It’s debatable what the UK’s favourite takeaway is, but British Chinese is certainly up there. Whether you fancy a savoury noodle dish or something a little sweeter and tangier, there’s bound to be something on the menu that tickles your fancy.
Want to know what to order from the Chinese takeaway? In this post, we will take a look at the 10 most popular British Chinese dishes with pictures to help you decide.
1. Spring Rolls
A very popular Chinese starter that can vary from takeaway to takeaway, but remains a safe order choice, nonetheless. Spring Rolls can come with both meat and vegetable fillings, with the meat option generally containing minced pork or beef, as well as a number of vegetables to give it a bit of bite.
In the veggie option, you are likely to find a mixture of cabbage, carrot, spring onions, and possibly the occasional water chestnut. That may sound very healthy, but as with any deep-fried food, the calories can quickly mount up, so even though Spring Rolls are extremely tasty, maybe eat them in moderation…
A good Spring Roll has a great crunch and a texture that isn’t too dissimilar to filo pastry, however, the crunchiness can vary depending on cooking times, nobody wants a soggy Spring Roll.
2. Sesame Prawn Toast
Practically a British staple, the humble Sesame Prawn Toast is again, deep-fried, making it all that bit moreish, with a combination of savoury sesame and sweet prawn. This starter has great balance, with crunch around the edges and softness towards the middle.
No British Chinese menu is complete without this simple, yet flavoursome option.
3. Spare Ribs
Spare Ribs can be eaten as a starter or as part of an overall meal, accompanied by sides. Slow-cooked for maximum tenderness, so the meat is falling off the bone and doused in sweet Char Sui sauce.
The sauce is made from a blend of garlic, sugar, five-spice, white pepper, Shaoxing wine, and a range of other sauces and condiments, creating a complex flavour that keeps Brits coming back for more.
If you haven’t tried spare ribs from the Chinese takeaway, add them to your next order, you won’t regret it.
4. Crispy Duck Pancakes
Compared to its counterpart, Peking Duck, Crispy Duck is quite dry and obviously crispy, while also containing less fat. This makes Crispy Duck Pancakes a less messy option to eat, while also offering similar levels of flavour, and of course, that distinctive aroma.
Wrapped in soft pancakes, drizzled with tangy and sharp plum sauce, and completed with a garnish of thinly sliced cucumber and finely chopped spring onion – this dish really ignites the senses with its range of textures and taste, while also retaining its lightness.
5. Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls
Did you honestly think Sweet and Sour Chicken balls would be omitted from our list?!
It’s hard to think of a dish that manages to combine two contrasting flavours so well, made even better by plump and juicy chicken balls that make this dish sufficiently filling, especially when combined with rice.
The sauce is simple yet ingenious, generally consisting of pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, salt, sugar, and cornstarch.
A real classic Chinese dish, popular not only in the UK, but across the world. It is thought that it originated from the Chinese province of Hunan but has since been adapted to Western tastes.
6. Chicken Chow Mein
Chow Mein often refers to just fried noodles but can come with an array of different ingredients, including chicken, peppers, chilli, onion, bean sprouts, and more. There is no denying that this dish is addictive, and the good thing is that is usually served in large portions, meaning there is enough to reheat the next day.
Chow Mein sauce is extremely savoury, with a mix of Oyster sauce, Soy, and Sesame. If you have never tried it, then add it to your next order and say hello to your next favourite British Chinese dish.
7. Beef in Black Bean Sauce
Speaking of savoury, it doesn’t get more intense than Beef in Black Bean Sauce… from my experience, the go to Chinese takeaway dish for dads. The beef is slow-cooked until it melts in your mouth and the salty, fermented black bean sauce is very low in cholesterol, with no saturated fats, for a guilt-free takeaway option you should try.
8. Chop Suey
A dish so good it inspired one of the biggest heavy metal songs of all time.
Chop Suey is an American/ Chinese dish that has established itself as a favourite on this side of the pond. It is predominantly a stir-fried vegetable dish that sometimes contains chicken or pork, covered in a thick, gravy-like sauce that has a similar flavour to Chow Mein.
Related: Most popular Thai takeaway dishes
9. Egg Fried Rice
The perfect side order for any Chinese takeaway meal, Egg Fried Rice is full of flavour and is also filling (usually one portion is enough for two). Combined with a sauce of your choice, Egg Fried Rice could be a meal in itself and sometimes comes with peas, onions, carrots and spring onions.
Popular across a range of Asian cuisines and their western variations, Egg Fried Rice is the equivalent of Asian soul food, and is sold in immeasurable quantities across the globe on a daily basis.
10. Special Fried Rice
Taking your side order of Fried Rice to the next level, Special Fried Rice can contain a whole host of ingredients and is almost certainly a meal in itself, often ordered with chips and curry sauce to feed the entire family.
Special Fried Rice contains chicken, beef, prawn, Char Sui pork, egg, and a range of vegetables, yet somehow avoids overkill. Some people think this dish originated from Yangzhou, but the truth will never really be known, I’m sure there is a Chinese takeaway in Birmingham attempting to take credit for this one…
Were these suggestions too obvious for you? If so, check out our post on the most underrated Chinese takeaway dishes.
Looking for something to order that has more heat? Check out our post on spicy Chinese takeaway dishes that you can order!