100 Chinese Foods to Try Before You Die

Another meme (from this food blog)!

This is like the Omnivore’s Hundred from last time, only now it focusses on Chinese cuisine. How timely this is: I’ll be going back to Hong Kong in February! I’ve actually tried most of the foods listed here, I don’t know why I’m surprised at that considering I am Chinese after all! (maybe because I’m an omnivore as well and the score for that was pretty pitiful. haha) As per tradition, the asterisks indicate my fondness toward the food… from the lavish dottings, you can tell I like my Chinese food very much. 🙂

100 Chinese Foods to Try Before You Die

1. Almond milk 杏仁茶*
2. Ants Climbing a Tree (poetic, not literal, name) 螞蟻上樹** (I like it so much that there was a phase where on my cooking rotation, this would be the default)
3. Asian pear 鴨梨
4. Baby bok choy 白菜苗*
5. Baijiu 白酒
6. Beef brisket 牛腩*
7. Beggar’s Chicken 乞丐雞 (I REALLY want to try!!)
8. Bingtang hulu 冰糖葫蘆
9. Bitter melon 苦瓜*
10. Bubble tea 波霸奶茶*
11. Buddha’s Delight 羅漢齋**
12. Cantonese roast duck 燒鴨*
13. Century egg, or thousand-year egg 皮蛋*
14. Cha siu (Cantonese roast pork)叉燒**
15. Char kway teow 炒粿條/炒貴刁*
16. Chicken feet 雞腳
17. Chinese sausage 臘腸*
18. Chow mein 炒麵**
19. Chrysanthemum tea 菊花茶
20. Claypot rice 煲仔飯*
21. Congee 粥
22. Conpoy (dried scallops) 干貝/江瑤柱*
23. Crab rangoon 炸蟹角
24. Dan Dan noodles 擔擔麵**
25. Dragonfruit 火龍果**
26. Dragon’s Beard candy 龍鬚糖** (my favourite candy of all time! so much so, that, upon realising there was none in Australia, I looked up a recipe. Needless to say, I haven’t ventured into that yet!)
27. Dried cuttlefish 墨魚乾*
28. Drunken chicken 醉雞**
29. Dry-fried green beans 乾扁四季豆**
30. Egg drop soup 蛋花湯*
31. Egg rolls 蛋卷**
32. Egg tart, Cantonese (蛋撻) or Macanese (葡國蛋撻)** (I am one of the rare ones who prefer the biscuity tarts, not the flaky pastry…)
33. Fresh bamboo shoots 鮮露筍/竹筍
34. Fortune cookies*
35. Fried milk 炸牛奶* (it tasted so artificial, but it’s interestingly tasty.)
36. Fried rice 炒飯**
37. Gai lan (Chinese broccoli) 芥蘭**
38. General Tso’s Chicken 左公雞
39. Gobi Manchurian
40. Goji berries (Chinese wolfberries) 杞子 (hahaha, when I was younger, and I had not got a clue what these bizarre red wrinklies were, my brother would trick me and say it was ‘rabbit poo’… needless to say, I was pretty terrified of these berries afterwards, making me miss out on this apparent ‘superfood’!)
41. Grass jelly 涼粉** (mixed with a little sugar and evaporated milk.. !)
42. Hainan chicken rice 海南雞飯**
43. Hand-pulled noodles 拉麵**
44. Har gau (steamed shrimp dumplings in translucent wrappers) 蝦餃*
45. Haw flakes 山楂餅** (ah, this was my childhood nibble food…)
46. Hibiscus tea 芙蓉茶
47. Hong Kong-style Milk Tea 港式奶茶*
48. Hot and sour soup 酸辣湯
49. Hot Coca-Cola with Ginger 薑汁可樂
50. Hot Pot 火鍋/打邊爐** (the ultimate Chinese get-together on cold days)
51. Iron Goddess tea (Tieguanyin) 鐵觀音
52. Jellyfish 海蜇*
53. Kosher Chinese food 猶太中國菜
54. Kung Pao Chicken 宮保雞丁*
55. Lamb skewers (yangrou chua’r) 羊肉串
56. Lion’s Head meatballs 獅子頭
57. Lomo Saltado (is that even Chinese..)
58. Longan fruit 龍眼** (they just had to add the ‘fruit’ at the end to eludicate it’s not real dragon’s eyes! lol)
59. Lychee 荔枝** (I can’t really taste too much of a difference between this and longan.. maybe lychee is sweeter?)
60. Macaroni in soup with Spam 午餐肉通粉 (a most strange breakfast indeed)
61. Malatang 麻辣湯
62. Mantou, especially if fried and dipped in sweetened condensed milk 镘頭** (yumm!! Who would have thought a simple bread dipped in condensed milk could be so good?)
63. Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐**
64. Mock meat 齋肉**
65. Mooncake (bonus points for the snow-skin variety) 月餅** (snow skin mooncakes are even nicer)
66. Nor mai gai (chicken and sticky rice in lotus leaf) 糯米雞** (one of my favourite yum cha dishes)
67. Pan-fried jiaozi 煎餃子**
68. Peking duck 北京填鴨** (hm.. what’s the difference between this and the Cantonese one? I like it with the pancakes and hoisin sauce.)
69. Pineapple bun 菠蘿包** (one of my favourite breakfasts!)
70. Prawn crackers 蝦片*
71. Pu’er tea 普洱茶
72. Rambutan 紅毛丹
73. Red bean in dessert form 紅豆甜品 (I’ve never been too fond of it though)
74. Red bayberry 楊梅
75. Red cooked pork 紅燒肉
76. Roast pigeon 燒乳鴿
77. Rose tea 玫瑰茶
78. Roujiamo 肉夾饃
79. Scallion pancake 蔥油餅
80. Shaved ice dessert 刨冰*
81. Sesame chicken 芝麻雞* (a lot of American ‘Chinese’ food here!)
82. Sichuan pepper in any dish 花椒*
83. Sichuan preserved vegetable (zhacai) 榨菜*
84. Silken tofu 滑豆腐*
85. Soy milk, freshly made 豆漿*
86. Steamed egg custard 墩蛋**
87. Stinky tofu 臭豆腐
88. Sugar cane juice 庶汁*
89. Sweet and sour pork, chicken, or shrimp 咕嚕肉、雞、蝦*
90. Taro 芋頭*
91. Tea eggs 茶葉蛋*
92. Tea-smoked duck
93. Turnip cake (law bok gau) 蘿蔔糕*
94. Twice-cooked pork 回鍋肉 (well, I’ve had the canned variety XD)
95. Water chestnut cake (mati gau) 馬蹄糕* (in the lead-up to Chinese New Year, my family made a huge batch of these)
96. Wonton noodle soup 雲吞麵*
97. Wood ear 木耳*
98. Xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) 小籠包*
99. Yuanyang (half coffee, half tea, Hong Kong style) 鴛鴦
100. Yunnan goat cheese 雲南乳餅



The Omnivore’s Hundred

Here goes my first meme (one of those “let’s all do this” games).

A British blogger, Andrew Wheeler, wrote up a completely subjective list of a hundred foods he believes everyone should try at least once in their life. He admits “the list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food – but a good omnivore should really try it all.” I confess there are quite a few foods that I am incognizant of, and have attached wiki links to these obscure items.

Here are the official rules:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

I also followed Clotilde from Chocolate and Zucchini’s in putting one asterisk next to the foods I like (** for the ones I love!), and put square brackets for some commentary. Care to play along too and share your results?
1. Venison [Once, when I was a child, I was quite scared of the notion of eating deer… it was in a jar, of a gourmet brand I believe…I remember I kept staring at the drawing of the deer on the jar (in slight disgust yet fascination)]
2. Nettle tea [Dandelion tea’s nice though]
3. Huevos rancheros

Steak tartare [I have strong aversion to raw beef… I looked on in disgust as my father munched on this last year! Even a rare steak makes me queasy.]
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding [Ugh… I was close to crossing this out but I thought I would probably be a little more adventerous. Come to think of it, I’m sure I have eaten those blood cube things in noodle soup while I was a kid in HK. Hello bold!]
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp* [They say it’s like eating goldfish. I can’t even remember anymore]
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari*
PB&J sandwich [For the less acronym-savvy, it’s peanut butter and jam. Personally I much prefer peanut butter with condensed milk-classic HK style!]
Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart [Not from a street cart… I ain’t American!]
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns** [One of my favourite Yum Cha dishes!]
20. Pistachio ice cream [Pistachio and fig sounds like a divine combo…]
Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries** [Have went blueberry picking once… and also had a mulberry-eating rampage while I was on my geography excursion to Northey St Farm]
Foie gras
Rice and beans [Um.. well, maybe not prepared in the traditional Latino style, but sure, I’ve eaten plenty of bean dishes served with rice! (Chinese style!)]
25. Brawn, or head cheese [I think I tried this once, in the company of a chef. Immediate reaction: puke (hyperbole)]
Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche (Sounds like leche flan, this Filipino condensed milk-based dessert I tried. Ah the wonders of cultural exchange! (The Philippines was colonised by Spain)]
29. Baklava*
Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas** [loved these since kiddo times!]
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl [I’ve had clam chowder, although not in a sourdough bowl…does that constitute as half?!]
33. Salted lassi
Sauerkraut [Was quite tasty in a German hotdog I ate at the Ekka this year]
35. Root beer float  [Have tried lots of other soft drink floats though]
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
Clotted cream tea*
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo [Didn’t know that’s the name at first. My aunty from America made some.. it’s just a thick meat and vegetable soup served over rice]
40. Oxtail [Not 100% sure though…]
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects [I’ll be truthful here.. when I was the strange, strange kid I was, I ate a live black ant. Needles to say I wasn’t impressed-it had an acidic taste! I’d cross it out if it involved insects such as beetles, flies, or cockroaches though *shudder*]
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more [don’t think Johnnie Walker’s that pricey]
46. Fugu [Let’s not play with fate eh? Won’t risk my life just for the novelty! Unless it were prepared by some master chef…]
47. Chicken tikka masala* [Quite sure it’s similar to Butter Chicken which I’ve tried]
48. Eel** [Am in love with the unadon at Japanese restaurants!]
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut** [Makes me weak at the knees…]
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi [Okay, so I haven’t really tasted the Japanese version, but I ate lots of dried plums (albeit Chinese-style!) as a child]
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal* [Look, I have to be honest with my asterisks ok!? It’s a sentimental childhood sort of food!]
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV [Not sure…maybe I have?]
59. Poutine [Sounds delicious though]
60. Carob chips [Can’t remember…]
61. S’mores** [Give me anything with roasted marshmallow and I will swoon! Didn’t know that was the name. Think I ate it in a Brownies camp back in HK]
62. Sweetbreads [At first I was about to asterisk it because I thought it referred to the breads from Chinese bakeries that are sweet, but I wiki-ed… and I may just cross it out due to my repulsion to offal… but I think I’d be game enough to try]
63. Kaolin [Although I ate sand at a beach when I was a baby…]
64. Currywurst [Well, I ate that German hot dog!]
65. Durian [For the benefit of doubt, I’ll say I haven’t, but I have this feeling I have. Jackfruit’s delicious though!]
66. Frogs’ legs [Those poor poor froggies.. So so close to crossing it out…]
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis [So so close to crossing this out, but I’m pretty open to new foods… Even just a tiny bite constitutes as a try right?!]
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette [Oh my gosh, this offal stuff has gone too far!! (Methinks the author is a tad obsessed)]
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini [Does Japanese salmon roe count..?]
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill [I’m thinking whether I would or not…]
76. Baijiu [Once again I’m not certain, but considering I put so much rice wine into my cooking I’ll say yes?]
77. Hostess Fruit Pie [Oh oh, but I’ve eaten Hostess Twinkies! Hmm…]
78. Snail* [It’s actually quite nice, with the garlic and all the flavourings]
79. Lapsang souchong [Who knows what weird and wonderful things my parents order at Yum Cha… But the benefit of doubt…]
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum [I hope it counts if it came as powder with instant noodles. 😛 ]
82. Eggs Benedict [Not sure…]
83. Pocky** [Oh where would I be without thou?]
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. [What the…]
85. Kobe beef** [‘Tis heaven in the mouth, and this is coming from a girl who isn’t a particular beef fan!]
86. Hare [Poor bunnies… cross out?]
87. Goulash
88. Flowers [Was at Northey St Farm again, they put it in salad]
89. Horse [Even my adventerous self would sort of nauseate at the thought]
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam [Ah the nostalgia]
92. Soft shell crab*
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox [Not together]
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta [Am so eager to try!]
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake [Yes, this is despite my astrological sign, I’m a shameless cannibal! Ah, the weird and wonderful of HK food]

38/100, not too shameful of a score for an 18 year old, no? I didn’t include the ‘half’ scores because I guess that would be cheating, or the ‘doubt’ foods I may have tried but can’t remember. Anyway I’d jump at the chance to try most of the above (excluding offal items-but I would be reluctantly willing to try most!), except four items, one of which perchance entails death, with the others I just balk at the thought of. Now it’s your turn!

Considering how most of these foods were tried in HK… It’s just testimony to the lack of culinary diversity in Australia! Ah bland bland Australia… But then one must keep in mind this British blogger would have a slight cultural bias; there wasn’t a single dish that originated from Australia (what happened to pavlova, kangaroo, emu, tim tams, vegemite… these are quite the memorable foods!)! Another thing I would have included is balut, which is quite very exotic, and Ikea’s swedish meatballs with cranberry sauce (nearly as universal as Mcdonalds!).