China has arugably the best food in the world with the best food culture to go with it. Food is life here. If you come to China and don’t take advantage of the infinite delicious options, you’re not doing it right.
Here are the Chinese food replacements for popular Western foods.
Salad vs. Malatang
Looking for a “make your own” food option in China? Malatang is your answer. Similar to Western Salad bars, Malatang shops have a variety of vegetables, starches, tofus and meats to choose from. The difference is that the ingredients you pick for Malatang are cooked in boiling water and combined with some spicy sauce and broth. Customize it to your liking!
Quesadilla vs. Xian Bing
Xian Bing is the Chinese equivalent to the Mexican Quesadilla. It translates to “flatbread with stuffing” and can contain a variety of different ingredients inside, such as lamb, pork, beef, corn, chives, cilantro, etc. The dough is crispy while the inside is savory and juicy.
Beef Burger vs. Chinese Hamburger
Believe it or not, Chinese hamburgers (肉夹馍 Ròu jiā mó) have been around longer than Western Beef Burgers, dating back to the Qin dynasty in 200 BC. It’s a tasty sandwich that can be found on most streets in China. While Western burgers are simply ground beef grilled up with ornate toppings, Chinese hamburgers take way more preparation to get right. Typically, the pork is stewed for hours in a broth with over 20 spices before being finely chopped and added to the flatbread with cilantro.
French Crêpe vs. Jian Bing
The Chinese replacement for the fancy French pancake comes in the form of a delicious cheap street food. Instead of being stuffed with fruit, ice cream or cheese, the freshly-made Chinese Jianbing (煎饼 Jiānbing) utilizes eggs, cilantro, spicy or sweet sauce and crispy, fried dough. It makes for a great breakfast or even better late night snack.
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce vs. Da Lu Mian
Da Lu Mian is the slightly thicker cousin of Italian spaghetti from Northern China. The long, tubular noodles are topped with minced meat and tomato sauce. Everyone makes it slightly different, such as boiling the noodles in chicken, lamb or mushroom broth, slicing the noodles at different thicknesses and using different meats for the sauce. It gives spaghetti a run for its money.
Churro/Doughnut vs. You Tiao
You tiao is a fried bread breakfast food in China similar to the Mexican churro and American doughnut. This golden-brown deep-fried dough stick is great to eat on the go and is usually eaten with congee, soymilk or in flatbread. If you’re missing doughnuts, you tiao will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Pizza vs. Scallion Pancake
Legend has it that Marco Polo brought the idea of pizza back to Italy after eating Scallion Pancakes in China. While this may not be true, the resemblence is pretty close. Instead of having cheese and tomato sauce on top, Scallion pancakes are made from flatbread dough, oil, pork fat, scallions and sesame seeds. This savory street snack comes out of the oven flaky and oily.
Hungry yet? All of these delicious foods can be found in Beijing and all over China. Don’t know where to find them? Use Spoonhunt on WeChat (ID: Spoonhunt) to get started eating these Chinese delicacies.
Spoonhunt is your ultimate tool and service for finding restaurants, seeing English menus with pictures and ordering food all over China. We are dedicated to making all of China’s cuisine, from popular Western restaurants to the most local Chinese restaurants accessible to everyone. Follow us at Wechat ID: Spoonhunt or scan the QR code below to get started!
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