Food in China
‘Chinese’ often finds itself included in lists of the favourite foods of the UK. But to shoehorn all Chinese food into one bracket feels like a disservice - the country is vast and home to an array of terrains and climates that influence regional cuisine. Whilst our participants who are embarking on our Great Wall of China trek will be based in the north of the country, they do get to enjoy a broad (and delicious) range of Chinese dishes.
Our Great Wall trek kicks off in food-mecca Beijing, famous for it’s delicious Peking cuisine. Key dishes include everyone’s favourite, Peking duck. Deliciously rich and fatty on the inside with a lovely crispy skin, it comes served with spring onion, cucumber and hoisin, ready to be tucked into a savoury pancake.
Northern China is known for it’s noodle dishes, whilst the south is famous for it’s rice. Luckily, our trip features vast quantities of both. Zha jiang mian noodles are a particular favourite - pictured right.
On a more personal level, I could never write about Chinese food without mentioning my absolute favourite Chinese cuisine dumplings. When you’re in Beijing, make time to head to Din Tai Fung to try their world-famous xiao long bao, gorgeous little soup dumplings that come from Shanghai. And don’t forget to grab some Beijing jaozi, either steamed or boiled dumplings which come stuffed with a range of fillings, whether it’s mushroom for the veggies or traditional ground pork.
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to stuff yourself with Cantonese classics that we’re used to in the UK, (think sweet and sour, char siu and black bean sauces), but it’s important to try delicacies like 100 year egg too! I’ll leave it with you to research what it is, but if you eat eggs, you really should try it!
Chinese food gets a bad rap in the UK for being unhealthy, but this is completely wrong and unfair. From sticky garlic aubergine to broccoli cooked with ginger, there are masses of delicious options available.
Chinese food is all about sharing. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are eaten around big round tables that have a Lazy Susan - a turntable - in the middle so that you can access all the different dishes that are laid out without having to leave your chair. During meal times the table is piled with different dishes, and you’ll have the chance to try everything - spin the table and see what ends up in front of you!
Typically you’ll be given a small bowl which you can fill with different food from the table. You’ll also be given a traditional Chinese soup spoon and chopsticks. Whilst there’s no shame in using your spoon to eat dinner (we’ve all been there!) with a bit of practise you’ll find your chopsticks skills are improving in no time.
Have we missed out on your favourite Chinese cuisine? Let us know in the comments below!