When most people think of Chinese food, they imagine late night trips to the closest 24/7 buffet and filling up a to-go box with as much sesame chicken as possible.
Most of the food at these Americanized Chinese restaurants is rooted in traditional Chinese food but strays away from its origins.
These dishes are some of the best China has to offer.
Spinach Noodles (bō cài miàn)
If you want some of the best noodles in the world, Xi’an in central China is the place to go. Stay away from anywhere that does not make their noodles by hand.
This dish has noodles made from spinach mixed with any ingredients you are feeling like this spicy tomato sauce/broth with egg, carrots, beef, and potato.
Fried Mashi (chǎo má shi)
In this Chinese gnocchi look-a-like, take your taste buds on a tour of complexity. This beautifully greasy dish includes various vegetables to provide texture differences within the sweet yet spicy sauce.
For a word that literally means sparrow food, the dish is anything but.
BBQ Meat (kǎo ròu)
It does not matter if you find it on a street cart or in a restaurant, your BBQ meat on a stick will likely be quite nicely spiced and quite delicious.
Generally cooked over a coal fire, you can find kǎo ròu of all sorts: lamb, beef, chicken, pork or something outrageous.
Stinky Tofu (chòu dòu fu)
You might feel inclined to avoid a dish with ‘stinky’ in the title, but stinky tofu is worth fighting through the name and its smell.
The dish tastes way better than it smells, relying heavily on an exceptional amount of spices to overwhelm your senses.
Chinese Hamburger (ròu jiā mó)
Although its appearance seems far from a traditional hamburger, the Chinese hamburger is still a treat. The bun is toasted in a stone oven then filled with a nice portion of seasoned pork.
The pork is cooked overnight in cardamom and cloves making it flavorful and tender. The name aside, you will love every bite.