Chinese street food

Therefore, tasting the local cuisine of a city or a country is necessary to understanding the city’s and country’s identity, past and present. In most countries and cities, a traveler is likely to find restaurants that offer some typical foods, though if they are aimed at tourist; there is likely hood that the prices of these foods are a little bit higher than the normal prices. However, there is an alternative to these high prices and watered down flavors foods in restaurants, and that is street foods in every city or country. The street is where a city’s history collides with the modern day, where old tradition exists alongside newfangled developments as designer’s stores and fast food places. On the street is where the poor mingle freely with the well-off over a light lunch, where tourists can interact with the local people of all nature and often score the best food at dirt-cheap prices (Tse, Tse, Winfield, & Hom, 2016).  Therefore, it is on the street that an individual can get the best-tasting food in a country.  China is one of the few famous countries in the globe today that are famous for their foods as they are for their iconic sites, history, clothing, and traditions. However, most people especially the tourists are most certain that the Chinese food they enjoy back home is certainly different from what they can get in Chinese streets.  This study will focus on identifying the best Chinese foods in the streets of China considering that China is increasing becoming famous for its dishes and traditions.

Food establishments can be found almost everywhere in China and are particularly thriving in big cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. Street food is popular especially among the locals considering that it is diverse and relatively cheap compared to restaurants something that has caught the eye of the international community. Therefore, any tourist or individual who fancies trying authentic Chinese food but does not feel like stepping out of their comfort zone should try some of the following examples of food in the streets of China.

Chuan’r (Chinese Kebabs)

Chuan’r is one of the most popular Chinese street foods among the locals.  Chuan’r is also widely known as Chinese kebabs which consist of a piece of meat skewed onto thinly cut bamboo sticks. This dish originated from Xinjiang region in China and had been spread throughout the rest part of the country especially in Beijing. Chuan’r is small pieces of meat skewed on sticks roasted over charcoal or electric heat.  At times, this dish is cooked by deep frying in oil.  Originally, this dish was made out of lamb which is still common in most parts of the country despite the fact that this tradition is changing where other different kinds of meats are used to prepare it such as chicken, pork, beef and even various types of sea foods (Goodman, 2008). The meat is often coated with salt, dried chili flakes and ground cumin spice which is mixed before eventually barbecuing the marinated meat over charcoal. These ingredients help to add to the taste and flavor of the dish.

Jiaozi (Chinese Dumplings)

Jiaozi is often described as Chinese dumplings common in China and other parts of Asia. This dish is most common during Chinese New Year where every family and community strives to make sure that they prepare it or have access to it. The dish comprises of ground meat and vegetables filling wrapped into a meagerly moved bit of mixture which is then fixed by squeezing the edges together or by creasing. History has it that the dish was invented during the era of Eastern Han by Zhang Zhongjing. Jiaozi is often shaped as ancient gold ingots which Chinese and other communities believe to bring luck to the community r the individual owning them. They can either be shallow or deep friend depending on the wish of whoever is preparing them.  Generally, Jiaozi is served a dip of soy-vinegar sauce for flavor. Jiaozi can be divided into various types based on how they are prepared.  Examples of these types of this dish include boiled, steamed and pan fried Jiaozi.

Jianbing (Chinese Crepes)

Jianbing is popular among the locals as it is the type of bing which is prepared and consumed for breakfast and is common especially among those who take street breakfast. Jianbing is often prepared from a batter of wheat and grain flour, eggs, and sauces and often topped with different fillings and sauces, chopped or diced mustard pickles and scallions depending on the tastes and preferences of the customer. This dish is believed to have originated from Northeast of China and has slowly spread all over the country (Yalof, 2016). Some of the characteristics that make this dish popular among most individuals are the fact that it is never pre-cooked and the fact that it can satisfy different tastes considering that it can be prepared with different ingredients. The dish is easily accessible owing to the fact that it can be found on street corners, outside of subway station and all tourists’ attraction sites.

Cifantuan or Ci Faan (Glutinous rice balls)

Cifantuan is believed to have originated from Shanghai before spreading to other parts of China. It can be prepared by wrapping a piece of dough popularly known as youtiao with glutinous rice. The dish is suitable for breakfast where it is served with sweetened or savory soy milk to add to the flavor of the customer. However, in recent years different people have revised the way Cifantuan to match the needs as demands of the customers. Today, it is available in two varieties the savory variety that is made of pickled vegetables, pork floss and tiny pieces of dough wrapped in the rice ball.  Additionally, there is the sweet variety which is prepared in a similar manner to that of savory variety. The only difference between the two varieties is the fact that the sweet variety adds sugar and sesame to the filling to make it even tastier.

You Xuan

To most individuals, You Xuan may seem like a very simple fried pancake that is rolled into a spiral shape, but the truth is that it is delicious and tasty. You Xuan are often prepared with flour, lard and spring onions which are put on a griddle before eventually being toasted nest to open fire. The final product is a salty coiled pancake, crispy and golden on the outside (Kraig & Sen, n.d).


From the above detailed research, it is correct to say that street foods are increasing becoming important to China both for the locals and tourist or any other traveler in the country.  Therefore, it is prudent for anyone willing to learn the Chinese culture and traditions especially food to try out some of the dishes mentioned earlier.



Goodman, P. (2008). Food in China. New York: PowerKids Press.

Kraig, B., & Sen, C. (n.d.). Street Food. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Food Issues. doi:10.4135/9781483346304.n404

Tse, H., Tse, L., Winfield, C., & Hom, K. (2016). A Chinese street food odyssey.

Yalof, I. L. (2016). Food and the city: New York’s professional chefs, restaurateurs, line cooks, street vendors, and purveyors talk about what they do and why they do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *