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favourite chinese street food

jennjen18 Aug 10, 2006 02:21 AM

Oh my gosh, they have soooooo many different varieties now, its hard to keep up! Okay, my list includes:

-fish balls (of course)
-as a matter of fact, all kinds of "balls" dunked in the chilli sauce
-orange squid, dunked in chilli sauce (and it HAS to be orange)
-fried 3 treasures (but there are more than 3 now; I like all of them)
-little bowl shark fin
-lettuce + fish curds
-smelly tofu
-cow tummies on a stick

MmmmMmmMm... with loads of chilli oil pleeease!


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  1. Gary Soup RE: jennjen18 Aug 10, 2006 02:52 AM

    That's definitely a Hong Kong mix. Isn't the orange squid really cuttlefish? My best street food eatin' is in Shanghai, and I tend to go for crunchy/greasy rather than spicy (except for spicy dou hua):

    shengjian bao
    guo tie
    cifan gao
    you tiao
    salty doujiang
    spicy douhua

    I love xiaolong bao but don't really consider that street food.


    5 Replies
    1. re: Gary Soup
      jennjen18 RE: Gary Soup Aug 10, 2006 07:34 AM

      OOh, I like your pictures on your site. :) I've been to Shanghai too, and remember the xiaolongbao in the airport. Not as good as the ones we had in the restaurant for sure.

      Oooh ooh, but I do like the chicken you had! Was it marinaded in shaoxing wine? Or is that xiaoshing? Aiya, I'm getting it mixed up (I'm not Putonghua, I'm Guangdonghua de). But it looks pretty yummy to me. I love having chicken when in China.

      I've never really had much streetfood while in Shanghai though. We were very sheltered from crowded places (except for ChengWang Miao, where the Temple was). But even then, there werent much streetfood there (as I recall), only staff selling xiaolongbao through the restaurant windows maybe.

      1. re: Gary Soup
        James G RE: Gary Soup Aug 11, 2006 11:47 AM

        This is a Shanghai-centric list, since shengjian bao (one of my all-time favorites) just is not available in Beijing. However, most of the others are. Here is my Beijing-centric addition:

        sweet potato (in season)
        dou zhi (an acquired taste)

        1. re: James G
          jennjen18 RE: James G Aug 13, 2006 05:20 AM

          MmmMmMmMm... I love hot hot hot sweet potatoes out on the street in the wintertime. Yum.

          1. re: jennjen18
            Polecat RE: jennjen18 Aug 18, 2006 08:39 AM

            Jennjen, what are the fried three treasures?

            1. re: Polecat
              jennjen18 RE: Polecat Aug 23, 2006 04:44 AM

              Fried 3 treasures--tofu, peppers and eggplant, I think? And in these, there are fishcakes implanted in them! There have been newer versions of these, like fried fishballs, and plain fried tofus. MmMmMmMMmmm.. I think its the sweet sauce that I like on them too.

      2. j
        jenn RE: jennjen18 Aug 16, 2006 08:26 PM

        We also like the sweet potatoes. The roasted chestnuts and the ears of corn aren't bad either. But the all time family favorite is dan bing for breakfast.

        1. mabziegurl RE: jennjen18 Aug 18, 2006 08:17 AM

          oh boy....

          jian bing i love it... i had it in beijing and would love to learn how to make it, i can't figure out what the fried dough is inside, my parents have no idea what i'm talking about so i'm out of luck, i couldn't make out what the vendor was saying it was when i kept asking as my chinese is conversational

          chicken egg cakes (literal translation) although i never saw them in china, had them in hong kong and in taiwan, i fell in love with them... so in love with them, my dad bought me a machine that the vendors actually have and brought it back from taiwan for me 15 years ago... have i used it, of course not, its the biggest thing ever and needs a huge heat source, etc, although next time i head back to my parents', i'm going to dust it off and go crazy

          1. James G RE: jennjen18 Aug 19, 2006 10:08 AM

            The fried dough inside a jianbing is called a youtiao (油条), and they are not hard to make, but you can also often find them pre-made at good Chinese groceries. You just have to reheat them in the oven and they're good to go. As for the crepe part, you don't need to use a big Taiwanese thing to make them, a regular griddle will do fine.

            2 Replies
            1. re: James G
              Gary Soup RE: James G Aug 19, 2006 02:25 PM

              There are two types of jianbing "stuffings." One is the youtiao, but more commonly (at least in Shanghai) it's a crispy, thin rectangular wafer-like thing which adds a delighful crunch and makes the jianbing less filling. I think it's this one the poster is referring to. You can see it in the youtube videos linked below. I've been looking for a definitive answer to this myself; it's usually described as being made from wheat dough, but at least one source said it was tofu "sheet," a.k.a. "bai ye" (百頁豆腐).

              Making jianbing:

              1. re: Gary Soup
                mabziegurl RE: Gary Soup Aug 20, 2006 06:43 AM

                yeah the one i am looking for is the white rectangular crunchy thing, it looks almost like vermicelli noodles but it doesn't cook up like them... i asked several vendors, but couldn't make anything of what they said and they kept looking at me like i was silly because i kept asking. i am determined now to find out though =)

            2. mielimato RE: jennjen18 Aug 19, 2006 03:11 PM

              i remember eating chestnut-like things that were roasted on the street in taiwan. it was dark brown/black and was shaped like a three-point star. tasted very similar to chestnuts. does anyone know that they are called?

              1. Gary Soup RE: jennjen18 Aug 19, 2006 06:29 PM

                Sounds like ling nuts (or wu ling, 乌菱). They look like bulls heads with horns to most Americans, but to the Chinese in China they look like bats, and are sometimes called "bat fruit."

                Are these the critters?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Gary Soup
                  mielimato RE: Gary Soup Aug 20, 2006 02:04 AM

                  yes, that's it! thanks!

                2. mbe RE: jennjen18 Aug 22, 2006 01:30 PM

                  Gary, is ci fan gao similar to ci fan tuan?

                  more street food documantation:

                  Also, in my limited dan bing experience, I've noticed that the southern style (more watery dough) tend to be stuffed with you tiao whereas the northern ones (thicher dough used, excess of which is scraped off) seem to be stuffed with aforementioned cracker.
                  Yes, no, maybe?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: mbe
                    Gary Soup RE: mbe Aug 22, 2006 03:40 PM

                    Not really similar. They may start out with the same rice, but cifan gao is never stuffed (or even spiced, in my experience) and deep or shallow fried like a hash brown patty. cifan tuan reminds me more of an unwrapped zongzi.

                    1. re: Gary Soup
                      mbe RE: Gary Soup Aug 23, 2006 01:47 PM

                      so cifan gao is basically fried sticky rice patties?

                      1. re: mbe
                        Gary Soup RE: mbe Aug 23, 2006 03:32 PM

                        Basically, yes. Though I think the rice is mashed somewhat before cooking; the individual grain texture is not evident.


                  2. l
                    laowaiblog RE: jennjen18 Jun 17, 2011 09:54 PM

                    One of the best Chinese Street Food is Jian Bing in Beijing. It is an amazing crepe with egg and chopped onions and coriander. It is a must to anyone who visits Beijing!


                    1. a
                      ayanamidreamsequence RE: jennjen18 Jun 26, 2011 05:26 AM

                      My favourite is re gan mian for breakfast, definately not a HK, Beijing or Shanghai thing. If I leave Wuhan, I am not sure what I will do without it.

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