Food in China is similar to Chinese restaurants in America, but also vastly different. You might have noticed a wide selection of various foods when you eat at a Chinese buffet in North American. They are not wrong ~ China is home to a vast variety of different foods.
Most food can be traced to a particular region of China. For example, food cooked in Chuan is spicier than most while Beijing dishes consist of vegetables and meat. Shark fin soup is a delicacy while Shanghai’s cuisine has seafood cooked with plenty of oils.
The classic Chinese takeout box so prominent in America has its place in China as well, except their boxesare made of Styrofoam. It seems everywhere you go in China, you see the last remains of lunches eaten in China, all in the form of these culturally modern Styrofoam Chinese takeout boxes. You may always purchase a reusable container for lunch, but don’t do it to save on the amount of rubbish generated every day by the classic Chinese lunchbox; your investmentwill not make a dent.
The Eastern world is famous for their tea; Japan and China are the world’s largest tea-drinking countries. China’s selection of tea will not disappoint. If you are a coffee drinker, however, you are better off bringing your own. As you finish a meal in China, don’t expect a fortune cookie; this is a Japanese invention that is uniquely American.
Along with tea, soft drinks are quite popular in China. In America, the prominent brands of Coke® and Pepsi® are everywhere. While the do exist in China, they are not the main brands or the most popular. Every year, hundreds of names come and go. The soft drink industry in China is anything but consistent. You are sure to find some very odd and suspicious looking sodas, many of which you will not recognize. If you are feeling brave, try a few. Who knows? You may end up liking it.
Bottled water is everywhere, and often safer to drink than tap water. This is not always true, so be careful. Some bottled water is nothing but someone standing at a sink filling them up. Alcohol is another issue in China. Chinese beer is famous and often delicious, with Qingdao known as the best and most prominent brand.Every town and remote village seems to have its own version of cheap alcohol. It is either too watered down to make it worth anything or it is decent yet incredibly cheap. Chinese wine is very different from wine found in America. This is often potent grain alcohol and doesn’t come cheap.
Dumplings are China’s most popular food. There is no right or wrong way to cook a dumpling. They come boiled, fried, or steamed, and as long as itis stuffed with something, you have yourself a dumpling. These dumplings are found in soups, from street vendors as snacks, or as a menu item in a restaurant. Chinese New Year and Spring Festival celebrations often find people making dumplings by hand as a social event. They say the dumplings are that much tastier when you participate in their creation!