Foodie Alert: Tasty $1 Chinese Lunch Special

Chinese Style Lunch

Chinese Style Lunch

Lunch in China is a big meal (and a big deal), and for myself, it’s probably my favorite meal of the day.

While in Yangshuo, there were a number of options for lunch, one of them being a huge assortment of pre-cooked dishes all set up buffet fast food style on a table – you then either help yourself or the vendor spoons food onto your plate.

This method of serving food is common throughout Asia. One of my favorite restaurants in Bangkok serves southern Thai food this way, and in Malaysia and Indonesia their nasi campur is served in a similar fashion.

All You Can Eat Rice!

All You Can Eat Rice!

For only 8 RMB ($1.26), I got 3 – 4 items from the Chinese buffet piled onto a single plate, a bowl of light chicken broth soup, and the all-important self service all you can eat rice (one of my favorite things about China and one of the best ideas in the world).

That’s my kind of lunch special!

It was a toss up, somedays I would dine on $1 bowls of Guilin rice noodles, but many days I just couldn’t get over the fact that China included self service all you can eat rice!

Pork Stuffed Tofu Balls

Pork Stuffed Tofu Balls

The range of pre-cooked dishes was outstanding, and there were so many choices it was difficult to narrow in on just 3 – 4.

These little chunks of tofu stuffed with minced pork, garlic, onions and a few spices were one bite wonders!

Lunch in China

Green Vegetables and Lotus Root

One of the things I love about Chinese dishes is that while they do include meat, they often also includes huge amounts of fresh vegetables. I think Chinese eat basically every known vegetable on earth!

The plate above included some kind of green leafy vegetables, steamed lotus root, and soft fried tofu.

Stuffed Bitter Melon Gourd

Stuffed Bitter Melon Gourd

Another favorite of mine was the minced pork stuffed bitter melon gourd.

Bitterness is the most neglected taste in Western cuisine, but the Chinese have mastered a couple of dishes that take bitterness to the next level of delight!

Jicama and Pumpkin

Jicama and Pumpkin

The last plate of the day included stir fried pumpkin, stir fried jicama and stir fried peppers.

All these tasty Chinese foods sloppily combined onto a plate and served with as much rice as I could eat – that’s my kind of a $1 Chinese lunch special!

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  1. says

    There are various types of CHinese cuisine that make you mouth-watering. Hong Kong is well known for its Cantonese cuisines and worth for visit if you are seeking for tongue satisfaction.

  2. says

    Hi Mark, just read your interview over on where you listed Chinese food in your top 3 cuisines. I travel regularly to China and usually am taken out by male members of staff, unfortunately their taste in food is very different to mine.

    Over these many Chinese trips I had come to dread the experience of being served sinewy meat from the parts that I would throw away and the excess of oil in every dish. However on my last trip I was taken out by the office ladies and shown a whole new side to Chinese food.

    Over three days we had food that was delicious and entirely edible, not once did I see camel hoof, chickens feet or sea cucumber served up. The highlight of the dining experience was a vegetarian restaurant in Beijing where the flavours were absolutely awesome. Everything was made from vegetables, even the meat dishes.

    So my tip to you, when you go to China is to get some ladies to take you out, as their palates are superior to their male counterparts. I am now looking forward to my next trip to China so I can sample some more dishes.

    • says

      Hey Stephen, awesome, thanks a lot for the advice. I agree, the excessive of oil in some Chinese dishes is unnecessary. When I was in China I was with my female cousin and we often ate out with her friends (female) so that might be why I enjoyed so much of the food! I’ll remember your tip for next visit as well!

  3. Wolf Mitzner says

    hey mark, I am travelling through asia and was always concerned with the food in china, call it scared to try something completely new. On reading your write up on these Chinese dishes, of course they always look delicious but at least I have more confidence in knowing their ingredients and approximate taste, just a comment to say thank you for the educational info and more importantly thank you for re-installing my zest to try more adventurous dishes!

    • says

      Hey Wolf, good to hear you’re traveling around Asia. Thank you for checking out my articles – I really believe that sampling local food is one of the most rewarding things to do. Hope you enjoy the tasty eats!

      • Wolf Mitzner says

        hey mark, thanks for the response, i have tried many dishes across China now, from ‘bing’ ‘jianbing guozi’ ‘chuanr’ my favourite so far was in Guilin, ‘bbq xiang rou’, I’ll let u know how the food is in Korea, that’s where I’m headed next Mark, any advice on Korean dishes?

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