Double Dragon: Exotic Chinese food to try
China is home to various exotic foods you can easily buy from local street vendors or high-end restaurants. Served in different styles and variations, these dishes embody the rich culture and unique cuisine of the country. Here are some exotic Chinese foods you shouldn’t miss on your next visit!
Fried Bee Pupae
Bee pupae are usually used as an ingredient for various dishes sold in the Yunnan Province, Southeast Guizhou, Fenghuang Ancient Town and other areas in Zhangjiajie because of their high level of protein and low-fat content.
True to its name, the smell of this popular snack can discourage visitors who wish to try this for the first time. However, many people enjoy this dish which can be found in almost any street in China, especially in its capital Beijing.
Stinky tofu is traditionally prepared by letting the tofu sit in a brine solution for weeks or months. This process gives the food its stench which is often an indication that the dish has been prepared manually. Variations of this that are prepared in factories have a less intense smell.
Street vendors serve stinky tofu by deep-frying small cubes in vegetable oil and skewering them together. It is often eaten with soy sauce and chilli for a more flavourful taste.
The distinct taste of century eggs is achieved by soaking them in a large container of lime, salt, strong black tea and ashes of freshly-burned wood. These are usually left for at least seven weeks up to five months to give the eggs the fusion of flavours of all ingredients.
This method of egg preservation originated in rural China when a farmer found duck eggs soaked in muddy water. After being intrigued by the taste, he decided to replicate it using different ingredients. Since then, this technique has been practised by the locals for centuries and spread over to different parts of China and Southeast Asia.
This dish is a healthy snack that you can find in most cities in China, though it’s most popular in Xi’an. Spinach noodles are simply made from spinach but the taste is taken up a notch by the toppings of meat, eggs, vegetables and chilli. Many people like the versatility of this food since you can use a wide range of ingredients as toppings.
Originating from the Yao and Dai minority people in China, this dish is made by combining rice and pork in a bamboo tube and then cooked directly above a fire. The result is a simple yet fragrant and tasty dish.
If you’re planning to try bamboo rice in China, visit the Guizhou, Guilin and Yuannan provinces to taste the authentic dishes prepared by the locals.
Fried ma shi
This is a simple dish made from vegetables and ‘ma shi’ or Shaanxi pasta. It came from Shaanxi province where it’s often cooked in large quantities for different social events because of its easy preparation.
Despite the low cost of the ingredients, fried ma shi has a sweet and spicy flavour that is popular among family gatherings and celebrations.