Dim Sum, Pancit, and More Chinese Food Recipes You Can Make At Home

IMAGE Patrick Martires

Chinese food is one of the earliest cuisines that was introduced to the Filipino culture. Even before the over 300-year-long Spanish occupation of the Philippines, Filipinos have been trading with China since the 9th century. Through this long history of trading between the two countries, it is not at all surprising that some of our favorite Pinoy ulam recipes are actually adapted from traditional Chinese recipes.

What is Chinese cuisine?

Chinese cuisine encompasses a wide array of food, but it can be roughly categorized by its most prominent regional cuisines: Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan, and Zhejiang. Out of these Chinese regional cuisines, Chinese-Filipino cuisine is most influenced by the Cantonese and Fujian or Hokkien cuisines, as the majority of the immigrants comprising the Chinese-Filipino communities in the Philippines have Cantonese or Hokkien roots.

Photo by Patrick Martires
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1 Dim sum Recipe

Dimsum refers to a wide variety of small steamed or fried dumplings that can have sweet or savory fillings. It comes from the Chinese word dianxin meaning "to lightly touch the heart". It used to be served with tea and was meant to be a light snack. Nowadays, dim sum can also be eaten as breakfast or lunch. In the Philippines, siomai or shumai features in the popular Pinoy rice meal, siomai rice. There are much more popular dim sum snacks, like siopao or bao, hakaw (har gow), and xiao long bao or soup dumplings.

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2 Chop Suey Recipe

Chop suey is a stir-fried Chinese dish that features meat and quail eggs with colorful mixed vegetables, usually carrots, baby corn, and a variety of greens like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and snow peas. This light, refreshing, and healthy dish is one of the most versatile Chinese recipes. Just as the origins of its name zasui, which means "miscellaneous leftovers", implies, chop suey can be made with almost any vegetable you happen to have in your pantry!

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3 Pancit and Chow Mein Recipes

There may be many different types of Chinese noodles, but none of them hits home like a good plate of pancit. From birthday pancit noodles to regional versions like bam-i, batil patong, or pancit luglug, this piece of Chinese cuisine has become inextricable from Filipino-Chinese menus. But if you want a more authentic Chinese noodle recipe, look no further than chow mein, which is a stir-fried Chinese noodle dish flavored with oyster sauce, vegetables, and meat or tofu.

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Char Siu or Asado Recipe

This Chinese barbeque pork dish is more popularly known as char siu everywhere else in the world, but it is more commonly known as asado in the Philippines. This unique designation is a modern-day relic of Philippine history; the pork barbeque recipe itself has Chinese roots, but as the Philippines was occupied by the Spaniards, this Chinese barbeque pork dish was used for the Spanish word for roast: asado. However you want to call it, asado or char siu easily stands out with the combination of star anise, five-spice, soy sauce, and sugar in its marinade.

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5 Yang Chow Fried Rice Recipe

Even before the internet was abuzz with Uncle Roger's egg fried rice reviews, Yang Chow fried rice has long held a special place in Chinese restaurant menus. This Chinese stir-fried dish is usually made with cooked long-grain rice, eggs, char siu, shrimp, peas, and carrots, all tossed in a wok. What makes this Chinese food so popular, aside from its deliciously umami-filled flavor profile, is that it's the perfect way to revive day-old rice. Plus, even though it is usually served as a side dish, it's tasty (and hearty) enough to be eaten as a main dish!

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6 Kung Pao Recipes

Kung Pao Chicken is a classic Szechuan (or Sichuan) dish that is made with chicken, peanuts, vegetables, and Sichuan peppercorns. Chinese Szechuan cuisine is known for its strong flavors, particularly ma la, which tastes the same way it translates: ma meaning numbing, la meaning hot.  While these peppercorns have a spicy heat like other chilis, the numbing sensation is the main attraction of this peppercorn and is essential in this cuisine. This unique ma la flavor is added through Sichuan peppercorns, but if you can't source any, you can substitute them with your choice of chili instead.

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7 Sweet and Sour Pork Recipe

Sweet and sour pork is one of the most kid-friendly Chinese food on this list. This colorful Chinese dish is made with breaded pork, usually fried until crunchy, and then tossed in a flavorful sweet and sour sauce. It gets its signature reddish color from ketchup but is made tastier by balancing the right amounts of sugar, vinegar, and spices.

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8 Chinese Soup Recipes

Though there are many kinds of Chinese soups and stews, the most popular ones that Chinese restaurants feature are the thickened soups like egg drop soup, hot and sour soup, and crab and corn soup. Not only are they filling, but their signature silky texture also makes each spoonful a pleasant experience. These soups may have complex flavors, but they are easy to make as they start off as humble broths that are thickened with cornstarch slurry.

Can't get enough of Chinese food? Here are more ideas and recipes to try:

Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here.


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