back in your own country.

Lanzhou beef noodles

Lanzhou beef noodles hail from Gansu province, in the west of China.

Myths about Chinese food

It’s a myth that Chinese food comprises solely of weird animal delicacies like turtle soup and deep-fried snake.

While you can get this kind of food in some restaurants, you’ll have no problem finding food you’re more accustomed to, like chicken, pork, beef, vegetables and rice.

As long as you’re a little adventurous when it comes to food, you’ll be fine in China.

Real Chinese food is different to what you’re used to

Initially, Chinese food may surprise you as it’s quite different to the Western-style Chinese food you’re probably used to. Outside of Hong Kong, it’s hard to find deep-fried chicken in lemon sauce or even special fried rice.

Don't worry though. With recommendations from colleagues and students about the best local restaurants, you’ll find that the real Chinese food is substantially better than the Chinese food in your own country.

Eggplant and rice dish

The real Chinese food is delicious!

Apart from the wonderful flavor, what you’ll quickly discover about food in China is that it can be very cheap.

If you eat like a Chinese person – that is, you eat street food and at local restaurants – you’ll be able to save plenty of money for travel or whatever else you like. 

On the flipside, if you constantly eat out at high-end restaurants and Western food places, it’ll put a real dint in your savings. It’s up to you.

Blogs about food and eating in China

Have we whet your appetite? Check out these great articles for further reading about food in China: