If you’re heading to China on business, it’s essential you bring along a Chinese business visa, conservative business attire, and an appetite for some scrumptious Chinese street food. While you may run across food vendors selling everything from donkey meat sandwiches to candied hawthorns, we compiled a list of six of the most popular – and tasty – street food options below.
Enjoyed all day, all year, all across the country, jiaozi may be the epitome of street food in China. These Chinese dumplings have regional variations, but all consist of thick, outer dough surrounding a deliciously juicy meat or veggie center. They can be steamed, shallow-fried, deep-fried, and are often served with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce.
Inexpensive, filling, and found across the entire mainland, baozi are steamed Chinese buns. While they’re prepared similar to Jiaozi, the buns feature thicker dough and more generous amounts of meat or veggie fillings. You can often find the buns in small and large sizes, with the latter being the most popular with vendors on the Chinese street food scene.
Cong You Bing: Nationwide
These deep-fried, scallion pancakes consist of flatbreads stuffed with spicy scallions and then plunged into a wok of sizzling hot oil. Just like you’ll find the standard batter-made pancakes served at breakfast across the U.S., these deep-fried delicacies are a breakfast staple across all of China.
If greasy, deep-fried, scallion pancakes aren’t your ideal breakfast dish, you can always opt for jianbing. These Chinese crepes are another popular breakfast staple across the country, sold outside subway stops, on street corners, and pretty much everywhere you turn during the early hours of the day. While jianbing ingredients may vary slightly from region to region, they consist of egg-based, griddle-fried dough that’s stuffed with things like scallions, lettuce, cilantro, and chili sauce.
Huo Guo: Sichuan, Nationwide
Originally a specialty in the province of Sichuan, huo guo has spread across the entire country. Also known as hot pots, these dishes consist of a flavorful soup base, meat, sauces, and condiments. Different regions have come up with different variations of the hot pots. One of the most popular is the Chongqing ma la hot pot, which features bubbling meat broth infused with spicy Sichuan pepper.
Rou Jia Mo: Xian, Nationwide
Rou jia mo is a Chinese hamburger, consisting of stewed meat that’s been chopped and stuffed in a pita. The delicacy is typically topped with meat gravy and chili paste. Originating in the city Xian, the Chinese hamburger has been steadily making its way across the nation, with vendors perfecting their own spicy mixes that make their rou jia mo unique.
Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, or a quick snack between business meetings, China street food serves up plenty of savory options to suit a variety of tastes. All you need is this guide and a Chinese business visa to turn your business trip into a culinary adventure.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.