Food to Try Once You Land in China!

No matter where you are or where you live, you’re probably familiar with Chinese food. Once you’ve attained a Chinese visa and entered China you may be wondering what the food is like. That’s what we’ll be answering today as we go over some of China’s more notable cuisine.

If you’re familiar with Chinese takeout, you may notice some of your favorite dishes appearing. If you’re not familiar with Chinese takeout… I’m not sure how you avoided becoming familiar your entire life, but kudos to you! Many of the core Chinese dishes are based around rice. Rice is so important to the Chinese diet that the word “rice” in Mandarin is also the same word for “food”. That being said, a lot of the dishes we’ll be talking about will either include or are typically eaten with a side of rice.

The Classics

The first thing you want to try after receiving your China Visa
Peking Duck

Peking Duck

Peking Duck was a dish that was previously reserved for China’s Emperors. Only the best ducks would have the honor of being roasted and served to China’s divine rulers. The dish is high in muscle and fat without being greasy, the skin is also very crispy thanks to the roasting process.

Nowadays you can purchase Peking Duck at many Chinese restaurants, mostly thanks to food becoming vastly cheaper as time has gone on. Beijing used to be called Peking, which is actually where the dish gets its name. Speaking of Beijing, it’s one of the best places to find this dish thanks to the cities history with the dish. Check out this article that explores some of the top restaurants serving Peking Duck in Beijing.

The Dumpling

The dumpling is kind of the ultimate finger food. Small, easy to prepare, and a variety of stuffing and dips available. Whether it be chicken, pork, beef, or even duck, you can probably get it inside a dumpling. Dumplings are one of the most popular foods in China, mostly for the reasons listed above.

Dumplings are also cheap and can be purchased at various street vendors or at restaurants. I like to think of the dumpling like we think of chicken nuggets here in the States: every place has them with their own special spin. ALSO, they’re rather easy to purchase in the frozen food aisle.

Spring Rolls

Spring rolls! Another iconic finger food from China, the spring roll is made by wrapping flour around an assortment of minced veggies and sometimes, even meat. Not to be confused with its more popular counterpart here in the USA, the egg roll, which is made very similarly to the spring roll except that the egg roll shell is made of flour and eggs (hence the “egg” in egg roll).

Spring rolls, much like dumplings, are readily available at supermarkets, street vendors, and restaurants of all kinds in China. Since they don’t contain any eggs in their shell and because they don’t need to contain meat, spring rolls are an option for the vegans out there.

Chow Mein

Chow mein is a delicious noodle dish that you’ll find mostly in Northern China. Popular at mom and pop Chinese restaurants around the world, the dish is made of bean and corn flour dough styled into thin noodles. Besides some eastern spaghetti, you also get a delightful medley of chopped veggies, eggs, and meat, usually pork.

Chow mein, like the spring roll, has a counterpart known as lo mein. The primary difference between the two is the style of preparation. Chow mein is stir fried until it’s crispy, while lo mein is cooked until it’s soft. Both dishes are typically served with similar peripherals, so take your pick!

Sweet and Sour…

Sweet and sour… Anything. Originally the dish was only sweet and sour pork, however the popularity of the dish outpaced demanded and as time went on variations were made to the dish. Today you can get sweet and sour chicken, beef, duck, anything really. Sweet and sour sauce itself has found its way out of China and around the world. Even the most recognizable fast food chain around, McDonald’s, has a sweet and sour sauce on the menu.

Like stated above, the dish began as a primarily pork dish. It should be noted that China has a lot of pork dishes. This isn’t because of some weird obsession with pigs… Okay, maybe a little. China basically loves pigs, or maybe just the taste of pork. In fact China loves pigs so much that along with having the largest population of humans in the world, China also boasts the largest population of pigs in the world with a staggering 450 million pigs.

Now For The Fun Stuff

We’ve gone over some pretty good dishes so far but some of you may be craving more, perhaps even something… different? Lucky for those folks, we saved the weird stuff for last. As much as everyone likes Chinese takeout, it isn’t representative of the entirety of China’s cuisine. After all, if the only difference between the food in the States and the food in China is location, why bother trying the food there at all? Needless to say, some things just aren’t meant for our western palates.

The last thing you probably want to try after receiving your China Visa
Pig’s Feet

Pig’s Feet

Remember when we mentioned how many pigs lived in China? Well, 450 million pigs is 1.8 billion pigs feet, why waste them when you can taste them? If you’ve been to a traditional dim sum spot in the USA you’ve probably seen pigs feet, but the dish is much more popular in China. While not exactly unique to China, the dish definitely coincides with China’s love of pork. Pig’s feet are low in fat and the skin is often cooked to a crisp which can lead to a very pleasant dining experience.

Like any food that too closely resembles the animal it came from, it can big hard to stomach pig’s feet at first. It’s believed that pig’s feet along with other items appearing later on this list may have first been consumed out of necessity rather than curiosity. Food shortages have struck China multiple times throughout history…this may have led to the common folk of China using every part of the animals they slaughter to cut down on waste.

Century Egg

Century eggs are probably less appetizing than pigs feet just based off appearance alone. Unlike pigs feet, this dish does not come from scarcity. It is prepared by preserving an egg (of any kind available really) in a mixture made of clay, ash, alkaline salt, quicklime, and rice hulls. The egg is left in this caustic prison for days or months, eventually taking on a new appearance and flavor as the egg essentially rots. The process was birthed during times of plenty when folks sought ways to preserve their eggs when hard times came around.

Today the century egg is treated as a delicacy in China. Careful however, some have begun altering the process of the egg’s creation, even going as far as to add potentially harmful metals to the process to speed it up. China’s government has mentioned that it is attempting to place stricter regulations on the food industry, including a crackdown on fake food.

Stinky Tofu

Stinky tofu! But is it actually stinky or is this some kind of mistranslation? Nope, it stinks. This dish is fermented tofu which is then prepped in a variety of ways depending on what region of China you are in. The dish isn’t usually served in restaurants but rather lunch bars and street food stands. I wonder if that has anything to do with the smell? Probably.

Stinky tofu is served in a variety of ways depending on where in China you are, if you’re getting it from off the street it’s typically fried. This fried variant is probably what most Americans would consider to be the easiest to stomach as we Americans love anything fried, even Oreos. Especially Oreos. Regardless the fried stinky tofu is often served with a side of sweet dipping sauce to offset the pungent taste and aroma. In some parts of China, stinky tofu is served as a side to congee (rice porridge) during breakfast. This means that you can enjoy stinky tofu for breakfast with your congee, for lunch as a side at a bar, and for dinner fried on the streets!

Snake Soup

Thanks to China having such a long and extensive contiguous history, many traditions have been based down through the generations. This includes some practices that might not be looked upon favorably here in the west. For example, the Chinese have a strong belief in the power of ancient Chinese remedies. Things like using tiger bones to create a tiger wine which is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Similarly, the Chinese believe that snake soup is good for the skin.

Snake soup is essentially what it sounds like; soup made using snake. The soup is typically made using the meat of two snakes, and some say it tastes like chicken. The dish is native to Hong Kong, so you won’t need a Chinese Visa to try this ancient delicacy out. Don’t hesitate if you want to benefit from the alleged healing properties of snake soup. The art of creating this dish is dying out as less of Hong Kong’s youth show interest in taking up the tradition.

Rooster Testicles

To cap things off, let’s talk about animal genitals. The Chinese have a knack for cooking up some spicy genitalia. For example, rooster testicles are a popular dish that can be found in mainland China. Uncooked, they appear like large soggy white beans. When cooked, they also kind of look like big soggy beans, but this time warm. Despite how off- putting thinking of munching on another creature gonads are, rooster testicles have a rather mild flavor, kind of similar to tofu with a touch of chicken liver.

I hope all this talk of oddly colorful cuisine hasn’t left you without an appetite. I can assure you, that was only half of our intention. Luckily, for anyone who might have second thoughts of going to China because of the chance that they may have to try something on the second half of this list, China has fast food! In fact, KFC is huge in China so you can enjoy some crispy chicken after you devour some rooster testicles.

If you plan on traveling to China soon, you’ll need to apply for a Chinese visa. Lucky for all of you, we can help with that. Whether it be business visa, tourist visa, or work visa, we here at China Visa Department specialize in getting you’re visa before your big trip. Click here to get started!

Five Must Visit Locations in China

China is massive. It’s the third largest country in the world, making it larger than even the United States. So, where should you head to next time you visit this gargantuan country? That’s a good question, and one that we’d like to help you answer! Today we’ll be going over five must visit locations and events in China. Once you’re done reading through your options you’ll want to know about all the amazing locations we’ve left out to get this list to just five entries! These sites will have you wishing you already had a Chinese Visa. Let’s not waste anymore time though and get started with our first and most obvious suggestion…

The Great Wall... Probably the first place you should go once you get your Chinese visa.


The Great Wall of China is typically on everyone’s China bucket list so it fits in perfectly for the first thing on this list. Let’s start off by talking about some myths and rumors. The Great Wall of China was built over a period of roughly 2,000 years by several Chinese dynasties. The wall’s sections were often completed to repel whatever invading force was the current flavor of the month. The current length of The Great Wall of China comes in at around 5,500 Miles, however archeological studies have shown that the total length of the wall when accounting for all of the walls branching may have come in at an astonishing 13,171 miles! Either way, The Great Wall is the largest man made structure to ever be created. Some believe that with its sheer size alone the wall should be visible from space! This is sadly not true, the wall may be long, but when viewed from space the wall is simply too thin in most parts to be visible from space.

While you can’t view it from a space station you can still view it in person. Bad for astronauts, good for you! But what should you do when you visit The Great Wall, or better question, which section of The Great Wall should you visit? Good question, you’ve got several options. If you can only visit one section of The Great Wall we’d recommend visiting the Mutianyu section. Not only is this the most well preserved section of the wall, BUT it has a slide which you can use to slide down The Great Wall of China in style. Michelle Obama has done it so you already know it’s a great time. Alternatively if you’re active you may want to head on over to the Jinshanling section of the wall which is most known for being a popular hiking spot. The Jinshanling section is also considered to be the most beautiful section of the wall, with half being restored and the other half being in relative ruin. If neither of those work for you and you’d rather be near the sea, you can always check out the Shanhai Pass which is where a section of the wall meets the Bohai Bay.

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.


Moving away from large man made structures of stone, let’s check out some large man made structures of snow and ice! The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is an event that takes place in the Harbin area of China every year starting on January 5th. The festival tends to continue for about a month following the opening, however the site may be open beyond that first month if weather permits. Be sure to check and see if the sculptures are still around if you are visiting in mid-February so you can check out the art without the massive crowds.

What exactly is the big deal about some ice sculptures though? Surely you’ve seen ice sculpture work before, although the chances of you seeing anything quite to the scale of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival are slim. From the onset, a large city made purely of ice is built. The icy structures could be anything from fantastical castles to recreations of world wonders like the Roman Colosseum or the Eiffel Tower. Regardless of what you see when you arrive, you can be sure that it will be much larger than you ever thought an ice sculpture could be. During the night, the city of ice lights up with color as an array of colorful lights shine through the ice structures present. This means that no matter when you arrive at the festival you can be sure you’ll get to the masterpieces present.

We haven’t even mentioned the massive snow sculptures that are created alongside the ice town. I’m not talking about your typical snowmen either, these artists go all out and usually create something drenched in detail. Considering the size and scope of most of the works featured at the festival, you can expect there to be several people working on a piece at any given time. This should go without saying, but if you do want to go to the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, consider wearing non-slip snow boots.  

Money shot of the Hallelujah Mountains.


James Cameron’s Avatar was a massive box office success that has since inspired several sequels which have yet to be theatrically released! That’s okay though, while you wait for the next Avatar film in the series to be released you can visit one of the real life locations that inspired the alien world of the films! Known as the Hallelujah Mountains, these mountains are more like a series of spires that jut up from the ground. While these mountains aren’t floating, they sometimes appear to be when a fog rolls through. The mountains are located in China’s Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. You can either visit them on your own by simply going to the park, or alternatively you can join one of the many tours that stop by to see the mountains. If you’ve never been to China before and struggle with the local language and culture we’d recommend joining a tour group. Tour groups also have the added benefit of going to more than one location! Several tours that visit the Hallelujah Mountains also stop by to see the section of The Great Wall what slithers through Hunan province. Two birds, one stone, and more time for you to soak in the sights without worrying about where you need to go next. Careful not to drop your passport off of the side of the mountain, if that does happen you’ll need to jump through hoops to get both a new passport and a new china visa. We actually have an article on what to do should you lose your chinese visa, check it out after you’re done reading this!

Now for some interesting facts about this even more interesting site! The mountains, which were previously known as the Southern Sky Column when Avatar was released, were renamed in 2010 in honor of the film and its environmentalist message. Also, when Avatar was released there was a trend of depression amongst film viewers who were bewildered to believe that the alien world featured in the film was actually just CGI and not an actual place you can visit! Fortunately for you all, you now know that at least you can visit the Hallelujah Mountains and at least get a taste of what the films had to offer.

The Forbidden City bustling with tourists.


I suppose the city can’t be ALL that forbidden if we’re advising that you go there, but it is quite something else. The Forbidden City was once the seat of the Emperor of China, as such the city was reserved specifically for the ruling class to enter. Like most former seats of power, us lower class plebians are now free to walk the grounds as if we were royalty. I should also mention that while it’s called the “Forbidden City” it’s actually a palace complex and not a fully stocked city.

Now that we’ve got all of the formalities out of the way, what is there to do in The Forbidden City? Outside and around, The Forbidden City there are also some things to do. The Imperial Garden which was of course formerly owned by the emperor of China are now also open to the public. Like you’ll find with many of the major tourist spots in China, The Great Wall is not far off, so you can always check it out when you’re getting a peek at The Forbidden City.

Naturally you’ve got your standard historical sightseeing fair, the entire palace has been converted into a museum, there are  exactly 980 surviving buildings in the forbidden city so there’s quite a bit to actually see within the walls of the city. There is a litany of priceless ancient artifacts on display in the museum itself, from old weapons to the jewelry once worn by the rulers of China. Lucky for us, the Communist party of China doesn’t care much for ancient Imperial Tradition, so we’re free to walk through the previously VERY private throne room. Be warned, many people visit this ancient landmark everyday, in fact about 15 million people visit The Forbidden City every year! So be prepared to share the space with other tourists like you when you visit this must-see tourist destination. Just be careful not to do anything that may damage any of the artifacts, that’s a one way ticket to losing your China Visa and getting deported.

Golden Temple Summit is a great place to visit for those with a Chinese Visa that are more adventurous...


The statute that sits atop the Golden Summit Temple is a power depiction of Samantabhadra who’s ten faces face a different direction for each of the Bodhisattva’s ‘Ten Truths of Universal Worthiness’. While this isn’t the largest statue in the world, in fact it’s not even the largest in China, the Golden Summit Temple is a deeply historical place when it comes to the formation of Buddhism within China. UNESCO has declared this site as a world cultural heritage site. Some of you will be turned off to visiting the Golden Summit Temple as you may not be as into ancient holy sites as you are sliding down the side of The Great Wall. However, for those of you who are serious culture nerds the Golden Summit Temple is a must see.

You can either venture up the mountain via cable cart, or for those of you who are spry and adventurous you can instead walk up the mountain. Be warned, walking up the mountain takes roughly two hours and the incline may be a challenge for those not used to walking uphill. Once you finally reach the summit you’ll be greeted not only by the effigy of Samantabhadra but also by the Golden Temple itself which sits atop the summit as well. You may also snag a peak of the Leshan Giant Buddha which is carved into the side of a mountain. The Leshan is also not the largest statue in the world but it’s much larger than the golden monument laying atop the mountain. All in all, this little destination may be out of the way for your typical tourist, however those dedicated few who really wish to immerse themselves in the deep culture that China has to offer would be foolish to skip out on this spot.  

Now that you’ve got a rough idea of what to do once your in China you’re all set to head over! Just kidding. If you’ve never been to China before you’ll need both a passport and a visa! If you don’t have either and are kicking yourself, fret not, we are here to help. We specialize in expediting both passports and visas! Within a few days time you can have both your US Passport and your Chinese Visa ready! So what are you waiting for? Click here to learn more about applying for a US Passport with the Passport Office, and click here to learn more about applying for a Chinese Visa with China Visa Department.