From Dim Sum to Hot Pot: A Journey Through Chinese Street Food

By | March 10, 2023

Chinese street food is known to be some of the most flavorful, diverse and unique cuisine in the world. The cuisine has evolved over centuries, and its influence has spread globally.

A favorite dish of many Chinese, Dim Sum is typically enjoyed in the morning usually in small portions, accompanied by tea. Dim Sum, which means ‘to touch the heart,’ is a Cantonese style of preparing food that includes small parcels filled with savory meat and seafood, vegetables, and rice before being steamed to perfection. This is usually served with a choice of dipping sauces, including soy sauce, chili sauce, or plum sauce. Some of the most popular Dim Sum items include Siu Mai, shrimp dumplings, Char Siu Bao or steamed BBQ pork buns, and turnip cake.

Moving on to Sichuan cuisine, which is known for being spicy, nutty and rich in flavor, and one of the most loved street foods is the ‘Spicy chicken with peanuts.’ This dish features boiled chicken that is seared in a wok with dried chili peppers, ginger, garlic, spring onions, and peanuts. Apart from this, the Sichuan pepper, which is not only peppery but numbing as well, makes it all the more flavorful.

The popular Chinese street food hot pot is a perfect meal for a chilly evening. Served steaming hot in a pot, the dish is traditionally shared within a group of diners who sit together around a communal pot. The hot pot is served with an array of meats, seafood, vegetables, noodles, and dumplings to cook in the simmering broth. The broth itself is usually made from a combination of spices and herbs, which can vary according to different regions such as spicy or non-spicy. This street food is widely popular for its communal dining experience, ease in customization, and a wide range of its offerings.

Baozi and Jiaozi are the two famous Chinese street foods. Baozi is large, fluffy, steamed buns filled with savory or sweet fillings. While Jiaozi, also known as Potstickers, is crispy pan-fried dumplings filled with savory meat, seafood or vegetable filling. In Chinese culture, these small bites are most commonly served during Chinese New Year as they represent wealth and prosperity.

Egg tarts and Bubble tea are the two most popular street foods that are widely loved by many Chinese. Egg tarts have a flaky crust filled with creamy custard that makes them a perfect dessert to round off a meal. On the other hand, Bubble tea is a sweetened tea typically served with chewy tapioca balls (Boba), which are the perfect treat on a hot day.

In conclusion, the world of Chinese street food is vast and diverse, and all of it is delicious. Street food vendors across China sing their sweet and savory melodies to tempt all those who walk past their stalls. The cuisine is a gastronomic delight for anyone looking to explore and experience the true essence of Chinese culture.