4 Dishes To Try The First Time You Visit A Mandarin Restaurant

Posted on: 18 May 2023

If you have a Mandarin Chinese restaurant in your area, then you are in for quite a treat. Mandarin cuisine is delicious, balanced, and filling. Each dish has something unique to offer, and the method of ordering—which typically has your table order a few dishes to share—means you get to try multiple different dishes each time you dine. So, what Mandarin Chinese dishes are most worth trying during your first visit? Here are some top suggestions. 

Kung Pao Chicken

You may have had a simple, takeout version of kung pao chicken before, but the authentic version at a Mandarin restaurant is guaranteed to be better. It consists of chicken tossed in a spicy, Szechuan chili sauce along with cucumbers, red peppers, and garlic. The dish is topped with plenty of fried peanuts, which help balance out some of the spice.

Chow Mein

Chow mein is a noodle dish, and the perfect thing to order if anyone in your group is new to Chinese food. It consists of long, tender noodles, chicken or beef, onions, celery, and sometimes a few other veggies. The ingredients are all fried in a very hot wok, which gives them flavor and crispiness. The sauce used on the dish is soy sauce based with just a hint of spice, although some restaurants will let you order chow mein extra spicy. 


Xiaolongbao are essentially little dumplings. They are placed inside a bamboo basket and steamed, and then they are served in that same bamboo basket. They are traditionally stuffed with ground pork, but some restaurants may also make them with crab meat, veggies, shrimp, or even beef. Xiaolongbao are usually served with a sweet and salty sauce for dipping. Sometimes you'll be given little slices of green onion to top them with too.

Char Siu

If you like pork, then you absolutely must order some char siu for the table. It can be a little expensive as it takes time and effort to make. Strips of pork are brushed with a sticky, sweet sauce that contains red yeast rice and pineapple juice as they are charred over an open flame. The resulting pork strips are crisp on the outside, tender in the middle, and quite sweet.

If you visit a Mandarin restaurant, all four of the dishes listed here are great ones to order. Don't hesitate to branch out and try some less familiar fare too.

Visit a local Mandarin Chinese restaurant to learn more.