China is a immense nation with highly different style’s of food. Some regions eat super spicy food, some areas eat noodle primarily while some other places eat rice me primarily . There are certain dishes that are not to be missed, while others could be skipped or avoided. There are some dishes that are sold at almost every single restaurant in China but can be very different depending on the restaurant and eating habit of that region.
Keep in mind that Chinese food in China can be very different then from the Chinese food in you home country. In general Chinese food in China is less sweet, more oily and served with bones. At Chinese restaurants in China there are no fortune cookies served. In general don’t expect to find a fork and knife everywhere, but you can ask.
Foreigner Friendly Food
* Hot Pot – Many people call Hot Pot, or Huoguo in Chinese Language. Mostly eaten by a group of people, a boiling pot of broth is placed in the centre of a table. People take raw veggies and meat and cook them in the broth. The broth can change a lot depending on the region of the country. Usually a split bowl is served which has spicy broth in one half and non spicy broth in the other half. When ordering hot pot it is more practical to walk around with the restaurant with the waitress pointing at what you want to eat.
* Lamian – Is a noodle soup dish served in beef broth. These noodles are always sold in muslim noodle stalls that can be available anywhere in China. Another good noodle dish found at these kind of restaurants is Huimian, which is a thicker noodle and smaller noodle pieces usually also served with some veggies.
In recent years international and national fast food chains have exploded over the country. Generally eating at fast food restaurants is more costly then eating at a busy food stall. Certain national fast food restaurants do not have the good-quality hygiene, even if the sitting area looks clean.
* UBC Coffee – Is a Honk Kong chain that serves a mixture of Chinese and Asian style western food. This places are clean and safe to eat at. It is always possible to order an Asian style pizza and a nice cup of coffee at one of these restaurants. Another nice feature is that UBC Coffee always has heating and air conditioning.
* KFC ( pinyin: Ken De Ji ) – Is the most popular fast food restaurant in China. There are over 1900 restaurants in 403 cities in all of China, except Tibet. Although the food tastes mostly the same, KFC in China tends to be more spicy then compared to its western twins. It is possible to find KFC in almost every major Chinese city.
* McDonalds ( pinyin: Mai Dang Lou) – Is growing in China but mainly in the bigger cities. McDonalds serves the same food as in western countries, although with a lot of chicken products in order to compete with KFC.
Chinese kitchen sanitation standards may seem horrible to some Westerners: little or no refrigeration, meat and vegetables cut up on the same dirty chopping board. However, thanks to Chinese cooking methods you can still survive. Food is generally cooked at high heat, in small pieces, and served instantly. Food is therefore thoroughly cooked, and bugs are killed in the cooking process. A lot of foreigners that experience food poisoning in China will get it from eating Western food, because meat is often served in large pieces (which means it might be cooked unevenly), and vegetables are served raw (in salads etc). Having said that, you should still be a little careful when opting your dinner.
Some tips for eating safe:
* Try to eat in restaurants where there are many other people. Empty restaurants are likely empty for a reason.
* Aim for eating freshly-cooked foods.
* Although meat is normally well-cooked, if you are concerned about hormones or antibiotics in meat, or you don’t want to find out that you’re actually eating cat or some other mystery meat, vegetarian foods are a good choice. Regular restaurants will always have vegetable or tofu dishes.
* Street food is generally cooked in front of you, so you can judge the safeness by yourself. But meat is never refrigerated , so think twice before eating meat on a warm day. There is a slight likelihood that the meat may in fact be cat, rat or dog, instead of the lamb.