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Chinese snacks make up a quintessential part of East Asian culture’s diverse culinary history. If you are a fan of Chinese cuisine, you may already know that there are a variety of treats for those who like to eat on the go.
Chinese snacks graphics | Image from Honest Food Talks
Even if you’re new to Chinese cuisine, you should be familiar with the midday lure of tasty snacks. The hunt for the perfect post-dinner bite is definitely a real struggle.
So, the next time you’re craving a snack, we recommend you try the following treats!
Guotie, Chinese dumplings or also known as ‘potstickers’.
Crunchy Rice Rolls
Crunchy Rice Rolls is, as the name implies, one of the many delicious Chinese snacks made from roasted rice.
Firstly, the rice is roasted to a firm and crispy consistency, usually glazed with syrup and rolled in sesame seeds. Therefore, this makes the rice roll a light but sweet treat.
Crunchy Rice Rolls | Image from Instagram
If you’re worried about the calories, do not fret. We have found many healthier versions of this snack. You can find order this treat online to be delivered to your home.
Bamboo Lane Crunchy Rice Rolls
Watermelon seeds are a perfect choice when you need to watch TV and keep your mouth busy.
Known as ‘gua zi’ in Mandarin, the seeds are full of health benefits and research has proven that they promote healthy skin and hair, among other benefits.
Roasted Watermelon Seeds | Image from Instagram
Chinese snacks like watermelon seeds are baked and sold by the handful. You eat them by peeling off their roasted skins and aiming for the sweetness inside.
Watermelons are a popular choice, however, we observe that roasted sunflower seeds are an equally popular option.
Pineapple buns, or polo buns, make a great match for your morning cup of tea.
Fresh pineapple buns served at a bakery.
Here is a surprising fact: the name comes from its resemblance to the fruit, and not for its ingredients! The top of the bun is a sugary, crunchy concoction that is lightly fried to a golden brown. Hence, the bun vaguely resembles the rings of pineapple.
If you like a sweet treat in the morning or with your tea, you should try this bun at Asian bakeries. Many Asian bakeries will have a wide selection of Chinese snacks like pineapple bun made freshly every morning.
These biscuits are a favourite among many that grew up in Asia, and probably the most traded option for snacks on the playground!
Gem Biscuits on a plate | Image from Instagram
Gem biscuits are bite-sized cookies topped with a swirl of sugary icing. When you try them, it’s not difficult to see why this nibble is so popular.
Although known as an Asian product, we were surprised to find that these cookies were actually developed by a British company! You can buy gem biscuits and other Chinese snacks online from UK grocery stores.
Haw Flakes (山楂餅)
This simple candy is a favourite amongst many in Asia. Made up of the hawthorn fruit, we find ourselves not able to resist nibbling on this light treat after meals.
Haw Flakes packet | Image from Instagram
Haw flakes have struck the sweet and sour balance just right, making it one of the best Asian candies to try. Today, we observe many patisseries using haw flakes as a differentiating ingredient in making creative new types of cakes and pastries.
Turnip cake, or radish cake, is a fried slab of rice flour and radishes served in rectangular slices.
Usually eaten dipped into a mixture of chill and soy sauce, you can find this sort of Chinese snacks in many dim sum stores as part of their menu.
Fried Turnip Cake from some of the best restaurants in Chinatown, London.
Additionally, some chefs may choose to add dried shrimp or ham to the dish. We find that this gives an extra oomph to the dish.
Turnip Cake Powder
Stinky Tofu is an acquired taste, given the many sweet or savoury Chinese snacks and candy out there.
This deep-fried fermented tofu can be eaten cold or served piping hot. Furthermore, the more rotten this snack smells, the better the quality of the tofu!
Stinky Tofu with a side of cabbage | Image from Instagram
If you would like to try it at home, you can find and order stinky tofu from online commerce stores.
You can eat youtiao, or fried dough fritters, either by dipping the lightly salted fritters in coffee or eat them as a standalone snack.
If you are wondering if this sound like churros, you are right!
Youtiao with a cup of soy milk | Image from Instagram
In many Asian countries around the world, this humble fried dough makes its appearance as a breakfast food, but also, late-night treat.
You can try making this fried food along with other delicious Chinese snacks by using a special raising agent.
Youtiao Raising Agent
This pineapple jam filled square-shaped cake is a very popular treat that originates from Taiwan.
We find that these Chinese snacks are perfect as an afternoon treat for sharing. There are plenty of good recipes you can refer to online to make this shortcrust pastry at home.
Pineapple cakes from Taiwan | Image from Instagram
The next time you visit Taiwan, we recommend you grab a few packs of pineapple cake to make into gifts for your family and friends. Otherwise, you can always order the sweet treat online to be delivered to your doorstep!
Yuki and Love Pineapple Cake
Steamed Bao Buns, Mantou (饅頭)
Mantou, or steamed bao buns, are best eaten dipped in soup or heavy sauce. If you want an experience, then wait for a cold day, cook up a curry, and soak these buns into the curry.
Steamed bao buns with vegetable filling.
Additionally, fans of this Chinese snack eat this in many ways: plain, with butter, dipped in curry or soup. Either way, it will still be delicious.
You can find frozen mantou is sold in many Asian grocery shops.
Now, this particular Chinese candy is undoubtedly for those with a sweet tooth.
Strawberry Tanghulu | Image from Instagram
Tanghulu is traditionally a hallowed out hawthorn fruit filled with sweet red bean paste. Then, makers skewer the candy, dip it in heated sugar syrup, finally serving it hot.
It is pretty much like its Western counterpart, the candied apple!
Nian Gao (年糕)
Whether you are looking for a sweet Chinese snack or just want a lucky omen, you can now get this online from many stores.
Nian Gao | Image from Instagram
The name ‘Nian Gao’ translates into year cake.
Because of its sweetness as well as stickiness, the Chinese eat it at the start of the year as a way of sweetening the mouth. Its name suggests a better, prosperous year for the person.
Fried Dough Twist
Fried dough twist is a dough snack in a twist, fried in peanut oil. Shiny and crispy, you should definitely eat this Chinese snack with non-milky tea.
Fried Dough Twist or Mahua | Image from Instagram
This treat is also known as ‘mahua’ (麻花). You can find variations fried in sesame, honey, or pepper.
Fried Dough Twist, Mahua
If you need an appetising snack, try this savoury roll. It has chopped pork, shredded cabbage, and other fillings wrapped in wheat flour skin.
We find that this dish is best eaten dipped in sweet sauce. You can also quickly make simple Chinese snacks like this one at home!
Egg Rolls with Sweet Chilli Sauce | Image from Instagram
In comparison to the Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, this one is a deep-fried dish. So, do be careful of its calorie count if you are looking to maintain your diet!
Guotie is Chinese dumplings and is also known as potstickers.
Do you enjoy steamed servings of thinly-rolled wraps filled with chopped meat or vegetables? Then you will enjoy guotie.
Guotie, Chinese dumplings or also known as ‘potstickers’.
Dumplings are not only served hot and steamy but they can also be cooked in a soup or fried to crispy brown perfection for a crunchy snack.
You can find many Chinese snacks like this in many Asian supermarkets. Some may even take orders online for home deliveries.
Chinese Pork Jerky / Bak Kwa
If you like the South African jerky, Biltong but are looking for something with an Asian twist to it, then bak kwa is perfect for you!
Instead of vinegar and ground coriander, we found that this cured meat is usually treated with soy sauce, five-spice powder and fish sauce. Chinese snacks like bak kwa can also be made with beef or chicken.
Bak Kwa or Chinese Jerky | Image from Instagram
These marinated meat strips are delicious as a savoury light nibble.
In Asia, we find that bak kwa is usually produced and sold but speciality shops. However, today you can easily order them online without having to leave the house.
Chinese Pork Jerky / Bak Kwa
If you have not tried shaobing, then make it a point to taste the following delicious type of Chinese snacks. Unlike Western bread rolls, shaobing has a hard texture and is an unleavened flatbread.
Additionally, it can come stuffed with all kinds of fillings, such as sweet red bean, taro filling or meat and potatoes. We recommend eating it with soy milk.
Shaobing with Taro filling | Image from Instagram
The flat hard bun is a treat for those post-lunch, pre-dinner cravings. You can find this at many Asian bakeries.
Last but not least, try this nibble if you are feeling munchy. This is a cooked and dried, and additionally seasoned snack.
Dried Squid | Image from Instagram
You can chew on this rubbery tasting, savoury Chinese snack all day, without getting too full.
Originating from Singapore, where ironically chewing gum is banned, this snack is also known as the Asian chewing gum. That should give you an idea of what the dried squid strips taste like!
In conclusion, if you enjoy snacking between meals, know that there are many options out there. Now that you are aware of the varieties of Chinese snacks and candy, you can go forth and satisfy your nibble cravings!
Here is our list to summarise the top Chinese snacks you should try:
- Crunchy Rice Rolls
- Watermelon Seeds
- Pineapple Buns
- Gem Biscuits
- Haw Flakes (山楂餅)
- Turnip Cake
- Stinky Tofu
- Youtiao (油条)
- Pineapple Cake
- Steamed Bao Buns, Mantou (饅頭)
- Tanghulu (糖葫蘆)
- Nian Gao (年糕)
- Fried Dough Twist
- Egg Roll
- Guotie (鍋貼)
- Chinese Pork Jerky / Bak Kwa
- Shaobing (燒餅)
- Dried Squid
Did we miss a snack that you think be on this list? Share with us by dropping an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are looking for more treats to order online, check out our list of the best Asian snacks popular today.