The next best thing to eating Chinese food is reading about it, and we've searched the internet for the Middle Kingdom's most delicious food blogs. Whether serving up recipes, reviewing restaurants, scouring markets, or plastering food porn on their websites, these are the must-read blogs for the dish on China's culinary scene. Take a bite of this enticing blog roll (listed in alphabetical order because I just couldn't pick a favorite) to get your mouth watering and your stomach growling.
Appetite for China
During a stint in Beijing, Diane Kuan decided that "1.3 billion people must be eating something right" and launched Appetite to let the world know what the most populous nation was chowing down on. Despite branching out to cuisines from Mexican to Vietnamese, Kuan's passion is still clearly rooted in Chinese food, an affection that stems from spending her childhood in her family's Chinese restaurant in Puerto Rico and Cantonese bakery in Boston. The blog's pièce de résistance is a complete list of the 100 Chinese Foods to Try Before You Die -- I dare you to read it without developing your own Appetite for China.
Launched by two students at Tsinghua who know how to eat (and cook) on a budget, this blog offers scrumptious insight into Beijing's best bites. Their tales of unapologetic lust for jianbing make me long for my heyday as a university student in the capital. For now, I'll just have to live vicariously through Haochi's delectable posts and appetizing recipes.
The Chinese Soup Lady
Started by two sisters who grew up in Canada hating the Chinese soups that their parents served at dinner, the Chinese soup ladies overcame their adolescent aversion to broths and found their adult selves homesick for the food they once eschewed. Chinese soups are acclaimed for their use of lean protein and vegetables, but the Tong sisters break down the nutritional benefits even further. Each recipe ends by listing the trivia-packed helpful benefits and precautions of the soup in question. Who knew that turtle shell is an excellent source of collagen?
URL: http://www.thechinesesouplady.com (you may need a proxy to view this)
Eating Asia might cover all of the delicious treats the world's largest continent has to offer, but Robyn Eckhardt had a love affair with Chengdu back in the nineties that she and her photographer husband never got over. Eating Asia's strength lies in its an unrestrained passion for eating and insatiable curiosity that often takes the reader from behind the dinner table directly into the kitchen. If Eckhardt's words aren't enough to get your mouth watering, then one glance at her husband's luscious pictures is guaranteed to make your eyes bigger than your stomach.
When not blogging about tasty treats in and around Beijing, Eileen Wen Mooney moonlights as a published author, food guide editor, and chef of her very own cooking school. Credentials like that can only add up to one thing: a darn good food blog. Her Chinese dictionary of essential dining words is a FOB foodies' bible and her recipes are ridiculously easy to follow for even the most wok-inept home cooks.
Food & Drink Chengdu
While the writing on this blog isn't groundbreaking journalism, the author gets down and dirty with cheap eats in the capital of the Sichuan province. Often times, Food & Drink Chengdu seems more educational than entertaining, but it's a surefire way to get grounded in Chinese cuisine and learn some practical food vocabulary along the way. For the Hanzi (Chinese characteres) illiterate among us, the handy hotpot menu post is a goldmine in and of itself.
URL: http://www.eatdrinkchengdu.info (if you're in China you'll need a proxy for this one)
Phat in Shanghai
An art director at an international advertising agency in Shanghai, Sandy Ley has an eye for design and a mouth for food. Her dining misadventures around Shanghai (and the rest of China) are refreshingly honest and just plain fun. Phat has been making readers' stomachs growl by dishing up bites of China's best eats with a side of sass since 2009. Don't miss Sandy's epic bike ride in search of the perfect xiaolongbao, which launched a viral sensation amongst Shanghai's internet-savvy foodies and inspired copycat cycling trips all over the city.
A software engineer in New York by day, Kian Lam Kho serves up Chinese food from his Singaporean childhood to hungry netizens around the globe in his free time. Red Cook focuses on how to make authentic Chinese homestyle cooking within the confines of the Pan-Asian aisle at an American grocery store. Luckily for the blog's China-based readers, wet markets stocked with the local ingredients needed to whip up these dishes are just a couple blocks from their computers, leaving no excuses for home cooks to not try their hand at restaurant favorites in the comfort of their own kitchens.
A regular contributor to Shanghai's expat rags and sites, Jake DeLois takes followers of his restaurant reviews and dining recommendations a step further with Shanghai Foodist. Besides shamelessly promoting his published articles, Shanghai Foodist offers a user-friendly interface with handy tips on Chinese dining etiquette, DIY recipes, and a never-ending quest for the perfect dumpling. Smart writing combined with inspired story angles make this blog a must-read for all foodies who eat in the 'Hai.
The brainchild of an erstwhile vegan, Weird Meat presents the musings of a self-proclaimed connoisseur of carnivorous taboos, offal, and insects. Michael mourned the loss of Rudolph's headgear while sampling deer antler gum drops in Shenyang, voraciously dined on a meal of duck blood, chicken embryo, and bull penis in Nanjing, and bravely tested the aphrodisiac properties of snake meat in Taiwan. Weird Meat's postings are rare - averaging once every couple of months or so - but who can blame the guy? After all, there's only so many strange cuts of meat to be devoured!
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