40 Popular Chinese Recipes

How to Make Some of Your Favorites Dishes from a Chinese Restaurant

Serve with sauce

The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

There are literally thousands of recipes in Chinese cuisine. Chinese people, whether through necessity or taste, eat almost anything and will cook them in various ways including stir-frying, boiling, stewing, baking, steaming, and more.

Take a look at a list of the 40 really popular Chinese dishes found in restaurants throughout the world. The top 40 dishes in Taiwan might not reflect the top 40 in China and definitely wouldn’t reflect the top forty in America and the U.K., but these are universally popular almost everywhere.

Some of the recipes from this list are basic Chinese cooking recipes so they are suitable for anyone who is interested in Chinese cooking. These include basic fried rice which is a simple fried rice recipe with just a few ingredients. If you learn how to cook this fried rice dish you may find yourself adding other ingredients in the future including chicken, ham, or prawns. The same can be said for chicken chow mein, which is a fairly basic recipe to cook. Once you have learned how to cook it, you can swap chicken with pork, seafood, or beef and make various kinds of chow mein.

Appetizers and Dim Sum

A few of these appetizers were developed by American of Chinese descent, like egg rolls and crab rangoon, and can be found on Chinese restaurant menus throughout the world.


How to Make Homemade Crab Rangoon


Chinese-style soups feature distinct, soothing flavors that can warm up a chilly night and fill a hungry belly. These are enjoyed in American restaurants and are not far off from the recipes you can find in China.


Easy Chinese Egg Drop Soup Recipe

Rice and Noodle Dishes

Noodles and rice are staple foods in Chinese cuisine as in most parts of the world. Chinese preparations vary based on the spices used, the heat level of sauce, and meat and vegetable ingredients in the stir-fry. Vegetables usually used include peas, green onions, and sometimes carrots for color. 

Main Dishes

Of the thousands of main dishes that come from China, these are some of the top dishes (or their American interpretations). Some are American variations on classic Chinese favorites, like moo goo gai pan, which is at its essence stir-fried chicken with mushrooms. The classic Cantonese version usually includes snow peas, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and cabbage.

Accompaniments and Desserts

There are many flavorful tastes in Chinese cooking—courtesy of the rich condiments used in most dishes. Take a look at the sauces and sweets that you can recreate.