Due to cultural differences, lots of Chinese foods are quite strange to foreign friends. Some of them you may not even want to try. In fact, not only foreigners, but also many Chinese people will be surprised, “I can’t believe you let me put this in my mouth!” Some of Chinese foods, you will find, are actually tasty, though they look disgusting, smells bad, or even their ingredients are unacceptable. Here we will show you the top 5 weird but delicious Chinese dishes that will open your eyes to Chinese food culture.
1. 皮蛋(pídàn) – Century Egg or Thousand-Year Egg
A century egg is usually a duck egg that is covered and cured with an alkaline mixture of mud until it congeals into a dark, very pungent smelling condiment. Some people even say the century egg is just like a devil’s egg. Looks disgusting? No! Actually, it’s delicious if you know the proper way to eat.
Many Chinese people grow up eating Pidan dishes, like 凉拌皮蛋(liángbàn pídàn) and 皮蛋瘦肉粥(pídàn shòuròu zhōu). 凉拌皮蛋 means Pidan salad. It is usually made of century eggs mixed with soy sauce, chili, ginger, garlic and so on. 皮蛋瘦肉粥 is egg & pork congee in English. Alright! Do you wanna try 凉拌皮蛋(liángbàn pídàn) or 皮蛋瘦肉粥(pídàn shòuròu zhōu) now? They are really delicious! Just have a try if you have a chance!
2. 臭豆腐(chòu dòufu) – Stinky Tofu
The second weirdest Chinese food is stinky tofu, which is described as smelling like “old socks” or “blue cheese” by foreigners. 臭(chòu) means smelly, stinky and 豆腐(dòufu) is what you know as tofu in English. Stinky tofu is a fermented dish that is often deep-fried, drizzled with a salty sauce, and served with a side of pickled vegetables. We usually call it 油炸臭豆腐(yóuzhá chòu dòufu). 油(yóu) means oil and 炸(zhá) means fry. With some seasoning, it becomes more tasty than smelly. Stinky tofu is one of people’s favorite street foods in China. It’s an acquired taste, but is actually a very tasty dish if properly prepared.
3. 鸡爪(jīzhuǎ) – Chicken Feet
The third unique Chinese food is the chicken feet. Strange as it sounds for some of you guys, it is really one of the best parts of chicken. We also call it “凤爪”(fèng zhuǎ) which means phoenix claw in English. It can be made to different yummy snacks or side dishes. Here, l’d like to introduce two of them: 虎皮凤爪(hǔ pí fèng zhuǎ) and 泡椒凤爪(pào jiāo fèng zhuǎ).
虎皮(hǔ pí) in 虎皮凤爪(hǔ pí fèng zhuǎ) means tiger skin in English. 虎皮凤爪(hǔ pí fèng zhuǎ) get its name because it looks like tiger skin. 泡椒凤爪(pào jiāo fèng zhuǎ) is chicken feet with pickled peppers in English. 泡椒(pào jiāo) means pickled chili. Although the chicken feet with pickled peppers is a very spicy snack, it is as popular among young people in China as chips in western countries. Often soaked in vinegar and fried or steamed, chicken feet are also vacuum-packed and sold in convenience stores. It’s worth trying a shot. Although the texture of chicken feet is hard to get used to! Believe me! It’s yummy.
4. 血旺(xuè wàng) – Blood Curd
The fourth one is blood curd, which is made from some animals’ blood, like pig, cow, duck or chicken’s blood. Blood curd is actually solid pig blood or duck blood. If it is duck blood curd, we call it 鸭血旺(yā xuè wàng); if pig blood curd, we call it 猪血旺(zhūxuè wàng). The blood is coagulated by putting it in a container for about 10 minutes until it become static. Then cut it into small pieces, like the shape of tofu. So it is also called “血豆腐”( xuè dòu fu ), which is blood tofu in English. Some people make jokes that only the vampires drink blood. Actually the blood curd tastes very smooth and tender.
When we eat hot pot in China, duck blood curd or pig blood curd is one of the must-order dishes. I know hot pot is a very famous Chinese dish among foreigners.
If you have a chance to try hot pot, don’t forget to order the blood curd.
5.茶叶蛋(cháyè dàn) – Tea Egg
The last one is tea egg, also known as marbled egg. It is one of the cheapest Chinese street foods for breakfast. 茶叶(cháyè) means tea and 蛋(dàn) means eggs. The tea egg is a boiled egg cracked slightly and then boiled again in tea, and sauce or spices.
You can find tea eggs all over China, and they are very common with baozi (steamed buns) for breakfast. You will become quite partial to them once you try.
Well, these are top 5 weird Chinese foods. Don’t be deterred by the strange appearance, taste or name of some Chinese food. Just give them a try and you will find these strange foods are so delicious.
Have you ever tried any bizarre food in China? Share your story with us in the comment section. You can also tell us the weird Chinese food you are interested in or the strange food in your country.