My Favorite Chinese Snacks

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I enjoy trying local snacks when I am overseas. However, there are times when I feel nostalgic about home, and it is a great feeling to browse supermarkets and see my favorite Chinese snacks on the shelves. In Canada, there are lots of stores selling a variety of Chinese snacks, but nothing compares to the snacks I can eat in my homeland.

In this post, I list my favorite Chinese snacks, which I started eating in my childhood, as well as tales of how I overate some of them. I share these snacks as someone who was born and raised in China, and for foodies who are intending to visit China in the near future. Most of these snacks are easy to find on the street or in supermarkets and corner stores.

Wang Wang snow cookies

My favorite Chinese snacks

Wang Wang snow cookies

These snow cookies are rice crackers topped with white frosted bits that resemble snow. One of my childhood friends liked them a lot. She brought a pack containing eight small individual packages with two snow cookies in each. She gave me one of these. I took a bite and instantly fell in love with the co-existence of the sweet and salty flavors.

Nowadays, I don’t like them as much I used to, but I still purchase them occasionally and enjoy the slight salty and sweet taste.

Mutton skewers

My favorite Chinese snacks

The famous mutton skewer

Mutton skewers are arguably the most popular street food in China. They started in Xinjiang and quickly spread nationwide. This snack consists of bite-sized meat coated with cumin seeds, salt, and red pepper powder and cooked on a charcoal grill. They also have chicken, fish, beef, rice cake and vegetable skewers.

I enjoyed mutton skewer so much that everyday, I bought them with my classmates on our walk home from middle school . It was $1RMB for six skewers at the time.

Wonton soup

My favorite Chinese snacks

Wonton soup with bite-sized wonton

My love for wonton soup began in my university days when I spent many nights studying for my final exams. I often walked out of the gates with my classmates after 9 pm to find street vendors waiting to fill our half-empty stomachs with wonton soup.

This snack tasted hugely different from the ones I have had in North America. They were bite-sized wontons in a broth garnished with green onions, seaweed, sesame oil, salt, sugar, cilantro and white peppers.

I have lived in North America for over ten years now, and the only wonton soup I have found that has a similar taste is in a small restaurant in a hidden alleyway at Queens and Flushing in New York City.

Oden

My favorite Chinese snacks

Oden is made of stewed fish cakes, fish balls, tofu, shrimp balls, tofu and other vegetables

Oden is a Japanese one-pot dish that has become popular in China over the past two decades. It consists of yummy pork meatballs, fish balls, shrimp balls, fish cakes and fried tofu stewed in a soy-flavored and miso broth.

My first taste of Oden was during my first year at university, and I fell in love with their light, sweet and meaty flavor. In China, it is still very easy to find oden in 7-11 markets and restaurants and on the streets. Oden is best savored in winter as a comfort food.

Prawn crackers

My favorite Chinese snacks

Prawn crackers

When I was a child, we often had rice porridge on Friday evenings, and my mother would fry colorful prawn crackers (shrimp chips) for us to eat with the porridge. It was a fun treat, but I missed the opportunity to see how they are prepared.

Nowadays, prawn crackers are easily spotted in Asian supermarkets. There are ready-made ones, or you can purchase a box of uncooked prawn crackers and fry them in cooking oil. It is a great alternative to popcorn on movie night.

Dried bean curd

My favorite Chinese snacks

Dried bean curd, mostly comes with small individual package

These are salty and spicy vegetarian treats that you can put in your bag and eat whenever you want. The bean curd comes in small individual packages, and it is made of dried tofu stewed in soy sauce and a variety of spices. They come in a variety of different brands and flavors. Some of them are so spicy and hot that they make my mouth go numb.

Instant dry noodles

My favorite Chinese snacks

Instant dry noodles was my unhealthy obsessions in my childhood

Instant dry noodles were my go-to snack when I was in elementary school. The store next to our school sold them alongside other snacks and drinks, so purchasing instant dry noodles became my favorite routine.

Instant dry noodles come in a rectangular block of crunchy noodles with a small pack of condiments. Before eating them, I crushed the noodle block into bits and pieces with my bare hands, opened the package, added the seasoning, and shook the package for a few seconds.

The distinct flavor of these instant dry noodles, especially those from the XiaoHuanXiong brand, was extremely addictive, and it became a craze that swept through our class. Every day, the trash can in the corner of our classroom was filled with empty noodle packages. Eventually, our teacher had to tell us to stop eating it: “It’s not healthy,” he said.

Nowadays, it’s difficult to find the same kind of instant dry noodles in Chinese supermarkets, although they can still be ordered through Amazon.

Cracker nuts

My favorite Chinese snacks

Crunchy cracker nuts, made of peanuts coated with different flavors of dough, and fried

Cracker nuts are Chinese-style peanuts coated with a flour dough and then deep-fried. This snack can be found in any market in China. The coat is thick and crunchy. While some are sweet and spicy, others are garlicky or quite bland.

My favorite type is the fish skin peanut, which originated in Xiamen in Fujian province. It tastes salty and slightly sweet. It is hard to find fish skin peanuts in Canada, but I still manage to buy a few packs whenever I see them.

Do you have any favorite Chinese snacks? Share them in the comments below. 

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My favorite snacks in China

 

Julie Cao
 

Julie is the creator of Always On The Way. She lived in Hawaii and has made her way to Toronto Canada. In 2017, she went on an overland trip from Bogota Colombia to Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. She believes travel is not only about visiting tourist attractions but more about getting to know the culture, people and the place.

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