Our Best of the Yoyo Blog series pulls together the most read, liked, and shared posts from our blog, organized by topic.
Check out our other "Best of Posts":
- Best of the Yoyo Chinese Blog: Top Business and Working in China Posts
- Best of the Yoyo Chinese Blog: Top Love and Dating in China Posts
In the articles below, you'll learn everything to know about Chinese dining customs, how to read a Chinese menu, authentic Chinese dishes, and much, much more!
The blog posts are each packed with useful Chinese vocabulary, with audio samples to help you perfect your pronunciation. It's the perfect way to get insights into Chinese culture while improving your Mandarin.
Chinese Dining Etiquette Survival Guide
One of the most basic (and sometimes anxiety-inducing) challenges when you are first visiting or living in a foreign country is navigating the social customs at meals. Your first time eating at a friend's house, going to a restaurant with friends (or a date!), or having the all-important business dinner can feel like walking through a minefield, where any moment you could embarrass yourself or your hosts.
Understanding Chinese dining etiquette and table manners will help you feel comfortable and confident, and this post will give you a solid foundation. You don't need to be perfect, but knowing the basics will go a long way to impressing your dining partners, and helping you build friendships.
[LIVE] How to Read a Chinese Menu 101
This live hangout is one of those lessons that is going to totally change your life (or at least your experience going to Chinese restaurants!). After watching the hangout, you'll be able to decode a Chinese menu - even if you've never studied Chinese characters before, or even studied Mandarin at all!
You can watch the hangout and head straight to the nearest Chinese restaurant to use your newfound menu-reading skills in the real world. This lesson gives you the tools to get adventurous ordering new dishes and exploring Chinese cuisine. Prepare to have your mind blown!
It also give you a really good demonstration of the Yoyo Chinese approach to learning to read Chinese characters. We know learning to read characters is a scary idea for a lot of students, but once you start to learn them, we're convinced you'll fall in love with the fascinating, logical, and sometimes beautiful world of written Chinese.
Top 10 Authentic Chinese Dishes
Let's face the truth: the food you've been eating at the Chinese restaurant back home is not at all like the real dishes and flavors you find in restaurants in China. Many foreigners are bewildered when they arrive in China, walk into a restaurant, and find absolutely zero dishes they recognize.
While we encourage you to learn how to read a Chinese menu, the 10 dishes we explored in this blog post are the classics, the must-tries, the ones you'll find all over the place and learn to crave.
5 Simple Secrets You Need to Cook Authentic Chinese Food
Calling all amateur chefs! If you want to try your hand at cooking authentic Chinese food, here are the ingredients you absolutely must have on hand.
One of the reasons you're learning Chinese is to explore Chinese culture, and cooking traditional Chinese dishes is a really fun way to bring that culture into your daily life, and share it with your family (or roommates!).
To do it right, you don't need to study under a master chef, but you've got to think way beyond soy sauce and a little ginger. Give your cooking authentic Chinese flavors with these 5 key ingredients.
5 Essential Chinese New Year Dishes
Chinese New Year dinners can be extravagant with hundreds of different kinds of dishes. But there are 5 dishes that nearly always make an appearance in every Chinese household.
5 Funky Chinese Snacks You'll Want to Try for Yourself
Foodies - 吃货 (chī huò)! You must try China's sugar people, edible milk, candy skewers, stinky cubes, and hairy eggs!!
Whether you ACTUALLY want to try these snacks or not, you'll want to read this blog post. It's packed with great food vocabulary and Chinese language take-aways.
Top 5 Chinese Food Related Slang
Ever notice how a lot of our slang involves food in some way? Someone being overly sentimental is being "cheesy", an intellectual is an "egghead", and someone might have a "vanilla" personality.
There's an abundance of food-related slang words and phrases in the Chinese language too, some that are centuries years old. Learn some delicious (or not so delicious) phrases with these five slang terms.
Why Do Chinese People Love Tea So Much?
We all know tea is closely associated with China, just as Coca Cola is with the U.S., but ever wonder how tea got its popularity, and, perhaps more importantly, how it's maintained its popularity for several thousand years? Read on to find out!
6 Crazy Chinese Versions of American Fast Food
American fast food has become ubiquitous in China. But KFC, McDonald, Subway, and others have quickly learned that to appeal to a Chinese market, they needed to tweak their menus and incorporate more local flavors and favorites.
Beefsteak pizza, seaweed donuts, taro pies, oh my! These unusual items found at American restaurants in China are truly one of a kind!
5 Weird Chinese Dishes to Avoid (or Enjoy)
For all the well-known and beloved Chinese dishes (Beijing duck, "kung pao" chicken), there are also some Chinese dishes that - to a foreigner - might seem pretty weird.
You can always stick to the your typical Chinese dishes (and be quite happy!) but when you are feeling adventurous, here are some pretty "out there" Chinese dishes to try.
Instead of just cringing your nose at what might seem like a strange (or even gross) thing to eat, open your mind! These dishes come from traditional Chinese culture, and what is weird to you is a delicacy to someone else.
4 Tips to Survive Your First Chinese Business Dinner
One of the first (and most important) things you learn when doing business in China is that business is usually done around a table full of food, and possibly small glasses of baijiu - 白酒 (bái jiǔ).
This post on surviving your first Chinese business dinner is a must read if you are looking to do business in China, or looking to work for a Chinese company.
What Does "Western Food" Mean in China?
In the same way we generalize Chinese food in the West, Chinese people have a pretty weird understanding of what "Western food" means. This super interesting post will give you an insight what Chinese think about xī cān (西餐) - "Western food".
This is one of those terrific articles on our blog that is packed with useful vocabulary, while giving you a glimpse into modern China and Chinese culture.
Introduction to 4 Regional Chinese Cuisines
Like so many things in China, food and flavors in the Middle Kingdom is incredibly regional. When you go to China, you quickly realize that "Chinese food" is not a single cuisine!
This popular post will give you a new way of thinking about the Chinese dishes you love. Understand the regional differences will give you a seriously helpful tool when choosing where to eat.
Learn the regional cuisines of China as well as you know the cuisines in your home country, and you can choose which "regional" cuisine you want based on whether you want spicy food, comfort food, delicacies or just a really good bowl of noodles.
6 Awesome Authentic Chinese Foods You Need to Know About
Unlike our post with the Top 10 Authentic Chinese Dishes, the 6 dishes recommended here by Jinna (one of our most popular bloggers) aren't the most common foods in China. But unlike our 5 Funky Chinese Snacks and 5 Weird Chinese Dishes posts, these aren't dishes that usually send foreigners running to the exits.
Think of this post as a local foodie giving you the inside scoop on dishes you might pass over or never even notice, but should definitely give a try! Much loved in China, these dishes are little-known elsewhere. Dig in to these dishes and dig into 当地(dāng dì) - local - Chinese cuisine!
The Ultimate Guide to Drinking in China
Drinking in China explained: what you'll drink, drinking etiquette, and Chinese vocabulary for drinking... this post is full of valuable info to fill your head before you fill your glass.
This one is a must read, whether you are looking for the perfect toast for a Chinese wedding you are attending, preparing for a drinking challenge at your next Chinese business dinner, or trying to figure out how to politely refuse a drink.
Authentic Chinese Recipe: How to Make Egg Drop Soup
Almost every Chinese person knows the egg drop soup, or "dàn huā tāng (蛋花汤)". It's a simple soup that's easy to make but oh-so-delicious!
Making Chinese dishes at home is a great way to really feel immersed in Chinese culture as you are studying the language. Dàn huā tāng (蛋花汤) is a simple comfort food that takes little time or effort, but will fill you with warm satisfaction. Read on for the recipe and share your experience preparing it yourself!
We hope these blog posts have given you a deeper insight into Chinese food, and eating and drinking in China. Let us know which are your favorite posts in the comments below!