There are a lot of reasons to visit China – the Great Wall, the culture, the weather. However, what may be the biggest reason to visit China is the incredible variety of food options.
Just walk down any street in China and you will be inundated with an overwhelming amount of dining options. This can, of course, make it very difficult for you to decide where and what to eat.
Luckily for you, we are here to help with just that. So keep on reading and we will take you through the top things that you must eat when you visit the Middle Kingdom.
Meigancai (Dry Pickled Mustard Greens)
Dark brown and wrinkled, meigancai resembles tobacco leaves more than a cooking item. However, one sniff of this food and the beefy aroma will instantly whet your whistle.
The aged, dried, fermented, and salted mustard green is a specialty in the eastern Chinese city of Shaoxing. The food is sold in dry-goods stores and wine shops along Canqiao Straight Street.
The strong umami flavor means that this pickled green is going to fit right in with the other local foods, including rice wine, dried fish, and tofu.
The city of Shaoxing is known for its rain and mist as well as its ancient canals that run under stone bridges. However, they are also known for having the best rice wine in the whole country.
Rice wine has been around for thousands of years, so it makes sense that there are a lot of different varieties. The wine is made by fermenting glutinous rice with wheat. It is then aged in deep vessels for many years.
The drink can come out as dark brown or light amber. It can be dry or sweet and usually tastes like sherry and raisins.
If you are going for local rice wine, make sure that you don’t get the cheap stuff. Otherwise, you will end up getting what you paid for.
A bottle of the good stuff should cost you at least ten dollars and have been aged for at least five years. You can drink the wine or add it to your own cooking.
If you find yourself in Shanghai, then you cannot let yourself leave the city without first trying the hairy crab. The best crabs appear early in autumn.
The roe is extremely rich and tastes like egg yolk.
When you have the local crab, it is usually paired with rice wine. Make sure to get the hairy crab near Yangcheng Lake. These crabs are heavy and meaty.
Some restaurants will even help you out and remove the meat from the shells for you.
Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings)
These are dumplings that contain portions of hot soup, usually with ground pork. The soup stock is usually made with rice wine, scallions, ginger, chicken broth, and pork skin. The soup then simmers for hours until the stock starts to congeal and it is then cooled.
The dumplings arrive hot and steamy. When you eat one, you can either nibble on it so that it doesn’t burn your mouth or go all-in and just plop a whole dumpling in your mouth.
It will be hot but delicious.
While a lot of people will tell you to go to Shanghai for soup dumplings, the real birthplace of the dish is Nanxiang, an old canal town.
Here, you will find soup dumplings that are less soup and more dumplings. The dumpling wrappers are also not rolled but instead pressed by hand. This allows you to have a heartier and thicker dough.
The best soup dumplings tend to have nearly clear skin. This allows them to be taken out of the steam basket without breaking.
The meat should be savory but also contain some sweetness. The broth should be clear, hot, and delicious.
A lot of vendors will serve the dumplings with dark vinegar and fresh ginger. They are also sometimes served with a bowl of clear soup.
If you come back from your China adventure and are still craving authentic soup dumplings, then make sure to check out Thexcj.com.
Siu Mei (Cantonese Barbecued Meat)
If you visit Hong Kong, which you should, then you will likely pass by hundreds of barbecue establishments. If the restaurant is filled with locals during their lunch break, then you know that you’ve found a good spot.
Some of the best barbecued meat is is in the Sheung Wan district.
Most Americans have only ever had the pre-packaged and processed tofu that doesn’t taste very good. However, homemade tofu is a very different experience. The texture is like ricotta and it is very delicate.
Locals in China tend to buy tofu in the morning when it is fresh and then eat it that night. Check out the Yunnan province for the best homemade tofu you will ever have.
The Importance of Knowing About the Top Things You Must Eat in China
Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better idea of the top things that you must eat when you are in China. As we can see, there’s a lot of delicious food in this country. So make sure that you try as much as you can.
Are you looking for other helpful and interesting articles about food? If you are, then make sure to check out the rest of our site today for more!