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Chinese food characters


A table full of great Chinese food at a local Lanzhou restaurant.If you’ve ever been in a real Chinese restaurant before (by that I mean one that’s actually in China), I’m sure you know that awkward feeling of not being able to understand anything on the menu. While plenty of restaurants in China fix their menus up with pictures and others translate the names of dishes into English (with often hilarious Chinglish results), most typical local joints have nothing but Chinese characters on the menu. As a result, you’re going to be stuck picking some random dish and crossing your fingers.Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 11.37.26 AM You may end up with something magically delicious, but then you may end up gnawing on chicken feet. To help you avoid that, here are the names of 20 common Chinese dishes that you’ll find all across the country:

Of course, it’s not always possible to translate the names of Chinese dishes into English. For some examples of that, check out my past posts – Chinglish Menu and Chinglish Menu Part II.Start your day off with a 煎饼。 For example, the dishes “fish-scented pork” and “fish-scented eggplant” actually smell nothing like fish. Don’t let the odd English translation throw you off, because both are incredibly delicious. Words aren’t enough to get your appetite going, though, so here are some pictures of some of these common dishes in action:

Of course, we’ve also got some videos about real Chinese food floating around on our YouTube channel. Here are some of my favorites:

The ubiquitous 宫爆鸡丁.Munch on the amazing donkey meat sandwiches.

Hit up Ghost Street in the capital for some Old Beijing hot pot.

Take a class at Beijing’s Hutong School to learn how to make Chinese dumplings.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there into a Chinese restaurant and put your language skills to use by reading the menu and ordering in Chinese!

There's nothing like a hot plate of 饺子.Hailing from the mean streets of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Sasha graduated from Michigan State University (Go Green!) in 2008 with a BA in Digital Media. He has lived in China for over 5 years working as an English teacher, Video Production teacher, and writer/video producer for Transparent Language.

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