Popular Chinese dishes for foreigners

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the Chinese dishes that foreigners hate, according to a QQ article. Today I want to talk about the other side of the same topic: Chinese dishes that foreigners find yummy!

I will start by saying that I chose these dishes based on my own experiences with the majority of foreigners I met in China. I am well aware that many expats boast about not eating any Chinese food at all, but usually I am not best friends with that kind of people.

So these are some dishes that (I think) many foreigners enjoy eating! Let’s have a look:

– Scrambled eggs with tomatoes 番茄炒蛋 or 西红柿炒鸡蛋

This is a very simple dish, easy to make at home and also a favourite among Chinese people. Even the pickiest of foreigners can eat it because what is there not to like? It’s just eggs and tomatoes! There are two versions, sweet and not sweet. I prefer the sweet one. C. often cooks it for dinner.



– Kung Bao chicken 宫宝鸡丁

I am not sure if this one’s everybody’s favourite, or just that it is the first dish we all learn so we order it in restaurants from the beginning. Either way, it is very popular among foreign students and a classic that doesn’t get old. It has chicken, it has peanuts (or cashews), it has veggies, it is a bit spicy… check! I have also eaten vegan versions with the chicken being replaced by tofu. Equally delicious!



– Dumplings 饺子

Everybody loves dumplings, right? They can be boiled or pan fried; they can be filled with meat, veggies, shrimps or eggs. They are supposed to be dipped in spicy vinegar, but I prefer dipping them in soy sauce. Or in vinegar with sugar (Suzhou style, everything is sweet here!). When I was working in Shanghai and we had lunch in a nearby Dongbei restaurant, several rations of dumplings were always in our order.



– Eggplant in any of its delicious varieties 茄子

That is a bit wide, right? But it is true. Chinese people have the secret for cooking delicious eggplant in many different forms. It can be quite oily, but so good! I didn’t like eggplant before coming to China. Now I love it.



– Broccoli in any of its delicious varieties 西兰花

I have talked about this with several other foreigners and we all agree. Broccoli is usually the food that your mother threatens you with when you have been a bad child, but in China this would be a reward more than a punishment. Sauteed broccoli with garlic? So simple, so tasty.



– Anything with potatoes 土豆

Potatoes are not widely used in Chinese cuisine, but we foreigners love when they make a guest appearance. One of my favourite dishes from the northern cuisine is 地三鲜, which is potatoes, eggplant and green pepper. I don’t even eat green pepper, but the other two are superb.




– Mandarin fish 松鼠桂鱼

This dish is always a big success with our visitors. It looks kind of odd, but try one bit and you won’t be able to stop. It is very, very sweet. It feels almost like a dessert! The Chinese name includes the word for “squirrel” and I wonder if it is because it resembles a squirrel’s tail?


It does look a bit scary…


– Fried rice 炒饭

Chinese people usually prefer pairing their food with white rice, but many foreigners opt for ordering fried rice to have more flavour. There are many varieties as you can fry rice with basically anything, but one of the most famous is Yangzhou fried rice.



Have you tried these dishes? What do you think of them? What other Chinese foods foreigners usually like?