Chinese cuisine is full of delicious snacks, both sweet and savory. Some of the most popular that you can make at home are curry fish balls, egg rolls, gem biscuits, and pineapple cake.
Even if you’re unfamiliar with Chinese food, you should be aware of the allure of excellent snacks in the afternoon.
Finding the ideal snack for after dinner is undoubtedly difficult, but once you know about amazing Chinese snacks, you’ll never go back!
Whether you’re craving something savory or sweet, Chinese cuisine has something for you!
To help you find the perfect snack for you, we’ve created a list of some of the best Chinese snacks and step-by-step recipes so you can make them at home, as well as some information about the most commonly used ingredients in Chinese cooking.
1. Chinese Pork Jerky (Bak Kwa)
Bak kwa is the ideal option for you if you enjoy South African jerky but want something with an Asian twist.
We discovered that this cured meat is typically treated with soy sauce, five-spice powder, and fish sauce rather than vinegar and ground coriander. Beef or chicken can also be used to make bak kwa.
These marinated beef strips make a fantastic salty, light snack.
Bak kwa is typically prepared and sold in specialty stores in Asia. Today, though, it’s simple to order them online without leaving your home.
2. Curry Fish Balls
A favorite Chinese street food is curry fish balls, which are frequently eaten with radish. Thankfully, making them at home is simple as well.
The deep-fried fish balls are simply cooked in a flavorful, hot curry sauce, adding to the incredible flavor.
In fact, we’ve discovered that many kids who don’t like fish usually enjoy these curry fish balls. They work wonders for encouraging your children to eat fish.
3. Dried Squid
If you’re in the mood for a snack, try this one! This squid snack is expertly prepared, dried, and seasoned.
You can eat this salty, rubbery-tasting Chinese delicacy all day long without feeling bloated.
This food is also referred to as “Asian chewing gum” because it comes originally from Singapore, which ironically has a chewing gum ban. That ought to give you a hint as to how the dried squid strips taste!
4. Egg Rolls
Try this savory roll if you’re looking for a tasty snack. Its wheat flour shell is encased in a filling of chopped pork, shreds of cabbage, and other ingredients.
In our opinion, this dish tastes better when dipped in a sweet sauce. What’s better is that this quick and easy Chinese snack can be made at home!
This delicacy is deep-fried in contrast to the fresh spring rolls from Vietnam. So, if you want to keep up your diet, be mindful of its calorie content!
5. Fried Dough Twist (Mahua)
The fried dough twist was originally a snack for Chinese New Year, even though you can now eat them anytime of the year.
The dough twist comes in both sweet and savory varieties. To achieve the golden brown tint, they are fried to perfection.
They are frequently encountered in Tianjin City, China. The fried dough twists found here are sweets that are thick and huge, and they are flavored with various delectable ingredients.
6. Gem Biscuits
Gem biscuits are little cookies that are covered in a swirl of sweet frosting.
It’s not difficult to understand why this snack is so well-liked once you try them!
We were shocked to learn that while being marketed as an Asian product, these cookies were actually created by a British company!
Online grocery businesses in the UK sell gem cookies and other Chinese goodies for you to order to your door.
These Chinese dumplings are referred to as Guotie, or potstickers.
If you enjoy steamed servings of thinly-rolled wraps filled with chopped meat or vegetables, then you will love Guotie!
In addition to being served hot and steaming, the dumplings can also be prepared in a soup or fried to a golden crisp for a crunchy snack.
In many Asian stores, you can find several Chinese delicacies similar to this. Some may even accept online orders for deliveries to homes.
Who doesn’t love pancakes?
Jianbing is a Chinese pancake that is perfect for a quick breakfast snack! It is a savory dish featuring crisp fried crepes with deliciously bold flavors and a rich texture.
Unlike regular pancakes, the eggs are poured over wheat and mung flour as it cooks, and then green onions and your choice of vegetable spices are added to create a tasty savory snack.
These pancakes go great with any sauce, and you can even mix and match! It might take a couple of attempts to master the preparation of this snack, but trust us when we say that it’s totally worth it!
9. Nian Gao
The name “Nian Gao” translates to “year cake,” so it’s not a surprise that this is a traditional snack during Chinese New Year.
The Chinese eat it at the beginning of the year to sweeten the mouth because of its sweetness and stickiness. Its name alludes to a better, more fruitful year for the individual.
It’s considered lucky to eat this wonderfully rich rice cake in the new year in China. The name is believed to signify the start of a great year.
10. Pineapple Cake
This square-shaped cake with pineapple jam inside is a Taiwanese delicacy that is extremely well-liked.
These Chinese snacks, in our opinion, are ideal as a shared afternoon treat. You may find several excellent recipes online to create this shortcrust pastry yourself.
We advise you to pick up a couple packs of pineapple cake the next time you visit Taiwan so you can give them as presents to your loved ones. The sweet treat can also be ordered online and delivered right to your door.
11. Crunchy Rice Rolls
As the name suggests, crunchy rice rolls are one of the many delicious Chinese delicacies created from roasted rice.
First, the rice is roasted until it has a hard, crispy texture. It is then frequently drizzled with syrup and dusted with sesame seeds. As a result, the rice roll is a refreshing but sweet delight.
Do not worry if you are concerned about the calories. Many tastier variations of this snack have been discovered. This treat is available for online ordering and home delivery.
Make it a point to try shaobing if you haven’t already. They are delectable Chinese snacks.
Shaobing is an unleavened flatbread with a firm texture, unlike Western bread rolls. It can also be filled with a variety of ingredients, including beef and potatoes, taro filling, or sweet red beans.
It tastes best when eaten with soy milk.
The flat, hard bun is a delight for individuals who are hungry after lunch but before evening. This is available at a lot of Asian bakeries.
13. Steamed Bao Buns
The best way to eat mantou, or steamed bao buns, is with a thick soup or sauce. Wait for a cool day, make a curry, and dip these buns into the curry for a flavorful experience.
Fans of this Chinese delicacy can also enjoy it in a variety of ways, including plain, with butter, dipped in curry or soup, and more. It will still be delicious either way.
Frozen mantou is available in many Asian grocery stores.
14. Stinky Tofu
Given the variety of sweet or savory Chinese food and confectionery available, stinky tofu needs some getting used to.
You can either eat this deep-fried, fermented tofu cold or very hot. Additionally, the tofu in this snack is of higher quality, the more rotten it stinks!
You can find and order stinky tofu from internet retail outlets if you want to taste it at home.
We cannot emphasize how important it is to have this snack during the Chinese New Year festivities. One of the classic snacks produced with the haw fruit has its roots in Beijing and is known as tanghulu.
Nowadays, however, the treat includes a candied fruit, which can be a haw, strawberry, orange, or dates.
You also have the bamboo stick with the candied fruit stuck on it. The snack combines sour and sweet flavors.
16. Haw Flakes
On this list of Chinese snacks, Haw Flakes are a must-try!
They are produced using the haw fruit, which comes from the hawthorn tree.
There is a good reason why this fruit is among the most popular in the country.
It is adaptable since you can eat it like regular fruit, add it to your favorite soups and sweets, or use it as a Chinese medicine ingredient. The candied form is nevertheless very well-liked throughout Asia.
Hawthorn fruit and sugar are used to form small treats that are designed to have a sweet-tart flavor.
You can find them in Chinese supermarkets or online. While they can’t be made at home, you can make some delicious cookies using the recipe listed.
17. Turnip Cake
Turnip cake, also known as radish cake, is a rectangular-shaped slab of fried radishes and rice flour.
These Chinese treats, which are typically consumed dipped in a sauce made of soy and chili, are common in many dim sum shops.
In addition, some chefs could decide to add ham or dried shrimp to the meal. This, in our opinion, gives the meal more punch.
18. Watermelon Seeds
You’ll see a lot of watermelon being consumed in the neighborhood during the summer. In practically every region of the world, most people enjoy eating watermelon.
But you could get easily irritated by the seeds. However, roasting them turns them into a delicious snack, so think again before tossing them away!
Although they predominantly have a caramel flavor, they are packed with nutrients. You have the option of eating the entire thing or attempting to open it so you can savor the tiny piece inside.
If you have never tried it, we would compare it to little sunflower seeds.
They are popular in both Asia and Europe and are typically roasted. You can also lower your cholesterol by eating these seeds.
19. White Rabbit Candy
This sweet must be familiar to every child who grew up in China. The fact that the paper wrapping is edible makes it even more memorable!
As of right now, we haven’t come across anything similar.
This particular milk candy is well-liked during the Chinese New Year. It is the responsibility of the parents to put the candies in the candy boxes with other sweets so that everyone can enjoy them, children included.
They represent good fortune.
It has a vanilla flavor, and you should be warned that it will probably cling to your teeth as you chew it. So just let it melt in your mouth or suck it instead.
20. Yang Rou Chuan
Essentially, this is a Mandarin version of the popular mutton skewers among Chinese people.
It is believed to have started in the northwest Chinese province of Xinjiang.
It is now ubiquitous in Beijing’s streets and those of other large Chinese-populated cities around the globe.
These spicy bites are best consumed in the evening for the majority of Chinese people. You won’t be able to resist the flavorful, spicy, and smoky flavors once you’ve had them.
You can serve these fried bread sticks as a breakfast treat along with soy milk, scallion pancakes, and/or porridge.
They are consumed as snacks, but you may also incorporate them into some of your mouth watering meals.
It consists of two very long sticks of fried dough that are joined. We find them to be chewy and sticky, and their alluring aroma is what makes them irresistible.
Today, they are now packaged and available for purchase. However, they are simple to make at home, where you can eat them with soy sauce, hot chili oil, and vinegar.
Common Chinese Ingredients
Now that you know some of the best Chinese snacks, we’ll go through some of the most common and essential ingredients you’d find in a Chinese home or restaurant.
It’s beneficial to know these Chinese cooking staples if you want to start making your own delicious Chinese cuisine.
Most of these ingredients can be found in Asian grocery stores and food markets, and on many online stores.
Light Soy Sauce
Sheng Chou, or light soy sauce, is a fundamental component in Chinese cuisine. It has a lighter tint than conventional soy sauce but is saltier.
Without adding much color, it gives the dish a savory umami flavor. All kinds of dishes frequently contain light soy sauce.
Dark Soy Sauce
Lao Chou, also known as dark soy sauce, has a thicker consistency, a less salty and slightly sweet flavor, and a darker overall appearance than light soy sauce.
Dark soy sauce resembles food coloring more so than it does a condiment. In order to give a meal an enticing dark brown color, it is typically used in braising and occasionally stir-frying along with light soy sauce.
Because it is used to thicken sauces and soups, marinade meat, and pan-fry ingredients to make a crispy crust, cornstarch is a crucial component of any Asian pantry.
For instance, you can utilize the cornstarch slurry to give egg drop soup its velvety texture. It is also required to give sauces like orange sauce it’s sticky feel.
To get a super-crispy deep-fried texture, meat is frequently coated with cornstarch then pan-fried.
Shaoxing wine is a type of rice wine. Like soy sauce, it’s a crucial component in Chinese cooking.
Its umami flavor is savory and it has a light soy sauce-like appearance. It is light brown in hue and enhances the flavor of food.
It is used practically everywhere, including to make sauces, deglaze pans, and create marinades.
A fantastic bottle of premium peanut oil will instantly improve all dishes. Because of its high smoking point, it is ideal for stir-fries.
The oil is exceptionally fragrant and has a peanut butter aroma when the lid is opened.
If you use pure peanut oil instead of standard vegetable oil when preparing straightforward vegetable meals like stir-fried cabbage or bok choy with spicy garlic soy sauce, you’ll notice a significant improvement.
Old vinegar or black vinegar are other names for chinkiang vinegar, also known as Zhen Jiang Xiang Cu.
Chinkiang vinegar has a peculiar dark brown hue that resembles soy sauce almost exactly. Its fermented, malty taste and oaky character set it apart from rice vinegar, which has a lighter tint. It has a deep, pungent, acidic flavor.
In China, Chinkiang vinegar is an important Chinese ingredient and is used in many Chinese dishes.
Sauces And Pastes
Chili Bean Sauce
Chili bean sauce is a thick chili paste prepared from a blend of fiery chilies and fermented beans, much like gochujang, or Korean chili paste.
Particularly in Sichuan cooking, which is renowned for its liberal use of strong chillies and other punchy flavors, it is frequently used for dipping sauces or to impart a spicy kick to dishes.
Oyster extract is used to make oyster sauce, a black, dense sauce. It has a savory, slightly seafoody, salty, and faintly sweet flavor.
It is frequently used in Cantonese cuisine and gives food an umami and sweetness lift. It is a necessary component for both dim sum and fried noodles.
Oyster sauce will give your food a deep flavor whether you’re making chicken and broccoli or a quick chicken chow mein.
Rice vinegar has a fruity, mildly sweet flavor. Rice vinegar is not as often used as Chinkiang vinegar in Chinese cooking but is still an important ingredient.
Rice vinegar is a necessity if you enjoy foods like orange chicken, sweet and sour pork, and honey chicken.
The main ingredients in hoisin sauce, which is a black, viscous sauce, are sugar and soybeans.
It is a staple of Cantonese cooking and a crucial component of char siu pork and char siu buns. It’s also a well-liked dipping sauce that goes well with roasted meat and vegetables.
Toasted Sesame Oil
The hue of toasted sesame oil is dark amber, and it smells strongly of nuts. It is typically only used at the very end of cooking because it has a low smoking point and cannot withstand intense heat.
If you want to make some exquisite soup and dumplings, you must have this condiment.
Doubanjiang, also known as Chinese spicy fermented bean paste, is a thick, dark brown paste with savory, salty, and spicy flavors.
This is a staple of Sichuan cuisine and is necessary to make delicious mapo tofu, twice-cooked pork, and yu xiang eggplant.
If you enjoy spicy food, you should definitely use this ingredient because it instantly gives any basic stir-fried dish a rich flavor.
Fermented Black Beans
These are a common Chinese food item and the major component of black bean sauce. They are also known as preserved black beans.
In contrast to the black turtle bean, which is used in Latin American cuisine, they are a type of soybean.
These fermented beans are primarily used by chefs as a condiment to offer a tiny burst of salty, bitter flavor.
Five Spice Powder
Another frequently used component in Chinese cooking is five spice powder. The five spices in the powder – star anise, clove, cinnamon, fennel seed, and Sichuan peppercorn – are what the name implies.
A little bit of five spice powder goes a long way, and it has a warm, savory, earthy, and licorice flavor.
It is a highly useful spice combination to have even if it is not a must in the Chinese pantry to add delicious goodness to meat recipes.
White Pepper Powder
Chinese food frequently makes use of white pepper powder. It has a flavor that is crisp, spicy, and smokey and is ideal for imparting a clean, subtle spice without being overpowering. Compared to black pepper, it is more fruity and spicy.
Popular Chinese dishes like salt and pepper chicken and hot and sour soup both contain a significant amount of finely ground white pepper.
Dried Chili Pepper
Not only is it an essential component in authentic Sichuan cuisine, but it’s also frequently used in braising and stir-frying to flavor the oil.
There are a few varieties of Chinese chili peppers that are frequently utilized. For instance, the most popular chili, Facing Heaven Chili, is medium-hot and fragrant.
The plump Lantern Chili has a slight smoke flavor. The bird’s eye-shaped Xiao Mi Chili is extremely hot.
Having dried chilies on hand makes it simple to flavor food with smokiness and fragrance.
Hua Jiao, sometimes known as Sichuan peppercorn, is a lesser-known and underappreciated ingredient that is essential to the Chinese pantry.
It has a strong scent with notes of lemon and numbing, though not necessarily spicy, characteristics.
One of these tiny peppercorns will give you a tongue-tingling, buzzing, party-in-your-mouth experience the moment you bite into it.
It is as essential to real Sichuan cuisine as the chili peppers. It’s also frequently used in stir fries, noodles, and cold dishes to provide the food with potent aroma, just like dried chili peppers.
Chinese Snack Recipes: Quick Table
|Chinese Pork Jerky (Bak Kwa)||164||45 minutes|
|Curry Fish Balls||216||10 minutes|
|Dried Squid||253||10 minutes|
|Egg Rolls||213||10 minutes|
|Fried Dough Twist (Mahua)||57||1 hour 30 minutes|
|Gem Biscuits||28||45 minutes|
|Nian Gao||352||15 minutes|
|Pineapple Cake||230||40 minutes|
We’re sure you’ll fall in love with all of these Chinese snacks once you give them a try. They are available at many Asian grocery stores, online, and,. of course, on the streets of China!
You can even make some of these snacks at home using our linked recipes. Give them a try and we’re sure you’ll be making these Chinese snacks a part of your daily diet!
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