Smita Dey

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Chinese Dinner Foods

Delicious Chinese foods for dinner establish the ancient Chinese proverb “To the ruler, the people are heaven; to the people, food is heaven.”  Their food-loving nature reflects on their dinner, including other meals.

Chinese foods, as well as dinner foods, play an essential role in their culture. As they love to eat, a variety of ingredients are included with their food. Chinese culinary has taken its own place for its own delicacy. Nowadays it is spread from east to west. You can find various Chinese dishes all over the world.

Dinner is an integral part of their lives. It is the time to gather with family members. So you cannot expect the dinner for Chinese people is a short session. They pay full attention to their dinner. The dinner session is really long, with a variety of dishes.

Dinner time in China usually is 6 to 8 pm. After working from outside and finishing school, college and household work, they like to spend quality time at the dinner table. They love to share a variety of dishes with their own. No matter where they take their last meal of the day. It may be in a restaurant or their home. They enjoy their dinner with multiple dishes.

Traditional Chinese Foods for Dinner

Chinese dinner foods are really hearty to taste. You already know they consume a variety of foods during their meal as well as dinner. They usually consume rice, vegetables, soup and a variety of meats at their dinner time.

They usually eat all types of meat such as beef, pork, chicken, mutton, duck and other types of meat. Among these, pork is mostly consumed. You can find pork in almost every meal in China[1] Eggs are also common for Chinese meals. An egg is another common ingredient in Chinese dinner.

Parts of Chinese Dinner

There is no specific part of Chinese dinner and meals. Many dishes are served at a time. However, Chinese dinner and meal are served with rice, noodles or steamed buns as the main dish and vegetables, meat and others follow the main dish. From this concept, you can say rice or noodles are the main part of their dinner.

Rice is basically consumed widely in the southern part of China. As it is mainly produced in Southern China, which dominates the meals. Rice is served in separate bowls for each person; whereas accompanying dishes are served in the middle of the table to be shared. Rice is also used to prepare beer and wine. Noodles and steamed buns dominate the dinner table in North China.

Typical Dinner Course

Chinese dinner usually consists of three courses. These courses are very common in traditional Chinese dinner. Here are these.

1. Hot Dishes

Hot dishes are basically the main course. In fact, there is no dish as the main course as many dishes are brought together. In this course, they usually have meat, vegetables, fish. They typically use the cooking technique like stir-frying, deep-frying, quick-frying, Hui etc. to cook these. Of course, rice, noodles or steamed beans are served then. Fish is usually cooked and served whole as they like fish to be served fresh.  They take beer, alcohol or wine together with main dishes.

2. Cold Dishes

Chinese starts their dinner with cold dishes. They consider cold dishes as their starter. Cooked vegetables and meat dishes are cooled down. Cucumber salad, lotus root, “wood ear” mushrooms are very common as cold dishes. They believe cold dishes increase the appetite.

3. Soup

Soup usually comes at the end of dinner. They use to prepare soup with vegetables and meat. They add corn instead of milk or cream to thicken the soup.

4. Dessert

The dessert course is not common in Chinese dinner. Sweet dishes are served with main dishes making no distinction. However, they usually have fruits at the end of dinner. Fruits can be considered as a dessert in Chinese dinner.

These are the common course of Chinese dinner. Most Chinese people are used to with these courses at their dinner time. These courses assure their nutrition as well as their appetite.

Common Dinner Foods in China

Chinese culinary is really splendid. They have reached into a high place of the culinary tradition for their individuality. Chinese foods are world-famous for taste, flavour and appearance. Here are some dishes for you to know the real Chinese dinner foods. You can try these.

1. Sweet and Sour Pork

It is one of the classic dishes in China. Pork is the most consumed meat in China. It is favourable for its sweet and sour taste, flavour and appearance. It is a stir-fry dish.

Sweet and Sour Pork
Sweet and Sour Pork

Pork is deep-dried first. You need tomato paste, rice vinegar, honey, corn starch for the sweet and sour sauce. Spices like bell pepper, black pepper give flavour full taste. If you do not like pork, you can try with chicken. In fact, sweet and sour chicken is now a very familiar recipe to us.

2. Kung Pao Chicken

This recipe is really spicy and tasty. It was originated in Sichuan province of China. It is a stir-fried recipe and prepared with peanuts.

Kung Pao Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken

Chicken is marinated first with rice wine, baking soda and corn starch. No excess sauce is used for the recipe.  This recipe is celebrated for the tenderness of meat and flavor as well.

3. Spring Rolls

Spring roll is associated with their past. They had the custom to consume seasonal food at the beginning of spring.[2] It was introduced first as a pancake filling with cabbage and other seasonal vegetables.

Spring Rolls
Spring Rolls

Spring rolls are available now with different fillings. For savory taste cabbage and shredded pork are used for filling. Sweetened bean paste is used for sweet taste.

4. Ma po Tofu

It is a Sichuan province recipe. Tofu is sauteed in hot and spicy sauce.

Ma po Tofu
Ma po Tofu

Tofu, minced beef, chillies and Sichuan pepper are the main ingredients of this food. It is named after Chen Ma po. She made the dish first. It was accepted heartily for its taste and good looking. Still, the dish is as popular as it was before.[3]

5. Dumplings

Dumpling is another famous recipe in Chinese dinner foods. Meat like mutton or pork and vegetables are wrapped in a small dough to prepare the dish. Onion, garlic, Chinese chives, sesame seeds and other spices are also used.


Chinese doctor Zhang Zhongling prepared the dish over 1800 years ago. He used to serve the food to his patients before the arrival of Chinese New Year. The people celebrate Lunar New Year with dumplings.[4]

6. Wonton

Wonton is another common dinner foods in China. It is another popular dish all over the world.


You can prepare wonton stuffing with mutton, beef, shrimp whatever you like.

7. Fried Rice

As rice plays a vital role in Chinese dinner, Chinese fried rice is a very common dish for them naturally. It is prepared with boiled rice consisting of meat, vegetables and scrambled eggs.

Fried Rice
Fried Rice

They use various flavor into it. Flavors vary on the region. Fried rice with shrimp, ham sausage, carrots, bean and scrambled eggs is very popular to them. You can lessen your effort cooking fried rice recipe with ready pack.

8. Chow Mein

Chow  Mein  is another most popular food in China.

Chow  Mein
Chow Mein

The stir-fried noodles is prepared with vegetables and meat. It is usually served with chop suey.

9. Peking Duck

It is a Beijing dish and known all over the world like other Chinese foods.

Peking Duck
Peking Duck

The duck is roasted using wood charcoal. Cinnamon, garlic, onion, nutmeg, white pepper, honey, vinegar are other ingredients.

10. Hot pot

Hot pot
Hot pot

The popular stew recipe is prepared with meat and vegetables and cooked in boiling soup stock.

11. Hot and Sour Soup

It is lovable to almost all Chinese people.

Hot and Sour Soup
Hot and Sour Soup

The soup is prepared with cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, white and red pepper. Vinegar adds the sour taste of the soup. Ready soups can be a good option at dinner time of busy weeknights.

12. Shitake Fried Rice with Water Chestnuts

Chinese are fond of this recipe. It is another common dish in Chinese dinner. Mushrooms, water chestnuts and cooked rice are the main ingredients of the dish. Parsley, leeks, garlic, onion, white peppers and other spices add more flavour and taste of the recipe. It is usually served with hot garlic sauce.

Shitake Fried Rice with Water Chestnuts
Shitake Fried Rice with Water Chestnuts

Chinese usually consume these foods for their dinner and other meals. These foods are not adorable only to them; these are lovable to all. If you have not tasted the foods yet, try these now. I assure you will just fall in love with these yummy dishes.


Hope it is clear for you why “food is heaven” to Chinese people. They do not only love to eat. They love to prepare their food with full devotion. They know well how to enjoy foods with available and common ingredients. 

Chinese foods, including dinner foods, have made its place in world culinary tradition. You can notice the foods assure nutrition and taste at the same time. Their dinner is rich with carbohydrate and protein. Usage of vegetable provides them with various vitamins.

If you are a food lover and like to have an assurance of your good health, try the foods. You can also have an unforgettable evening trying these luscious dishes if you have not tasted any Chinese food yet.