Take the greasy spring rolls and salt-laden fried rice off speed dial. From fast, healthy stir-fries and 700-year-old soups to devour-me dumplings and an enjoyably odd dessert, these Chinese classics put the fast-food imposters to shame.
5 Sep 2018 - 11:25 AM  UPDATED 11 Feb 2019 - 10:49 PM

1. Dim sum? Don’t want none.

Remember the dumplings of yonder years – sad, stodgy dim sum filled with some questionable meat? Thankfully we now live in a dumpling dreamland, replete with xiao long bao, pork pot-stickers and these pillows of pumpkin, known as kawa mantisi. Via Leanne Kitchen and Antony Suvalko's The Real Food of China.

2. Stir-fries never looked so good 

For a light, fresh and aromatic stir-fry that’s ready in the time it takes you to order takeaway, try O Tama Carey’s ginger and shallot-spiked mussels. The award for Best Supporting Ingredient goes to iceberg lettuce, which adds a nice crunch to the dish.

3. This chow means business

Brisbane-based chef Tony Ching learnt this simple pork and noodle recipe from his mother, so you know it’s gotta be good. Ready in less than 30 minutes, the salad can be enjoyed hot or cold.

4. Get in my belly

Let’s reason here. You can buy crispy pork belly from take-out shops, but will it be as good as this porky recipe from the food dept.? No way. Coated with palm sugar caramel and served with baby buk choy, the dish is “worth every second” it takes to make.

Crispy pork belly with palm sugar caramel sauce and steamed baby buk choy

5. Minus the sweetness, plus the heat

Forget sweet and sour pork, hot and sour tofu and prawns have our hearts a-flutter. To make matters better, this picture-perfect dish from Leanne Kitchen and Antony Suvalko can be made in less than 10 minutes.

6. Don't put your foot in it...

If chicken feet are your go-to yum cha cart, then we reckon these homemade succulent, spicy claws deserve a try. A Cantonese cook's recipe is usually so top secret that they take it to their grave! The trick? Marinate, deep-fry, soak and braise your feet. Via Feast magazine.

7. Or become bitter

We’ve all had our fast food disappointments – chewy meat, soggy batter, vegetables so oily they slip down your throat... Give all that a miss and try a Chinese classic: bitter melon with salted eggs. It’s fresh, quick to make and packed with health benefits.

8. Black bean like you’ve never seen

This quick-cook stir-fry trumps the store-bought stuff in flavour and health stakes. Combining bean thread noodles with calamari, baby corn, garlic shoots and black beans; it’s a weeknight winner that’s as colourful as it is scrumptious.

9. Fry baby, fry!

Grease is no longer the word that turns our tastebuds on, but sometimes we still crave a deep-fried fix. That’s where spiced pork dumplings with homemade chilli sauce come in. Smarter than spring rolls, prettier than prawn toast, these appetisers may become an addiction.

10. Welcome to the golden ages

When a dish is more than 700 years old, you don’t mess with it. You also don’t find it at a cheap ‘n’ cheerful Chinese joint. Take Luke Nguyen’s words of advice and make this fish claypot at home.

11. The aye-screams have it 

‘Dessert’ isn’t a thing in traditional Chinese cuisine, but that’s not to say sweets don’t exist. Ditch the deep-fried desserts found on a takeout menu for watermelon in rosewater sauce served with peanut ice-cream. It’s surprisingly awesome. Via The Real Food of China.

For more Chinese recipes, move on over to our recipe collection here.

Get ready to bask in a Chinese food bounty like no other as Adam Liaw's brand-new series Destination Flavour China comes to SBS from Wed, 28 Nov and then after broadcast via SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #DestinationFlavour on Instagram @sbsfood, Facebook @SBSFood and Twitter @SBSFood. Check out sbs.com.au/destinationflavour for recipes, videos and more! 

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