China is home to a variety of dishes that run the gamut of the taste spectrum, from the sweet to the salty to the meaty, and everything in between, China has a little something for everyone's taste buds. Though most Americans are familiar with Chinese-American variations on dishes, sometimes truly authentic dishes fall through the cracks. If you find yourself near a restaurant that serves authentic Chinese cuisine, give one of the following dishes a sample.
In the city of Shanghai, you'll find a variety of meat based dishes that are sweet. Hongshaorou is perhaps the most emblematic dish of this variety. It is red braised pork belly that sits in a heavy sweet sauce. After the pork itself has been braised for hours upon end, the pork belly will become incredibly juicy. This dish is tender, sweet, and meaty at the same time, and is a must try for any fans of pork.
Suan Tang Yu
If you're a fan of seafood, soups, spiciness and sourness, then suan tang yu is the dish for you. The dish is constructed from pickled chilis, tomatoes, and a litany of different spicy herbs, then combined with river fish, which gives it a bit of a sour aftertaste. Perhaps the most distinct element of suan tang yu is its almost overpowering and mouthwatering aroma. Suan tang yu is often eaten hot pot-style, and served with a variety of vegetables and tofu.
If you find that you're a fan of hongshaorou, you might want to give jiuzhuan dachang a chance. This dish is considerably heavier than hongshaourou, and noticeably less sweet, but what it lacks in those two food elements, it more than makes up for in savoriness. Like hongshaorou, jiuzhuan dachang is braised pork, but instead of the belly, this dish consists of the intestines. The intestines are then simmered in a heavy brown sauce that creates a powerful aroma that can cause even the most hardened foodie to salivate.
This dish is significantly lighter and less sauce-heavy than the other dishes that appear on this list. It doesn't matter, because this dish is equally as delicious as them. Hainan jifan simply translates directly as, "Hainan chicken." From the province of Hainan, free range chicken is caught, cooked by rendering it in its own fat, and boiling it in its own broth. The meal is then served with a variety of light sauces and fresh fruits from this tropical paradise.