When I’m ordering in, I always over-do it on the Chinese appetizers. I just can’t get enough of the crunchy, fresh finger foods that complement any meal.
Chinese appetizers are so much more than just egg rolls – although they are super delicious.
But there are also fresh cucumber salads and fluffy steamed rolls.
Any of these incredible 17 Chinese appetizers would look good next to your homemade dumplings or noodles. Let’s get started!
1. Cantonese Spring Rolls
It’s so bizarre that we don’t make spring rolls more often.
They’re pretty simple when you think about it. You’ll just need a selection of thinly sliced veggies and maybe some pork.
And since you can buy the wrappers ready-made, half the work is already done!
I think cabbage and carrots are a must in any spring roll, but you can change things up from there.
I’ve made them with pork, shrimp, mushrooms, or just loaded with veggies.
Once you get them nice and crisp, they’ll fly off the plate no matter what filling you choose. Serve with a selection of dipping sauces.
2. Sticky Baked Chinese Chicken Wings
No matter how hard I tried, I could never get my chicken wings to that same sticky finish you get in restaurants.
I’ve learned that’s because I’m impatient and I don’t baste!
Not only do these babies get a flavorful marinade, but they’re also coated in the perfect sticky glaze.
They’re garlicky, spicy, sweet, and everything you want in a plate of wings.
So when it says baste – be sure to baste! These wings need a solid 45-50 minutes in the oven, and you should be basting at least twice to get the best finish.
3. PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps
I enjoy these lettuce wraps because they give so much great flavor, but they’re still super light.
That means I can enjoy my main and dessert without feeling too full.
You might notice that a lot of these recipes seem to have an extensive ingredients list. And that is true, BUT many of the recipes use many of the same ingredients.
So, if you stock up on sriracha, soy, peanut oil, hoisin, and rice vinegar once, you can make multiple dishes for the next few weeks.
4. Crab Rangoon
This simple appetizer is made with crab meat, cream cheese, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce.
The creamy filling is then wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried until golden.
You’ll need to mix the cream cheese with the garlic and Worcestershire sauce until smooth before adding the crab meat. That way, it will stay chunky.
I prefer to use fresh crab meat from the deli, but most recipes use imitation crab meat. I’ve also made this with cooked shrimp, and it came out great.
5. Okra Salad with Black Vinegar
If you’ve never tried okra before, I suggest trying fried okra first. The truth is, this popular vegetable has quite a slimy texture, and it takes some getting used to.
If you like the texture, then this simple salad is a great way to eat okra.
The key is to blanch the okra pieces for just a minute before submerging them in ice water to stop them from cooking any more.
You can serve the black vinegar mix as a dip and top the okra with chopped peanuts and chilis.
6. Wood Ear Mushroom Salad
Wood ear mushrooms are a unique, mildly flavored mushroom that is very popular in China.
Typically bought dried, you will need to soak and cook these before eating.
The dark mushrooms look pretty impressive when served on a platter with chilis, and they make a great side dish.
7. Soft Fluffy Chinese Steamed Buns Recipe
These steamed buns are light and fluffy and super easy to recreate at home. There are no crazy ingredients or long proofing times.
All you’ll need is flour, yeast, sugar, oil, salt, and milk.
The dough will come together quite fast in the mixer, and once it’s portioned, it needs to rest once and almost double in size.
To get the smoothest finish, be sure to leave the buns in the steamer for a few minutes after you switch the heat off.
This will allow them to gently cool down, rather than shocking them by taking the lid straight off.
8. Chinese Style Potato Salad
It really shouldn’t be too surprising that this dish is so good. It’s potato, garlic, salt, and chili oil. What’s not to love?
You might be surprised, though, to see that there’s no mayo in this recipe. Instead, it’s a simple mix of potato with a chili-infused oil.
When cutting your potatoes, be sure to cut them as evenly as you can, so they will all cook together. And try not to overcook the potato, or it will turn to mush.
9. Egg Rolls
What’s the difference between egg rolls and spring rolls? Spring rolls tend to be thinner and crisp, whereas egg rolls have a thicker crunchy shell.
Many of the fillings are similar – cabbage, carrots, pork – and they get wrapped up in the same way.
Both can be fried, but egg rolls are usually deep-fried, which gives them that bubbly texture.
10. 5-Minute Zucchini Salad
Much like the okra salad, this dish is pretty simple. By not going overboard with lots of extras, the veg is really able to shine and take center stage.
I personally love zucchini, and this is such a nice way to eat it. When it’s fresh, there’s nothing more satisfying.
The zucchini needs to boil for just a few minutes to soften, and then it gets covered with a wonderful dressing and some hot chili oil.
11. Easy Chinese Cucumber Salad
Taking the humble cucumber and turning it into the kind of dish you’ll reach for again and again is no small thing.
But you won’t believe how easily this recipe comes together.
Again, you’ll see many of the same ingredients, from rice vinegar to garlic and sesame oil.
To put this dish together, you’ll just need to mix the dressing and pour over the crushed and sliced cucumber.
Just remember not to add the dressing until you’re ready to serve. This will prevent too much liquid from escaping the cucumber as it sits.
12. Chinese Zucchini Pancakes
These lovely light pancakes are great for breakfast, as a snack, or as a small start to the meal.
They use zucchini, shallots, and five-spice, and are best served with the tangy dipping sauce.
In most of the recipes, you’ll see for zucchini pancakes, they will tell you to grate and drain the vegetable.
This releases any excess moisture and stops the pancake from becoming soggy.
But in this recipe, you’ll leave the moisture in and make the batter nice and thick.
As the moisture is released, it will thin out the batter, so you can pour and fry them.
13. Chinese Cabbage Salad
I’ve always enjoyed cabbage. Whether it’s sauteed in butter, boiled, or cut fresh for coleslaw, I love the texture and flavor.
Plus, it’s pretty cheap and goes a long way.
If you’re a fan of coleslaw, you’ll probably really enjoy this simple salad.
Chopped peanuts will add a different kind of crunch, and the toasted seeds and noodles will give some lovely crisp texture.
14. Chinese Sliced Tofu Salad
To answer your question, no, this is not just a salad with slices of tofu.
I was actually amazed at the variety of tofu that’s available today, and when I saw this, I had to give it a go.
Slice tofu is dense, like extra-firm tofu, and is cut from thin sheets so it looks like noodles. Chances are, you can find it at your local Asian market.
To make the tofu, add it to a pot of boiling water for just a few seconds before draining and rinsing under cold water.
When you’re ready to serve the salad, toss the tofu with carrot, cucumber sticks, and the dressing.
15. Gai Lan Recipe with Oyster Sauce (Chinese Broccoli)
Chinese broccoli is a leafy green vegetable that is a cross between broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
It has a similar look to broccoli rabe and has a slightly bitter taste.
You’ll need to trim the ends of the stalks and wash the leaves thoroughly before cooking.
If you see that it’s stringy when you cut the stalk, the broccoli is old and likely won’t taste great.
To cook Chinese broccoli, fry it in garlic and ginger-infused oil before adding some stock, and letting it steam until tender.
16. Vegetable Potstickers
Potstickers are a lot like dumplings. The difference between the two is in how they’re cooked, as potstickers tend to be steamed and fried to give a lovely crunchy side.
These meat-less potstickers are the perfect addition to any table, but especially if you’re looking to eat less meat.
Between the mushrooms and the crisp water chestnuts, you won’t miss the meat.
17. Scallion Pancakes
If you only make one thing from this list, I really hope it’s this recipe.
Scallion pancakes take a little bit of love, but the incredible scallion flavored pancake is so worth it.
To get the best finish, you’ll need to make and mold the dough into balls before rolling them flat and then rolling into little logs.
Next, turn the dough into a spiral and roll once more into your pancake.
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