Appetizer, Main Dishes and Dessert.. Let’s Categorize Chinese Dishes into Courses

Having had meals with many friends in Chinese restaurants and it was always a struggle for my foreign friends to order from the menus. Well, apart from the fact that Chinese cuisine is very different, the way Chinese dishes are organised on menus is different: they are not organised by courses; instead , they are categorised by the cooking materials.

A reason is that Chinese people like sharing food. When Chinese people order dishes, they will order for all the people at the table and everybody therefore has a chance to taste all the food on the table.

While this is for sure part of the beauty of having Chinese meals, it is also the confusing part for most non-Chinese. So let’s try to organise some common Chinese dishes into courses, maybe that will clarify what to order next time when you visit a Chinese restaurant.

Appetizer 前菜 qiáncài

春卷 chūnjuǎn- spring rolls
点心 diǎnxīn – dim sum
包子 bāozi – baozi
锅贴 guōtiē – fried dumpling
饺子 jiǎozi – dumpling
馒头 mántou – steamed bread

Soup 汤 tāng

酸辣汤 suān là tāng – sour and hot soup
馄饨汤 húntún tāng – Wanton soup

Main Dishes 主菜 zhǔ cài

鸡肉 jīròu – chicken
鱼肉 yúròu – fish
虾 xiā – prawn
牛肉 niúròu – beef
猪肉 zhūròu – pork
羊肉 yángròu – lamb
鸭肉 yā ròu – duck
排骨 páigǔ – pork chop
蔬菜 shūcài – vegetables
豆腐 dòufu – tofu

Dessert | Fruit 甜点|水果 tiándiǎn |shuǐguǒ

冰激凌 bīngjīlíng – ice cream
甜瓜 tiánguā – honey melon
橙子 chéngzi – orange

Drinks 饮料 yǐnliào

茶 chá – tea
水 shuǐ – water
可乐 kělè – cola

Noodle | Rice 面条|米饭 miàntiáo |mǐfàn

炒面 chǎomiàn – fried noodles (chow mein)
汤面 tāngmiàn – noodle soup
炸酱面 zhá jiàng miàn – noodles with soybean paste
拉面 lāmiàn – hand-pulled noodles
米饭 mǐfàn – rice
炒饭 chǎofàn – fried rice

Well, these are just some of the Chinese dishes. Chinese cuisine is an important part of Chinese culture. “Colour, smell and taste are the three traditional aspects used to describe Chinese food, as well as the meaning, appearance and nutrition of the food. Cooking should be appraised with respect to the ingredients used, knifework, cooking time and seasoning.” (Wikipedia I hope this list helps when you order in a restaurant.

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Chinese cuisine are different from western cuisine. On menus Chinese dishes are usually organised by cooking materials rather than courses. This article lists some popular Chinese dishes into courses hoping to serve as a Chinese food ordering guide for non-Chinese speakers. #Chinesecuisine #Chinese4kids #Chineseculture #Chinesefood #restaurantChinese #menu #learnChinese #mandarinChinese

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