China – Street Food – REAL traditional street food in China

Country: China
Cuisine: Chinese/Street food
Last visited: April 15-17, 2010
Location: China
Address: all over
Price Range: $10 or less (more like under $1CAD)

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Welcome to the 1st Follow Me Foodie post in China!  I’m going to show you what the real authentic traditional Chinese street food in China. This will determine whether or not you plan to travel and/or visit China for the food. This is REAL Chinese street food – extremely ghetto, extremely cheap…and perhaps a bit dirty. Dirt cheap + dirt-y…you’re in China…expect it.

I tried a few things, but definitely not everything. Some of it actually freaked me out a bit, but hey it’s part of the culture so what can I really say…? I’m not sure what all the names of the items are, (some are blatantly obvious as they’re still alive) but others I’m calling them as I see fit.

WARNING: Some images may be hard to look at – some of the food is quite barbaric from a Western/North Americanized stand point. The photos progressively get more intense and “not appetizing”.

Also see my post on Korean Street Food

On the table…err STREET:

Cracker Truck

  • I was so excited to see this that I want to write “Cracker truck” in all capitals…how COOL is this!?? Seriously!

  • I didn’t try any, because to be honest they looked plain and dry, but I was very excited to see it.
  • It’s probably 12 for $1CAD

Dim Sum Stand

  • Hard boiled Soy sauce tea eggs, soy milk, corn, sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf, minced pork buns.
  • I tried the corn…it was the worse corn I’ve ever had. It was 200% overcooked and tasted like pure mushy starch.

  • Minced pork bun facial! These things are served HOT!

Steamed Minced Pork Bun

  • I did try one, and it was pretty freaking delicious.

  • Stuffed with flavorful juicy pork that was so tender it melted in your mouth.
  • The pork is very marinated with garlic, chives and onions and soy sauce.

Jack Fruit “stand”

  • I’ve just been informed that this is Jack fruit – thanks to my readers! (I thought it was Durian)

Skewer Stand

  • Chicken skewers, fish ball skewers and sausage skewers with different kinds of Chinese sauces.

Bread/Pastry Stand

  • Onion pancakes, meat patty cakes etc.
  • I don’t know what’s wrong with the girl in the back…
  • These onion pancakes are really popular. They’re quite oily, but thin, crispy and yet chewy.

Jack Fruit Stand #2

  • Okay, so thanks to my readers…I am now informed that this is jack fruit! Thanks everyone! I thought it was a massive durian…still big though!

What’s inside?!

Chinese pastries! It’s pretty much variations of Chinese “wife cakes” or “lo po bang” -  flakey thin pastry stuffed with lotus seed paste, red bean paste etc.

Skewer stand: hot dogs, vegetables, meats, chicken, basically anything you can skewer onto a stick is served here.

I saw this at a corner store in China. It was similar to 7 Eleven in North America, but instead of just hot dogs you can also get quail eggs!

This was cool truck, it sold fresh sugar cane! The stick it into a machine and you can buy fresh sugar cane juice.

I want one in Vancouver, BC! This was so cool! It’s a Chinese fried noodle stand! You select your noodle, veggies and sauce and it’s cooked upon order. Served in a to go box and that’s it! It’s REAL Wok Box in China!! This would do so well in Vancouver…business idea up for grabs I’m telling you! $$$

Live land animals!! :( This was outside a restaurant in China – a Chinese restaurant obviously. I have no idea how you order it. All these animals are still alive in cages so I don’t know if they’re killed upon order or what…but it freaked me out a bit.

Yes, those are live snakes you see in front of those cages. I’ve had snake soup at Kirin Chinese restaurant in Vancouver, BC – but it’s definitely not found in the kitchen like this, I don’t even think it’s this kind of snake they use.

How do you even order this?! I seriously don’t know how often people would order an entire bird…this is a goose I think?…I can’t imagine how big the party would need to be. These geese are probably so old!

On to the sea animals…I think that’s turtles and eels.

Yeah…those are turtle alright :(…no I haven’t tried them. I’ll stick to the LIVE octopus from Korea (see video and post here)…that was easier to eat than this would be. Okay…so far back it looks ok…I’m a bit scared to walk any closer, but I want my photo!

Not appetizing. It was a whole bunch of meat parts – I don’t even know which parts, but it was all organ oriented with some feet and leg in between. This was like a midnight vendor…it kind of added to the suspense of strolling the China streets at midnight…I felt like I was in a Alfred Hitchcock film.

27 Comments

  • SylviaC says:

    I am just starting to follow your blog! Love the many suggestions for HK… will definitely check out some of the places when I go back for a visit.
    The “durian” stands arent actually durian. I believe they are called jackfruit. Durian has a thicker outershell and a spikier shell. No smell either!

  • EnbM says:

    Agree with SC that both photos are jake fruits.
    Not sure why the sign at the 1st photo reads
    菠萝宝 @Yen 1.60
    Literally translated to “Polo” (as in pineapple) “Treasure”
    Perhaps a localized name of the fruits

    Thanks for the touristic tour. It is not just my weak stomach, but poverty is so sad when the country is flushed with millionaire-princelings and corrupt officials.

  • KimHo says:

    To badly quote my mom: “That one”… (in reference to my mother buying chicken from a Panamanian market). No, really, when it comes to live animals, that’s how it works. We don’t look at them to the fact they are animals but the fact they will be food. Thanks for bringing this up; reality is, that’s how it works in other parts of the world.

  • Mijune says:

    Sylvia – thanks for that! You are SO right! I’m going to change that in my post. I was wondering why I couldn’t smell anything rancid when I walked by…I had no idea jack fruit was so big! Thank you so much for following and reading, I’m very happy you find it useful :)

    EnbM – Thanks for reading and translating! I really needed help with that. Yeah the economy of the people is so extreme there…what we consider ‘poor’ they consider normal…hard to imagine living in those conditions.

    KimHo – Yeah it’s so different…like this restaurant was a small local one too…I don’t even know where they would kill the animals. I couldn’t imagine anyone ordering an entire goose there.

  • EnbM says:

    I don’t mean that they are any lesser than us. Those leaping Foxconn workers kind of making me helpless and must have influenced me when I replied. I’m glad that I can scroll my mouse real fast past those creeping creatures. LOL You will never catch me walking pass them.

  • Emily says:

    Thank you for the warning, I did start getting really hungry looking at the pictures of the steamed pork buns and fried noodle cart. They looked awesome!

  • Mijune says:

    No problem! … and then you lost your appetite by the end of my post huh? lol

  • Eli says:

    Those photos are from my neighborhood!!! I am an English teacher at Shenzhen Middle School right around the corner from where you saw the snack truck. Unfortunately, you seem to have missed some of the best things in the area.

  • Mijune says:

    @Eli – Welcome to Follow Me Foodie! That is so cool that I was in your neighbourhood and so cool that you found my blog!! Yeah I was a tourist and I had a guide bring us around just in the nearby areas… didn’t spend too much time there to really scout out all the food places. Thanks for your comment!

  • Miss Jane says:

    I am on a permanent juicy pork bun diet for breakfast while I am in Shanghai right now. :D Will upload photos when I get unblocked from the great firewall of China.

  • Mijune says:

    @Miss Jane – awwww why did you have to tell me that!!?! I’m jealous!!! Let’s go when you’re back! lol I love the censorship you’re under… well actually I don’t.. but it’s kind of funny… and sad.

  • Laowaiblog says:

    Wow. Amazing pictures. One of the most amazing Chinese Street Food is Jian Bing in Beijing. It is a crepe made with an egg and onions and coriander. It is a must to any visitor to Beijing!

    http://laowaiblog.com/beijing-street-snacks/

  • Mijune says:

    @Laowaiblog – Welcome!! Thank you!!! Thanks for visiting!! Yes I’ve had that many times too, and I love that egg pancake! Here is one I had in Vancouver (my home) http://www.followmefoodie.com/2011/06/northern-meixi-crystal-mall/ but I want to try a Beijing one!!!

  • tirza says:

    Hi! thank you for the amazing online touring :) Now I know what will I find if I visit China haha..
    Have you ever visited my country, Indonesia? We have many interesting and delicious street foods too! well..more or less like Malaysia or Singapore.
    I think I can recognize chicken feet and wings from the last picture. Those foods are quite normal in Asia ^_^

  • Mijune says:

    @tirza – I haven’t been to Indonesia yet, but I would love to!! Hopefully soon! Thanks for commenting :)

  • varsha sharma says:

    Hi!

    i wS IN SHnghI 4 AROUND 4 MONTHS …I WAS ACTUALLY LOOOKING FOR THE EXACT NAME OF SOME OF MY FAV STREET FOOD THERE N WHAT IT IS CALLED…THANX TO UR BLOG…I FOUND NOODLE STAND …COMPLETLY AGREE WITH U SO DELICIOUS IT WAS…BUT STILL CUDNT GET EITHER RECIPE OR NAME OF THE (BELT ) NOODLES I LKD :( . I LUVD FRESHLY PREPARED SOYA MILK…VEG DUMPLING….AND CRISPY PANCAKES LIKE PREPARATION WITH EGG…LUVD UR BOLG N PICS TOO…REMINDED ME OF SHANGHAI,S FUNGHUA LU :)

    THNKS
    VARSHA

  • Mijune says:

    @Varsha – aw great!! thanks Varsha! I’m not sure which are the belt noodles, but I hope you can find them again or something can help you locate them in your own hometown :)

  • D says:

    Hi! When I visited China when I was six I remember this cart stand that had the most freakin delicious roast pork with flat noodles. zomg, so good. I can’t say these pictures really depict just how delicious Chinese food carts are— other than the dimsum and meatbuns!

  • Mijune says:

    @D – whoa! Crazy! The same cart?! There are so many! No this is just a fraction of a MUCH bigger picture for street food in China. :)

  • Paul says:

    So much looks so very much like the street carts here in Mexico — much the same ingredients ( no snakes, no live beasts and no soy sauce) All absolutely yummy

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