21 Popular Cantonese-Style Recipes to Try Tonight

What Is Cantonese-Style Food? Find Out With These Dishes

Wor Tip Cantonese Potsticker

The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

Cantonese cuisine (廣東菜) is one of the most popular regional cuisines in Chinese cooking. When westerners think of Chinese language or food, it is Cantonese language and cuisine that most often come to mind. That's because prior to the immigration reform of 1965, the vast majority of Chinese immigrants to the US came from the Pear River Delta, especially the Guangdong province, where a version of Cantonese is spoken. As these immigrants opened restaurants over the years they influenced American food.

What is Cantonese-style? Well, if you enjoy dim sum, you're already familiar with one kind of Cantonese food. The most popular cooking methods used in Cantonese cuisine are steamingstir-frying and roasting. Staple dishes also include various kinds of roast duck, chicken, pork belly and char siu pork, sweet and sour dishes, and many more. Try some of these options below to add Cantonese flavors to your own cooking repertoire.

  • 01 of 21

    Wor-tip (Pan-Fried Dumplings)

    Chinese Pan-Fried Dumplings

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

    Often filled with pork, cabbage, shittake mushrooms, and garlic chives, wor-tip or pan-fried dumplings taste great as an appetizer, part of a dim sum spread, or on their own. Despite their name, they actually undergo a two-step cooking process: Fry them in hot oil on one side and then steam them in the same wok. That gives them their signature crunchy and tender texture.

  • 02 of 21

    Cantonese Roast Duck

    Cantonese Roast Duck on a plate

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    With its signature shiny, reddish-brown crispy skin, Cantonese roast duck looks similar to the Peking duck you may have seen hanging in Asian restaurant windows. But unlike the Peking preparation, Cantonese roast duck often appears at the table whole, stuffed with aromatics, and marinaded for a succulent flavor. It does take about a day for the skin to dry before roasting, so plan accordingly.

  • 03 of 21

    Ginger-Soy Steamed Fish

    Ginger fish

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Both a popular Cantonese cooking technique and a healthy way to prepare seafood, steaming fish results in a tender, moist fish. This simple steaming technique works with whole fish as well as fillets, and you can use a deep, shallow pan if you don't have a wok on hand.

  • 04 of 21

    Salt and Pepper Shrimp

    Salt and pepper shrimp recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    With a beautiful bright orange color and spicy flavor, salt and pepper shrimp make a fabulous appetizer or dim sum addition. Even though the dish has Cantonese origins, it sometimes uses tongue-tingling Szechuan salt and pepper mix. Feel free to swap in the blend if you prefer a different kind of heat.

    Continue to 5 of 21 below.
  • 05 of 21

    Char Siu (Chinese Barbecue Sauce)

    Chinese Barbecue Sauce (Char Siu)

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    Sweet, savory, and smoky with just a bit of spice, char siu traditionally appears on strips of roast pork for a dish of the same name. It doesn't contain any tomato like many American barbecue sauces, instead using hoisin, soy sauce, and Chinese five spice powder for its signature flavor.

  • 06 of 21

    Sweet and Sour Pork with Pineapple

    Sweet and Sour Pork With Pineapple

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    The addition of pineapple to sweet and sour pork gives the Cantonese and American Chinese food staple a fruity sweetness that adds balance to the succulent sauce. Swap in chicken, tofu, or other proteins for the pork if you prefer and serve it with a side of white rice.

  • 07 of 21

    Creamed Corn Soup

    Cantonese Creamed Corn Soup

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

    Traditionally, Cantonese creamed corn soup uses a classic technique called velveting to keep the meat tender. The protein gets coated in egg whites and some type of starch before frying, much like the dredging American chefs use when frying chicken. But in this recipe, cornstarch and egg whites act as a thickening agent, for a creamy (and faster) preparation.

  • 08 of 21

    Zhaijiangmian (Chinese Noodle Dish)

    Delicious Oyster Sauce Chicken with Spinach Noodle recipe
    Delicious Oyster Sauce Chicken with Spinach Noodle recipe. Chris Radley Photography Http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

    Hong Kong-style Zhaijiangmian has a slightly sweeter soy-based sauce than versions you might find in Korea or Beijing. It also features the traditional julienned vegetables, minced pork, tofu, and edamame for pop. It makes a great lunch or healthy supper.

    Continue to 9 of 21 below.
  • 09 of 21

    Lobster Cantonese with Savory Sauce

    Lobster Cantonese With Savory Sauce

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

    If you've never tried lobster any other way but steamed or in a New England-style roll, give lobster Cantonese a go. A savory soy, ginger, and garlic-based sauce, plus ground pork and aromatics, adds a generous dose of flavor to the elegant crustacean.

  • 10 of 21

    Beef and Peppers in Black Bean Sauce

    Chinese Beef and Peppers in Black Bean Sauce

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

    A staple in Cantonese home cooking, beef and peppers in black bean sauce uses ingredients like garlic, ginger, and onions to give it a mouthwathering flavor and aroma. Stir frying goes quickly, so prep all of your ingredients before you start.

  • 11 of 21

    Wor Tip (Cantonese Potstickers)

    Wor Tip Cantonese Potsticker on a plate, served with sauce

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

    Make crispy, fried-then-steamed Cantonese potstickers in less time by using thawed prepared dumpling dough. You can find it in most Asian grocery stores and national grocery chains, or order it online. Filled with a tasty pork and bok choy blend, they make a great appetizer or dim sum addition.

  • 12 of 21

    Moo Goo Gai Pan (Fresh Mushrooms with Sliced Chicken)

    Moo goo gai pan recipe

    The Spruce

    While whole button mushrooms usually form the base of moo goo gai pan, a traditional chicken and mushroom Cantonese main, other varieties can work too. You may also use bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, broccoli, and other vegetables to add color and texture variation.

    Continue to 13 of 21 below.
  • 13 of 21

    Cantonese Steamed Chicken

    Grilled Chicken Breast with Teriyaki Sauce over Steamed Rice
    4kodiak/Getty Images

    For a relatively quick and easy dinner, try Cantonese steamed chicken. This recipe uses Chinese mushrooms, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, and a little sugar for an earthy and savory sauce the whole family will enjoy.

  • 14 of 21

    Beef and Potato Stir Fry

    Beef and Potato Stir-fry

     Juanmonino / Getty Images

    Crispy potatoes, tender flank steak, and a simple umami-rich sauce makes this traditional Cantonese stir fry a must-try. You can use zucchini in place of potatoes but know that the vegetable has more water so you may need to adjust your cooking time accordingly.

  • 15 of 21

    Cantonese Beef Curry

    Chinese Curried Beef

    Curry powders come in various heat levels, and you can adjust the spiciness in this delicious Cantonese beef curry by choosing one that's more mild or carries a sharper kick. Indian madras curry works in this dish.

  • 16 of 21

    Beef and Peppers in Black Bean Sauce

    Beef and peppers in the black bean sauce recipe

    The Spruce

    A savory black bean sauce coats steak and bell peppers for a Cantonese stir fry that tastes great over noodles or white rice. The beef does need to marinade for at least 30 minutes before cooking, so give yourself plenty of time.

    Continue to 17 of 21 below.
  • 17 of 21

    Beef Chow Fun

    Serve on individual plates

    ​​The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Simplify your Cantonese cooking with this pared-down version of beef chow fun. Hor fun noodles give the dish its signature texture; the wide, chewy rice noodles soak up all that soy, cooking wine, and sugar sauce. We like baby corn, but just about any veggies you have on hand will work.

  • 18 of 21

    Cantonese Spring Rolls

    Basic spring roll recipe

    The Spruce Eats/Emily Hawkes

    Filled with shredded pork, shrimp, black mushrooms, and garlic chives, these fried spring rolls will satisfy your takeout hankering. We've also included instructions for a simple, savory sauce for dipping.

  • 19 of 21

    Char Siu (Barbecued Pork)

    Char Siu (Chinese-Style Barbecued Pork)

    The Spruce Eats

    So named for the barbecue sauce of the same name, char siu or Cantonese barbecued pork can be used in stir fries, as a starter, with noodles, or even a stuffing for buns. You can use pork shoulder in this recipe or pork belly for a fattier, juicier version.

  • 20 of 21

    Steamed Spareribs in Black Bean Sauce

    Steamed Spare Ribs Black Bean Sauce

    Getty Images / IslandLeigh

    For a traditional dim sum dish, coat steamed spareribs in a sauce made from fermented black beans, tangerine peel, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. You can also enjoy them as a main paired with noodles, rice, or your favorite starch.

    Continue to 21 of 21 below.
  • 21 of 21

    Shrimp with Lobster Sauce

    Shrimp With Lobster Sauce
    Flickr CC 2.0

    The name of this Cantonese dish is a bit of a misnomer—it actually doesn't include any lobster at all! The name "shrimp with lobster sauce" comes from the fact that the sauce uses fermented black beans, which are also used in Cantonese lobster dishes. This version calls for prepared lobster sauce for an easier preparation.