What Chinese dishes are authentic

The Search for Authentic Chinese Dishes

What Chinese dishes are authentic Anyone who has ever tried to find Chinese food that does not come from one of the many chains has likely come across the term authentic Chinese in their search.

What exactly does this mean? Is there such a thing as an authentic Chinese dish, or is it just another way to say this restaurant serves really good food, especially if you’re used to Americanized versions of other foods? In this article, we take on the challenge of identifying truly authentic Chinese dishes and finding places in your area that serve them.


Baozi, aka buns, are small Chinese pastries filled with meat and/or vegetables. They’re typically boiled or steamed until cooked through and then pan-fried in oil before being served. Because of their unique shape, it’s believed that baozi were first created as a way to make use of leftover dough from bread—specifically from shaping jiaozi, which are similar but have a different shape.

In some parts of China you can buy stuffed wontons called hundun baozi or stinky tofu fried in pork fat called chou dofu . The most famous example of authentic Chinese food is dim sum, a series of dishes served on carts by waiters who push them around the restaurant for diners to choose from. One type is siu mai (小米), large dumplings usually made with ground pork, shrimp or both and flavored with soy sauce and sesame oil.

Duck Blood Jelly

A favorite in China’s colder climates, Harbin hotpot consists of a simmering pot of stock with thinly sliced meats and veggies, which diners cook by grabbing pieces with chopsticks and cooking them at their leisure. Traditionally made with lamb stock and mutton, it’s more commonly available as a chicken broth base nowadays.

Shandong cuisine has its own version of hotpot as well. It’s believed that Shandong chicken was first cooked in hotpots over 2,000 years ago. The dish is prepared similarly to Northern Chinese versions, but uses local ingredients like sesame paste instead of bean pastes or spices like star anise. You can also use wine or vinegar for your dipping sauce instead of soy sauce.

Harbin Hotpot

When most Westerners think of hotpot, they think of one thing: soup. But authentic hotpot isn’t a soup. It’s a whole meal—sort of like fondue, with savory meats and vegetables cooked in a flavorful broth right at your table. The traditional style is called red-braised pot as opposed to Beijing-style or Sichuan-style .

It comes from Harbin, which has historically been populated by Manchurian people and was once part of China proper rather than an outpost along its borders—the rich broth makes sense considering its origins.

Wonton Soup

This dish is most likely not authentic. While wontons are a traditional Chinese food, it’s hard to find these soup dumplings on menus in China. If you want an authentic wonton, ask for Guotie, which are fried and crispy bite-sized meat pies. The closest thing I could find to true Wonton Soup would be hot and sour soup; however, that doesn’t use wontons!

While there may be restaurants in some Chinatowns around North America that serve Wonton Soup, it is by no means an authentic dish. Instead, if you have the opportunity to visit Beijing or Shanghai, go out of your way to try Guotie—it’s delicious!


Jiaozi, which literally means soup dumplings are bite-sized dumplings filled with meat and a mix of spices. These puffy balls of dough are served in a flavorful broth that adds to their distinct flavor. Jiaozi is considered by many to be one of China’s most authentic dishes, but it’s important to know where to find a truly delicious plate.

Even today, true jiaozi may only be found in China; however, some restaurants have begun preparing them overseas. In order to distinguish between authentic and non-authentic jiaozi, consider asking some friends who have been to China recently or do your own research online.

Chongqing Spicy Chicken

Chongqing, a city in China’s southwest Sichuan province, is known for its spicy food. It was only fitting that I try Chongqing-style spicy chicken while visiting there. Not only was it delicious, but it also lived up to its name: I felt like my face was on fire! The spicy chicken is so famous that many restaurants outside of Chongqing serve it because of its popularity.

This dish has no strict recipe and has been passed down from generation to generation by cooks who have their own special ingredient mixes. Despite the variations, most dishes have one thing in common—they are all very spicy. I had never eaten this before so didn’t know what to expect when ordering it.

Surprisingly, the spiciness did not overwhelm the taste of the other ingredients as long as you mixed everything together well. There were generous amounts of cilantro and green onion throughout the dish which provided a refreshing flavor to balance out the spice.

Ma Po Tofu

Originating in Sichuan Province, China, and still extremely popular there today, Ma Po Tofu is considered a Sichuanese dish. The name comes from its principal ingredients (tofu and ground meat), which are stir-fried together with chili peppers and a variety of other spices until it turns black—it is then thickened with cornstarch and served with steamed rice.

It’s not difficult to find Ma Po Tofu at most restaurants in China. But outside of its home province, authentic versions are hard to come by. One reason may be that the preparation requires significant labor: the sauce must be stirred constantly while cooking, or else it will burn.

I tried many times to make this dish myself without success because I could never get the right texture: the tofu should have a silky texture when cooked but not too soft so that it falls apart easily when you bite into it; also, if you cook the tofu too long, it becomes dry and leathery instead of melting in your mouth.

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