10 Chinese Street Foods And Drinks I Miss So Much It Hurts

Without a doubt, China is one of the most adventurous countries when it comes to eating street food. There are some dishes available around which you would never consider edible in your home country. Some of them look really disgusting, but taste amazing so you should never judge Chinese food by its look.

When you come to China, be adventurous with food. Don’t limit yourself to eating only baozi, fruits, veggies and plain rice. Leave your food comfort zone and keep experimenting with different dishes – from baked bees to grilled snake meat.

Here is my top 10 Chinese street foods you simply can’t afford to miss when in China:

#1 Baozi

These are traditional Chinese dumplings. They are often steamed or fried and filled with a great voice of meat (pork, beef) and veggies (steamed peas, sweetcorn, chives, chopped carrot). Baozi are served with soy-based sauce, chilli, vinegar and sesame oil.

#2 Jiaozi

Jiaozi are also Chinese dumplings, but crescent-shaped and much smaller than baozi. They are usually filled with minced stuffing and steamed and they are served boiled or fried.

#3 Snake meat

Snake meat

Snake meat is a delicacy served mainly in Guilin area, so if you make it to Li River nearby Yangshuo, you should not miss it. It’s a very delicious and soft dish which tastes like perfectly grilled fish. It is mainly served with deep fried veggies.

 #4 Snails and the beer

The snails, a very famous dish in Guilin, are usually served in shell and taste like a minced beef. They are cooked in beer and served with a bottle of beer as well. It’s very spicy, so be careful before digging in.

#5 Duck and chicken feet

SONY DSC

They are very spicy, but extremely delicious and convenient to pack for your train ride. They are served as a beer snack and usually deep fried, then steamed before being stewed.

 #6 Stinky tofu

Stinky tofu (chòu dòufu) is a form of fermented tofu that has a strong odor. It is a snack that is usually sold at night markets or roadside stands or as a side dish.

#7 Grilled chicks

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Vacuum-packed snack often eaten in local trains and buses. They are salt-baked or grilled. You might go for a spicy version or the mild one if it does not disgust you.

 #8 You tiao

It’s a very common breakfast in China. You tiao is simply deep fried bread stick made of dough and served hot as an accompaniment for rice congee or soy milk.

#9 Baked sweet potatoes

SONY DSC

Great snack option for vegetarians. They are baked in a huge barrel in the street, extremely soft and dry so make sure you get them with soy milk or tea.

#10 Fried noodles or rice

Fried rice with vegetables and bean curd – a very common street food made by locals. The rice is served in bowls with meat and vegetables as toppings and adding some bean curd (processed from soybeans) on top will make it taste even better.

What’s your favorite Chinese food you can’t live without?

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About Agness

Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"


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61 Comments

  • I’m a big fan of sweet potatoes and would love to try the Chinese version of it. The dumplings look tasty as well and the photo of the snake meat looks like I should give it a try ;)

  • I LOVED the food when we were in China. Dumplings and noodles and veggie dishes were often the staples. We weren’t too adventurous, so we didn’t try things like the sheep penises or scorpions (!!) but I think I could handle snake meat!

  • Oh Agness, I’d mail you some baozi but I imagine it wouldn’t taste very good by the time it got there. I love snake meat too, its surprisingly good. I agree that being adventurous definitely pays of here, so much deliciouness

  • You’re right when you say that one has to be adventurous with the food in China and that most of it looks disgusting. I really want to send my sis to one of these places and order her grilled snake meat! ;-) Haha! :D

  • That post made me hungry!

    I really would be curious about their snails after eating and loving the french version. Don’t know how I’d feel about the chickens though… I feel odd eating anything that’s obviously meat (ie. face is still attached). I’m sure I’d overcome it though if it was yummy!

  • I love baozi and baked sweet potatoes and nearly everything you have mentioned but they can keep the stinky tofu and chicken feet and grilled chicks! :)

    • No, it wouldn’t at all. I was not a big fan of meat when I firstly visited China and I was able to find an enormous variety of vegetarian dishes so that’s never a problem.

  • Those dumplings look great! The chicks though…I feel too sorry for them in order to eat them. For a long time I was worried about eating street food but with your posts and helpful tips I’m becoming a little more brave. Except for those chicks…I’ll stay away from them, haha.

  • You tiao with soy milk? I’ve never had it like that before! Here we do you tiao with rice congee, or just dunk it in black coffee. You tiao in black coffee is one of the best things in life! :D

  • Ah the joys of eating food in China :-) I remember my first ever trip to China and as a special guest I was taken to an expensive banquet meal. We ate loads that night and most of it I still don’t know what it was. My hosts refused to tell since they said if I knew what it was then I wouldn’t touch it. Probably true since some of it tasted vile whilst others were okay.

    I’ve never been brave enough to try chicken feet yet. Although wondering along the street food displays always leaves me curious when I don’t know what it is.

  • OMG, you are really watering my mouth, Agness. Now I miss the fantastic food I got to taste in China even more. When I travelled along the Silk Road I especially loved the grilled vegetables spread with a spicy marinade which I got at the night market in Turpan or the vegetables on sticks boiled in a huge pot at the night market in Kashgar and everyone could just take out what he or she would like to eat. And it was terribly cheap, just 1 Yuan per stick. I also miss all the other food and dishes I could try all over China sooo much, definitely need to go back in the near future.

  • A very impressive selection of foods. As for me, I like the Indian adaptation of the Chinese dishes – gobi manchurian, for example (fried cauliflower).

  • Agness – I have not been to China! Fortunately I have a dumpling obsession and eat them wherever I find them (most recently in Japan). The Jiaozi look amazing – and those snails – yum. I’d give snake meat a go, I’m sure I’d like that. No bile or blood or beating hearts for me though!

  • OMG. All this food looks amazing even the ones that at first glance would make you throw up! I love the animated video too! I’ve had snake meat and chicken feet before but my favourite Chinese food is dumpling!

    The first time I had it was in Hong Kong and I spent years looking for the same type that I had there. I finally found it last year at a trendy Korean restaurant in Berlin. I couldn’t believe it!

  • Ahh, I’m not such a fan of chicken feet, or sweet potato – which are the most common in lots of parts of Asia. Love the steamed buns though! I’m sure you’re enjoying the lovely Dutch food plenty more though :))

  • So Guilin looks like a good foodie destination – any particular place or streets area to recommend? Just planning to be there next month – snails I love (though it may be early in the season), have not eaten good snake as yet, so keen to find yummy one.

  • As a Chinese who have eaten snake meat before, I wonder the taste of snake meat is like the one of fish? Judging from your picture, I guess what you ate is actually Asian swamp eel, a kind of fish, but I am not sure. LOL.

    And it is really very rare that there are foreigners like you willing to eat duck and chicken feet and stinky tofu. Nice try.

    Different parts of China have different food cultures. If you can travel around China, you can definitely discover more food you have never seen before. :D

  • Yum, the noodles look so good! Can’t wait to try some street food. I’m starting my “quit job, nomad journey” at 40, next week in Goa, India from the U.S., before hitting Thailand and surrounding countries for some months.

    The grilled chicks look somewhat disturbing, haha. Perhaps better than scorpions though.

  • Here in Indonesia I eat a lot of Chinese food but I guess they have been adjusted to the Indonesian flavours so I hope to go to China and authentic ones! Looking at your list, I can tell that I’ll love most of them (dumplings yumm..) and some that I might have to take deep breaths and try (snake meat…not sure..but if you say so :D)

    Great list Agness – it’s no wonder you miss them while you are in Europe!

  • Christ I’m gonna get so fat with all the amazing stir frys and Baozi! I’m going to really try to be adventurous with some of this food but not sure I cant make any promises on some of this! haha ;)

  • I love love loved Yangshuo! I’m going to be posting about my experiences there soon
    In terms of food, you’re so adventurous, I love it! I tried some of these, but need to get back to try the others!

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