If you are looking for an appetizer, then a Chinese appetizer is your choice! Thanks to the massive territory. China has abundant cuisines and each region has a unique characteristic. Let’s say Guangzhou which is popular with fresh ingredients, then Szechuan with its spicy foods. There is no end when you are talking about appetizer Chinese food.
In this article, we will show you a glimpse of appetizer Chinese food that you will love.
What Are The Most Popular Chinese Appetizers?
Dumpling lovers must love jiaozi. This rolled piece of dough is filled with vegetable or meat filling. This is commonly served as an appetizer or main course with soy sauce as a dipping sauce. In China and East Asia, jiaozi is very popular. It is commonly eaten in Chinese New Year.
There are three types of Jiaozi which are steamed, boiled, and pan-fried. Besides, jiaozi comes in various shapes and most of them are beautiful. Each folding technique is therapeutic! One of the most popular shapes is a pinched-edge fold that forms a crescent. Some jiaozi varieties are guotie, shuijiao, and chengjiao.
It is a simple dish that just needs simple ingredients such as flour, beef/pork/chicken, rice wine, napa cabbage, bamboo shoots, ginger, and garlic. Of course, you can modify the filling. It is a versatile dish.
Another dumpling type that is very popular around the world is the wonton. It is often called Chinese ravioli. Similar to jiaozi, wonton is made of a thin-skinned dumpling that is filled with vegetable, seafood, or meat filling. Typically, the skin is made of wheat dough.
Some source states that wonton comes from the Han dynasty. At that time, wonton is used for rituals. Around 220 CE, Chinese farmers in the northern part discovered that they could process grain into flour and then knead it with water. Later a new dish was born as bing. It is a collective name for various wheat products such as noodles, flatbreads, breads, and dumplings.
Creating wonton is easy. The ingredients are almost similar to jiaozi but you use wheat flour. Other ingredients include eggs, shrimp or pork, scallions, ginger, onion, and soy sauce.
The third most popular Chinese appetizer is spring rolls. Besides China, spring rolls are available in many countries like Indonesia, Thailand, and Philippines. However, each country has different characteristics.
Chinese spring rolls are made of sheets of dough that are filled with various fillings such as shrimp, pork, mushroom, or cabbage. Then, the spring rolls are deep-fried in the hot oil.
Enjoying spring rolls is perfect with dips such as plum sauce, combined with tea or coffee. This appetizer used to be popular as a spring present given to relatives or friends.
To make a delicious spring roll, you need to have flour, mushroom, eggs, pork or shrimp, carrot, bamboo shoots, and cabbage.
Pao cai is usually served as an appetizer, side dish, or palate freshener. It is a vegetable pickle with Sichuan style. Typically, pao cai is made of carrots, cabbage, mustard stems, daikon radish, long beans, cucumbers, turnips, hot peppers, and ginger.
It is a part of Sichuanese culture which each family always has in the kitchen. They usually keep the pao cai in the clay pot. The vegetables are put in the clay pot and then added with water and vinegar. It is seasoned with Sichuan pepper, sugar, and salt. If you are wishing for a fresh appetizer, this one should be on your list.
You might have never heard of century egg. Don’t worry! It is not an egg that is preserved for centuries. Century eggs are a Chinese delicacy, made of duck, chicken, or quail eggs that are placed in a saline solution. The saline solution consists of clay and salt combined with quicklime, ash, or rice hulls.
Because of the saline solution, the egg yolk turns into a creamy texture and the egg white becomes darker and its texture is like jelly.
Some sources said it originated from Ming Dynasty in Hunan. At that time, a farmer found duck eggs in the slaked lime. Then he decided to eat them. To improve the flavor, he added salt.
The century eggs are super delicious when they are eaten with pork porridge, rice, or pickled ginger root. It can also be served as a side dish!
Dan Dan Noodles
If you want something classic, then try dan dan noodles. The spicy sauce blends perfectly with the noodles. It is made of chili oil, Sichuan peppercorn, preserved vegetables, and peanut paste or sesame. It offers a rich flavor.
Dan dan noodles are typically served with beef or pork. It is great to enjoy dan dan noodles with dong ding, a Taiwanese oolong tea.
Another dumpling type is tangbao or tangbaozi. It is a steamed dumpling that is filled with soup. While most dumplings are filled with pork or meat, tangbao brings uniqueness with its flavorful soup. Interesting, right?
Because the dumpling is filled with soup, enjoying tangbao should be when it is still hot so the soup stays liquid and more delicious.
A popular variety of tangbao is xiaolongbao. It is a dumpling that is filled with soup and minced pork. Sometimes, it is also filled with shrimp or crab meat.
The dough is thinner than tangbao. The best way to enjoy xiaolongbao is when it is still hot and then accompanied with vinegar and ginger dip.
The egg roll looks similar to a spring roll. The difference is on the skin that is made of egg-based dough. The filling is usually minced meat and vegetables. The best way to enjoy egg rolls is with spicy dip sauce.
To make egg rolls, the preparation is almost similar to spring rolls but you use wheat flour. Other ingredients are pork, eggs, bamboo shoots, cabbage, scallions, shrimp, and chestnuts.
If you like jiaozi, then you will like guotie. It is the pan-fried version of jiaozi. It is a Northern Chinese dumpling style that is filled with a combination of cabbage, minced pork, scallion, ginger, sesame seed oil, and rice wine.
The characteristic of guotie is its crunchy and soft texture. It is due to a special method when preparing which the dumpling is fried with oil and then added with liquid then it is covered.
The main ingredients of guotie are pork, flour, shrimp, scallions, ginger, rice wine, and sesame oil.
Nothing beats char siu. It is barbecued pork that is first marinated in an eponymous sauce. It consists of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, star anise, and rice wine. It is usually served as an appetizer by slicing it thinly. Sometimes it is also served as the main meal.
Egg Drop Soup
Soup is a perfect appetizer, especially when it is consumed on cold days. The egg drop soup is very easy to make and you just need around 15 minutes to make it. You just need eggs, sesame oil, corn, and stock. Just bring the stock to a boil, and then add corn. After the corn has been soft, pour the egg that you have whisked.
To add more flavor, add a little bit of pepper and salt. Enjoy the egg drop soup when it is warm.
Another popular Asian appetizer food is cheng fun or rice noodle rolls. It is a steamed rice noodle that is made of tapioca flour, rice flour, salt, starch, water, and oil. You can add the filling or just let it be plain. The most popular filling is barbecued pork or shrimp. For the sauce, you can mix light soy sauce, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, five spice powder, sugar, garlic, water, sesame oil, and cornstarch.
Spicy Bamboo Shoot Salad
Spicy bamboo shoot salad is one of the most popular cold Chinese appetizers. The flavor is rich with a combination of sweet, sour, and spicy. It increases your appetite for sure.
To make the spicy bamboo shoot salad, you just need some ingredients such as poached bamboo shoots, garlic, Sichuan chili flakes, vegetable oil, sugar, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, light soy sauce, salt, cilantro, and Sichuan peppercorn.
What Are Some Chinese Starters?
There are many types of Chinese starters that will boost your appetite. It ranges from savory and spicy. Some cold Chinese appetizers are perfect to eat during summer, such as Shanghai smoked fish, bamboo shoots salad, Sichuan fuqi fei pian, ma lan tou, and many more. You can make it on the go, and even some of them don’t need to be cooked.
What Are The Classification Of Appetizers?
Appetizer is served before the main course. It is a finger food that ranges from simple to very complex dishes which depends on the occasion.
Keep in mind that appetizers should be small in size and rich in flavor. Pickled and salted foods are part of the appetizer. In terms of classification, there are seven types of appetizers which are cocktails, canapes, hours d’ oeuvres, relishes/crudite, soup and consomme, salads, and ships and dips.
So, which appetizer of Chinese food do you want to try? Don’t forget to check our complete guide to a Chinese hot pot here.