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china hanny naibaho food

A foodie’s guide to eating in China


Nom nom nom, we believe that half the fun in travelling the world is stuffing your face with delicious delicacies. And that’s exactly what our China Travel Specialist, Fiona did. For some, the thought of getting your chops around ‘strange’ new dishes can be a bit of a worry, especially in places like China where limited English menus can make dining out a total guessing game. But don’t panic. Fiona’s got a few tips on how to make the most of a foodie trip in China…
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Lost in translation

When travelling through countries with very different food varieties to your own home country, it can sometimes feel a little off putting. Added to this, when you look at a menu and nothing is even vaguely understandable you may feel that you’d prefer to have a guide with you the whole time to help you out or even consider just taking food from home with you because it’s just too daunting.

When you read all the guide books or even watch some of Karl Pilkington’s adventures, the image you get of Chinese food in China can just be scorpions on a stick and pets for tea! Yes, the reality is that those are food options in China, but they’re not the only options so here are some photos and tips to ease any concerns.

Food spiders
Peking duck food

Choosing tasty dishes

The first thing to bear in mind is that markets in China don’t necessarily have to be a scary thing. There are some incredibly colourful markets with very edible foods and smoothies and treats to try out:

Tips on ordering food

There are always plenty of veggies for the vegetarians too, okay so this would consist of the side dishes mainly but actually these dishes are quite filling with a bit of Tofu and some noodles or rice.

Ordering food can be interesting, but our helpful Know Before You Go Tips are there to help you when ordering in local restaurants. You may also come across restaurants with their menu on ipads which is a genius why of ordering your food – it will all be in Chinese and in English!

If you’re not feeling too adventurous as adventurous on some days, many of the hotels have their own restaurants and we find that at the vast majority of the guest houses and hotels the levels of English spoken tend to be higher. This isn’t always true, but for the most part you could have a lazy night in on occasion.

Two women with food
Woman with food

Allergies? Don’t panic!

What would you do should you have any allergies? It’s always good to have a note or card to travel around with you. There are websites which provide these cards made up ready to print off or, if you have booked a meet and greet with an English Speaking guide, you can always ask them to write down any dietary instructions for you.

Plane food or plain food?

Food on flights, now this can be another dilemma altogether. The important thing to remember is that if you have a morning flight that is over an hour in duration, you’re likely to be served with breakfast. If you aren’t keen for the mini-frankfurters, gloopy porridge and dry rolls perhaps just expect not to want to eat this. Perhaps wait until you arrive the other end or try and grab some snacks at the airport. We’ve always found the food over dinner and lunch time hours tends to be pretty good, there won’t generally be European style food available though so if you know you’re fussy, again, make sure to grab something at the airport. For the shorter flights you’ll probably get a snack and a drink along the way, but not very much.

One last experience to share with you all, you may find yourself in a restaurant where your food is served by this super helpful waitress…

Robot waitress