Top 10 Chinese Dishes: A Culinary Journey

Whether you’re a connoisseur or a novice, the top 10 Chinese dishes are: A culinary journey is an adventure in itself, filled with history, culture, and, above all, incredible flavor.

1. Peking Duck

Crispy Perfection Homemade Peking Duck Recipe
Crispy Perfection Homemade Peking Duck Recipe

Peking Duck stands out as the pinnacle of Chinese gastronomy, a true masterpiece. Its allure lies in the perfect harmony of crispy skin, succulent meat, and delicate pancakes, making it an exquisite delicacy. Accompanied by scallions, cucumbers, and the rich flavor of hoisin sauce, the experience of slicing and presenting this dish is as captivating as its extraordinary taste.

Crispy Perfection: A Homemade Peking Duck Recipe

A masterpiece called Peking duck is a Chinese dish with crisp skin, juicy meat, and rich flavors. Even though the meal is commonly enjoyed in hotels and restaurants, making it at home can be a very delightful moment. As you follow this step-by-step recipe, you will be able to achieve crispy perfection.


  • 1 whole duck (around 5–6 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine)
  • 1 teaspoon of five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 cups of boiling water
  • Ice water (for cooling)
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons of maltose or corn syrup for glazing.


Step 1: Preparing the Duck

The Duck Cleaning: Pat the duck dry inside and out after rinsing it under cold water.
It is important to air-dry ducks to get crispy skin. You put it on a rack and leave it in a cool, dry place for several hours or overnight.

Step 2: Seasoning the Duck
  1. Season the Inside: Rub the inside of the duck with salt. Mix honey, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, five-spice powder, ginger, and garlic in a bowl. Brush this mixture inside the duck.
  2. Air-dry again: Allow the seasoned duck to air-dry for another hour. This helps the flavors penetrate the meat.
Step 3: Roasting
  1. Thoroughly wet the duck’s skin by carefully pouring boiling water over it from a large pot containing 4 cups of water that has been brought to a boil. This will result in tighter skin, ensuring a crisp finish.
  2. Ice Water Rinse: Immediately follow the hot water bath with a rinse of ice-cold water. This step helps to tighten the skin further.
Step 4: Air-Drying Before Roasting
  1. Final Air-Dry: Hang the duck or place it on a rack in front of a fan for at least 4 hours. This extended air-drying period is essential for achieving that coveted crispy skin.
Step 5: Roasting
  1. Preheat the oven: You should preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Glazing (Optional): If you want your duck to have a shiny appearance, mix some maltose or corn syrup with a little hot water and brush this mixture onto it.Roasting: Put the duck on a roasting rack inside a preheated oven. Roast it for approximately one and a half hours to two hours until its skin becomes crispy and turns golden brown. Every now and then, turn it over to ensure that it cooks evenly.


Step 6: Serving
  1. Carving: Allow the duck to rest for a few minutes before carving. The traditional way is to serve the crispy skin and tender meat with thin pancakes, hoisin sauce, and sliced scallions.
  2. Enjoy: Build your own Peking Duck wraps by spreading hoisin sauce on a pancake, adding slices of duck, and topping with scallions. Roll it up and savor the crispy, flavorful goodness!

Homemade Peking Duck is a culinary achievement that will impress family and friends alike. Enjoy the crispy texture and rich flavors of this iconic Chinese dish right from your kitchen!

2. Mapo Tofu

This Sichuan specialty packs a punch with its bold flavors. Silken tofu swimming in a spicy, aromatic sauce made with fermented black beans, minced meat, and Sichuan peppercorns creates a symphony of numbing and tantalizing flavors.

Sichuan Delight: An Authentic Mapo Tofu Recipe

Mapo Tofu, a fiery and flavorful dish originating from Sichuan, holds a cherished place in Chinese cuisine. Renowned for its bold blend of spicy, numbing, and savory flavors, this dish beautifully highlights the intricate tapestry woven by Sichuan peppercorns and fermented black beans. Embark on a culinary journey in your kitchen by following this step-by-step recipe to savor an authentic Mapo Tofu experience.


  • 1 block (about 14 ounces) of soft or silken tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns, coarsely ground
  • 2 tablespoons fermented black beans, rinsed and minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili bean paste (doubanjiang)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped (for garnish)


Step 1: Preparation of the Tofu

Cutting the Tofu: Take your tofu and cut it into small cubes. It is important that you use a paper towel to dry them gently.

Step 2: Sauce Preparation

Mixing the Sauce: In a bowl, mix the chicken or vegetable broth with soy sauce and sugar. Set aside.

Step 3: Cooking the Pork

Pork Sautéing: Put some vegetable oil in a wok or deep skillet and heat it over medium heat. Put minced pork in oil and cook until browned, using a spatula to break it apart.

Step 4: Adding Aromatics
  1. Infusing Flavors: Push the pork to the side of the wok. Add Sichuan peppercorns, fermented black beans, chili bean paste, ginger, and garlic. Stir-fry these aromatics for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Step 5: Combining Tofu and Sauce
  1. Incorporating Tofu: Gently add the tofu cubes to the wok, trying not to break them. Carefully stir to coat the tofu with the flavorful mixture.
  2. Adding Sauce: Pour the sauce mixture over the tofu. Gently stir to combine. Allow the Mapo Tofu to simmer for 8–10 minutes, letting the tofu absorb the flavors.

Mapo Tofu

Step 6: Serving
  1. Garnishing: Sprinkle chopped green onions over the Mapo Tofu for a fresh and vibrant finish.
  2. Serve hot: Mapo Tofu is traditionally served hot and is excellent with steamed rice.


  • Adjust the level of spiciness according to your preference by adding more or less chili bean paste.
  • Sichuan peppercorns provide a unique numbing sensation; use them sparingly if you are new to this spice.

Mapo Tofu is a flavor-packed adventure that combines the heat of chilies, the numbing sensation of Sichuan peppercorns, and the umami richness of fermented black beans. Enjoy this Sichuan delight for an authentic taste of Chinese cuisine at home!

3. Xiaolongbao (soup dumplings)

Xiaolongbao (Soup Dumplings)
Xiaolongbao (Soup Dumplings)

These delicate dumplings are a treat for the senses. Filled with a rich, flavorful broth and a choice of pork, crab, or other fillings, biting into a Xiaolongbao releases a burst of savory soup that elevates the dumpling experience to another level.

Soup Dumpling Delight: Homemade Xiaolongbao Recipe

Xiaolongbao, also known as soup dumplings, is a delectable Chinese dish renowned for its delicate, thin skin and the burst of flavorful soup within. While making these dumplings requires a bit of patience and skill, the results are well worth the effort. Follow this step-by-step recipe to create your own Xiaolongbao at home.


For the filling:

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

For the wrapper:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of hot water

For the soup:

  • 1 cup rich chicken or pork stock, chilled until set (aspic)


Step 1: Prepare the filling
  1. Mixing Filling: In a bowl, combine ground pork, chicken stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, sugar, minced ginger, minced garlic, salt, and white pepper. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.
Step 2: Make the wrapper dough.
  1. Creating Dough: In a large bowl, gradually mix hot water into the flour while stirring continuously until it forms a dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth. Cover it and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Assemble the Xiaolongbao.
  1. Rolling Out Dough: Roll out the dough into a long log and cut it into small pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten it into a thin, round wrapper, keeping the edges slightly thicker.
  2. Filling and Pleating: Place a spoonful of the pork filling in the center of each wrapper. Pleat and seal the edges to form a small, folded purse, making sure there are no gaps.
Step 4: Prepare the Soup Aspic
  1. Chilling Aspic: Spoon small amounts of chilled chicken or pork stock onto a tray and freeze until it forms a gelatinous aspic.
  2. Adding Aspic: Place a small cube of the chilled aspic in the center of each filled wrapper before sealing it. The heat during steaming will turn the aspic back into a savory soup.
Step 5: Steam the Xiaolongbao.
  1. Steaming Dumplings: Arrange the Xiaolongbao on a steamer lined with parchment paper or cabbage leaves. Steam over boiling water for about 12–15 minutes until the wrappers become translucent and glossy.

Xiaolongbao (Soup Dumplings)

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy
  1. Serve hot: Xiaolongbao is traditionally served hot, accompanied by a dipping sauce made with black vinegar, soy sauce, and thinly sliced ginger.


  • Handle the dough gently to ensure thin and even wrappers.
  • Experiment with different dipping sauces to find your preferred flavor profile.

Creating homemade Xiaolongbao is a culinary adventure that promises a burst of rich and savory soup encased in a delicate wrapper. Enjoy the satisfaction of mastering this iconic Chinese dish right in your own kitchen!

Kung Pao Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken

4. Kung Pao Chicken

A globally beloved dish, Kung Pao Chicken is a perfect balance of spicy, sweet, and tangy flavors. Stir-fried with peanuts, vegetables, and chili peppers, this dish showcases the essence of Chinese stir-frying techniques.

Kung Pao Chicken: A Flavorful Stir-Fry Extravaganza

Kung Pao Chicken is a classic Chinese stir-fry dish known for its harmonious blend of spicy, sweet, and tangy flavors. With a medley of tender chicken, crunchy peanuts, and vibrant vegetables, this dish is a culinary masterpiece that’s surprisingly simple to recreate at home. Follow this step-by-step recipe to embark on a flavorful journey with Kung Pao Chicken.


For the Marinade:

  • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

For the stir-fry:

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
  • 3-4 dried red chili peppers, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts


  • Sliced green onions


Step 1: Marinate the Chicken
  1. Marinating Chicken: In a bowl, combine chicken cubes with soy sauce, Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry), and cornstarch. Let it marinate for at least 15–20 minutes.
Step 2: Prepare the sauce.
  1. Mixing Sauce: In another bowl, whisk together soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. Set aside.
Step 3: Stir-Fry the Chicken
  1. Heat the Wok: In a wok or large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Searing Chicken: Add the marinated chicken to the wok and stir-fry until browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the wok and set aside.
Step 4: Infuse Flavors
  1. Toast Peppercorns and Chilies: In the same wok, add crushed Sichuan peppercorns and chopped dried red chili peppers. Toast them for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add Aromatics: Stir in minced garlic and grated ginger, sautéing for another 30 seconds until aromatic.
Step 5: Assemble the Dish
  1. Combine Chicken and Vegetables: Return the cooked chicken to the wok. Add diced red bell peppers and roasted peanuts. Stir to combine.
  2. Pour Sauce: Pour the prepared sauce over the chicken and vegetable mixture. Stir well to coat everything evenly.
Ma Po Eggplant
Ma Po Eggplant

A vegetarian delight, Ma Po Eggplant is a flavor-packed dish where eggplants are cooked in a spicy, garlicky sauce. It’s a testament to how Chinese cuisine beautifully balances spices and textures.

9. Sweet and Sour Pork

This iconic dish is known for its vibrant colors and contrasting flavors. Crispy pork chunks are coated in a tangy-sweet sauce made from vinegar, sugar, and ketchup, creating a dish that’s both savory and tangy.

10. Hainanese Chicken Rice

A beloved dish in Southeast Asia with Chinese roots, Hainanese Chicken Rice features poached chicken served with fragrant rice and accompanied by chili sauce and ginger paste. Its simplicity highlights the quality of the ingredients and the finesse of the cooking techniques.

Each of these dishes embodies the diversity and richness of Chinese culinary heritage. Whether you’re indulging in the aromatic spices of Sichuan cuisine or savoring the delicate balance of flavors in Cantonese dishes, exploring these top 10 Chinese dishes promises an unforgettable gastronomic journey that transcends borders and tantalizes the taste buds.


Top 10 Chinese Dishes: A Culinary Journey

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