Chinese Food Menu

The Chinese have a rich culinary culture and heritage and Chinese food has traveled all around the world. When you step into a Chinese restaurant, do you know how to read a Chinese Food Menu? In China, visiting a Chinese restaurant for the first time and using a Chinese menu can lead to frustration, especially if the menu is not written in English and there are no pictures of the dishes. Here, you’ll get the styles of the Chinese menus and how to use them.

The Principal of Chinese Dishes

In most traditional Chinese dining, dishes are shared communally. Different from the western dining, people sit at the table and share some different dishes placed in the center of the table instead of each having their own dishes. In China, it is customary to choose a dish for everyone, no matter meat dishes or vegetable dishes. It means five dishes for five people and ten dishes for ten people. See Chinese Dining Etiquette and Culture

While meals in Western restaurants are often served with a cold beverage, Chinese establishments often first offer their various teas. Even dishes renowned for their spice are accompanied by a pot of hot brewed tea. 

How to Use Chinese Menus

There’s a huge variety of dishes in China. Look at the menu in many of the restaurants and you’re handed a book of what they offer. The selection is more than you could possibly imagine in China. Sometimes it was difficult to decide what to get because it was too much. In fact, what you should know clearly is that how many parts of the dishes needs. 

First, choose the dishes including the meat and vegetable, which is the main part of menu. There are many kinds of these dishes for you to choose from, and some with pictures. When you order, you can see the pictures of the dishes(if available) and simply point and use your fingers to indicate. If no pictures available, you can see the dishes of other guests in the restaurant and choose what you like. If you have your preferred dishes, you can download the picture in advance and show it to the staff.

After the main dishes, you can choose the staple such as rice and noodles, or other desserts. See Chinese Desserts

Also choose the drinks if you like. Most restaurants offer Chinese Drinks like Baijiu Drinking, Beverages Drinking, Tea Drinking, Wine Drinking, etc. 

Eight Great Regional Cuisines in China

Popular Chinese Dishes

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles

In 2010, a famous snack in Guangzhou was named the top 10 food of the year by the website Los Angeles Times.

Gong Bao Chicken:

Gong Bao Chicken is a representative dish of Sichuan cuisine. It is made from chicken breast, dried chilli and peanuts. It is spicy and delicious. Most foreign people would like to choose this dish as their favorite, which is almost a representative of Chinese cuisine.

Sweet and Sour Pork:


Sweet and sour pork are bright red color, sweet and sour, and tender inside. It is found in Zhejiang cuisineSichuan cuisineShandong cuisine and Halal cuisine. So it is not strange to be liked by foreign friends.

Spring Rolls:

Spring rolls, a traditional Chinese snack, have a lot of influence in the hearts of foreigners. It is a traditional custom to eat spring rolls in our country.


There is a saying in China: no food is better than dumplings. And the variety of dumpling fillings includes the essence of Chinese culture. Dumpling is almost a nickname of China in foreigners’ minds.

Ma Po Bean Curd:

It is a famous dish in Sichuan cuisine. Not only Chinese people like to eat, but also foreigners do.

Wonton Soup:

A lot of foreigners like to eat pasta, and there is absolutely nothing like wonton that is so delicate and refreshing in western food.

Chow Mein:

Because of the Guangdong people, Chow Mein is also deeply loved by foreigners.

Peking Duck:

It is one of the Chinese dishes that all foreign visitors will want to eat when they come to China. It is well-known at home and abroad for its good color and lustre, tender meat, smooth taste and fat but not greasy.

Food Culture Travel

Food is an integral part of Chinese culture and it should be an integral part of your trip too if you are a foodie who loves Chinese food. Don’t miss the famous local cuisine at the destination you stay. Most often, delicious food is with beautiful sceneryBeijingXianChengdu and Shanghai are famous food centers of China. Peking Roast Duck, Sichuan Hot Pot, Mapo Tofu, Kung Pao Chicken… Different cities have different local flavors and different food culture. Choose places to visit according to your preference. We have designed a series of China food tours for you. If you have enough time, you can visit several places to taste the great regional cuisine. Also, if you are interested enough, you can also have chances to make Chinese food.

Recommended Food Culture Tours:
Xian Evening Tour with Dumpling Dinner, Xian Tang Dynasty Show and City Night View
2 Days Beijing Highlights Tour with Beijing Roast Duck and Kong Fu Show
9 Days Beijing-Xian-Chengdu Small Group Tour
12 Days China Paradise Culture Tour by Train

Read more about China Food Culture Tours.

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