Guide to popular dishes
Traditional, tasty and reliable dishes that feature on most menus
Word to the wise: If your chopstick skills aren't as good as you wish they were, don't panic, spoons ('Shaozi' - 勺子) are available in most restaurants.
You will inevitably find yourself sitting in a restaurant with a menu in front of you that is all in Mandarin, no idea of what to order and a grumbling tummy. To save you from the possibly disastrous consequences of the 'eeny meeny miny mo' method, here are a couple of suggestions of tasty northern Chinese dishes that feature in most menus:
1. 鱼香肉丝 'yu xiang rou si' - thin strips of pork, carrot, mushroom, and green pepper in a sweet and sour, slightly spicy sauce.
2. 宮保雞丁 'gongbao jiding' - a tasty combination of succulent chicken cubes, peanuts, and spring onions.
3. 木须肉 'mushu rou' - sliced pork, cloud ear mushroom, and scrambled egg fried in ginger garlic scallions, soy sauce and rice wine.
4. 家常豆腐 'jiachangdoufu' - firm tofu pieces with bacon, green peppers, and mushrooms in a spicy bean sauce.
5. 回锅肉 'huiguorou' - literally 'twice cooked pork', this dish is made up of tender pork belly pieces, scallions, garlic, ginger, and chilli.
1. 西红柿炒鸡蛋 'xi hongshi chao jidan' - a non-spicy stir-fried egg and tomato dish.
2. 地三鲜 'di san xian' - chunky pieces of eggplant, potato, and green pepper in a garlic and soy sauce.
3. 蒜茸西兰花 'suan rong xi lan hua'r' - stir fried broccoli pieces with lots of garlic.
4. 香菇油菜 'xianggu youcai' - black mushroom and pok choy in a thick garlic sauce.
5. 红烧豆腐 'hongshao tofu' - silken tofu cubes in a rich, slightly sweet sauce with hints of star anise.