Orange chicken is definitely one of the most popular dishes at Chinese restaurants. Indeed, it can be very satisfying to eat. However, it is far from the only Chinese dish worth trying. The next time you find yourself in a Chinese restaurant wanting to try something new, here are some other top-notch dishes to order.
Peking duck is a celebratory or specialty dish. In Peking, or Beiking, it was often served on special occasions and to royal families. The duck is coated with a delicious citrus sauce and roasted to perfection. Air is pumped under the skin to ensure it gets perfectly crisp. Most Chinese restaurants will serve Peking duck along with little pancakes. The proper way to eat it is to scoop up some duck meat, sweet bean sauce, and scallion into the pancake and eat it like a tiny sandwich.
Dan Dan Noodles
A "dan dan" is a carrying pole. Years ago in China, these noodles would be carried on a pole by street food vendors. The noodles themselves are thick yet tender. In modern Chinese restaurants, they are usually served with a sauce that contains crushed peanuts, soy sauce, and minced meat. You'll often see them topped with scallions and other chopped veggies, too. Most versions of dan dan noodles are quite hot, but since the chef usually adds red pepper flakes during cooking, you can generally ask for them to be made less spicy, if preferred.
Mapo tofu is not typically a vegetarian dish since the tofu is traditionally cooked along with minced pork for flavor. However, it is an incredibly delicious dish and well worth trying. Chunks of marinated tofu are tossed with a salty, peppery, bean sauce. This saucy dish is always served with plenty of white rice, which rounds out its flavors nicely.
If you are seeking a vegetarian meal, it's worth asking whether the restaurant can make your mapo tofu without meat. Some can accommodate this request, and it's becoming more common to see mapo tofu on vegetarian menus as the desire for meat-free dishes rises. Just know that the traditional preparation is not entirely meat-free.
If you're stuck in an orange chicken rut, these dishes can help you break out and try something new. Chinese cuisine has so much to offer, from delectable duck to saucy tofu dishes. Before long, you might discover a new favorite dish to order.
For more information, contact a Chinese restaurant near you.