China is as famous for its food as it is for its iconic sites, history, clothing and traditions, but many travellers know that the Chinese food they enjoy at home is likely to be quite different from the Chinese food available in China.
Food establishments can be found almost anywhere in China and are particularly thriving in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. Street food is particularly known for being popular with the locals and is diverse and relatively cheap compared to restaurants. If you fancy trying some authentic Chinese food but don’t want to step too far out of your comfort zone, why not try out some of these great examples of Chinese street food which are cheap and cheerful?
Fresh sugar cane juice
Whilst walking through the streets of urban areas of China, visitors are quite likely to see vendors with whole pieces of sugar cane. These pieces of sugar cane are juiced in a special juicing machine and thirsty visitors can expect to enjoy a chilled and refreshing glass of fresh sugar cane juice within moments.
Steamed buns (Baozi or Xiao Long Bao)
Large steamed buns are generally known as Baozi and look like fluffy dough buns which are normally filled with pork and vegetables. They are really popular with locals because they are cheap, filling and delicious!
Xiao Long Bao are smaller steamed buns which are filled with a similar pork filling. As well as being different in size to Baozi, the pork filling of the Xiao Long Bao is solid when the buns are cold, but becomes an altogether juicier surprise once steamed. They go particularly well with black vinegar or chilli oil.
Although this is a very simple fried pancake rolled into a spiral shape, appearances are deceiving; the flavours are really delicious. Flour, lard and spring onions combine to make this tasty fried treat, which is put on a griddle before being toasted next to an open fire. It costs around 2 or 3 yen per pancake and is ideal for people who find themselves with a craving for chips or crisps.
As the quintessential Chinese dish, noodles come in many forms on the streets of China. Noodle soup (tangmian) with various different meats can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and fried noodles (chaomian) are quick, cheap and delicious. Anything can be added to noodles, depending on what’s available, but some of the most popular and tasty are chicken, pork, eggs and an assortment of fried vegetables.