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'Chow down': top 10 Chinese dishes in foreign countries

1) Sweet and Sour Pork (糖醋里脊)

It should come as no surprise that this dish claimed the top spot. After all, the bright-red sweet and sour sauce mixed with chopped vegetables and lightly breaded-pork bits is a dish that almost everyone can agree on (other than vegetarians anyway). Many respondents also voted for Sweet and Sour Chicken, which tells us that Chinese restaurants overseas have already taken this dish and improved upon it in their own ways.

2) Kung-Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁)

This dish was highly rated by respondents the world over, not to mention it's also considered by many Chinese people to be a "staple" dish.

3) Spring Rolls (春卷)

It's also common sense (to anyone whose ever eaten in a Chinese restaurant in a foreign country) that this dish would be highly rated as well. While it may not be a commonly seen dish inside China per se, this Cantonese-style snack, a staple of Dim Sum restaurants, has clearly found its way into the hearts of foreigners (and consequently every single Chinese restaurant abroad).

4) Egg-Fried Rice (炒饭)

Legend has it that once during a state visit, Li Hongzhang (李鸿章), a politician and diplomat during the late Qing Dynasty (19th century), told his chef to cook up a dish that would appeal to both the Chinese and foreigners that were in attendance. The clever chef quickly made his way to the kitchen, rolled up his sleeves and whipped up a quick batch of egg-fried rice. The dish, simple in preparation, yet full of that universally appreciated "salty egg" flavour, was commended by the foreign diplomats, and Li Hongzhang as well.

5) Ma Po Tofu (麻婆豆腐)

There may be no other dish that captures the spiciness of Sichuan cuisine (and culture) better than Ma Po Tofu. The current popularity of Sichuan cuisine worldwide can also be attributed to this special kind of "spicy". And while Western cuisine has certainly tried, it has yet to top the spicy fullness of Sichuan cuisine, and Ma Po Tofu in particular.

6) Dumplings (饺子)

There's an old Chinese saying: No food is better than dumplings (好吃不过饺子), which goes to show the prominence placed on dumplings in Chinese cuisine. What's more, the fillings used in dumplings are as numerous as Chinese culture itself, naturally leading many foreigners to agree that dumplings best represent China as a whole. "Pot-stickers" (锅贴) are also very popular in other countries, no doubt due to their similarities shared with dumplings.

7) Wontons (馄饨)

Simply put, there's absolutely no way that the preparation of common Western pasta dishes can compare to the painstaking effort that goes in to making a single bowl full of Wonton soup dumplings.

8) Peking Duck (北京烤鸭)

Due to its great reputation and long history, Peking duck is a dish that every foreigner who visits China dreams about eating (other than vegetarians, again).

9) Chow Mein (炒面)

When first hearing foreigners talk about how much they loved eating Chow Mein, many Chinese initially didn't know what the heck they were talking about. Only after realising that Chow Mein was the Anglicised version of Chǎomiàn, did it dawn on them how much a simple dish of Chinese fried noodles has gone on to change the diet of so many foreigners.

10) Fried Shrimp with Cashews (腰果虾仁)

Shrimp is a nutritionally rich soft meat that is easy to digest. When it's stir-fried together with cashews, it becomes a powerful dish that can help prevent cardiovascular diseases. But you'll probably not pay too much attention to its health benefits while your eating – you'll be too focused on how delicious it is.
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