Eating Chinese Food

To follow up with my last post on Eating from the Street Vendors, I want to talk about two problems that should be mentioned. Constipation and Diarrhea. Constipation can come from anxiety while travelling; but most common because of MSG in the food. MSG is used in many foods especially sauces. Avoid eating too many foods with sauces in them and you will avoid that problem. Packing a medication for it will be helpful or your guide can suggest a Chinese medication that is natural. For Diarrhea, it can come from many sources. Avoid eating from the street vendors if possible as some meats and fish sit out in the open and sometimes do not get cooked enough. Only drink bottled water no matter what the signs say in the hotels, even the 5 star hotels. Most hotels furnish some bottled water in the room but it is available everywhere. In an emergency boil the water in the room with the electric tea pots and put it in glasses and put them in the small refrigerator in the room. Change in diet when you first arrive in China also can cause some diarrhea. Allergic reactions can also happen such as mine to ice cream. My lips swell up for about 4 hours so I know I need to avoid it. For more information contact us at Tours to China has been our only business for 25 years featuring Private Custom Tours for individuals or groups with specific interests. We furnish references of former clients with their permission. Click on the photos for a full screen view.

Chinese Food While Touring China

As a tour operator food is one of the top subjects that I get questions asked. There is of course a difference in food quality not only in China but in any country when you are on a tour. Tour Operators need to be competitive yet most want to offer a quality tour. Hotels and Food are two areas where Operators can save money in order to be competitive. It is my toughest challenge to provide a quality tour and excellent food and still be competitive. Clients sometimes just make decisions based on price only when there is so much more to the cost of a tour. Group tours must be taken to restaurants that provide pre-cooked food or Buffets and the quality of food is often middle of the road as we are use to more bland food in the West. Private tours can choose any restaurant they want but still must adhere to a budget in order to be competitive. Private tours can adjust to your diet requirements or some of your likes and dislikes. You can request to have some dinners on your own where you can order better dishes. This seems to be the best answer rather than providing more expensive meals that make us less competitive. The Lunch in the top photo is lunch for two at a normal cost. The meal shown below is about 40% more in cost. Both include a beverage and soup. For more information on Food in China contact us directly at

Chinese Food

As a China Tour Operator I often get questions concerning Chinese food. Unlike our Americanized Chinese food in the U.S. food in China is much different and such a variety you will not believe. Unfortunately if you are on a Group Tour with all or most meals included you may not have the opportunity to sample some of the great dishes. Group Tours must take tour members to restaurants that cater to groups and the food is a bit westernized and pre cooked to serve large groups. There is also a budget to consider as well. Private tours for 2 people are a bit better because you can go to any restaurant and we stay away from group restaurants which tend to be noisy and very busy. There is still a budget but at least your guide can find out what you can not eat or do not like. Breakfasts at the hotels are very large western and Asian food and lunches in China are as big as dinners…see the photo of a normal lunch above. I highly recommend that when you are in China that you go out on your own for dinner now and then with the guides suggestions on where to eat and then order on your own. It is easy as the menus are in English and Chinese. I supply a list of excellent restaurants to my clients for the larger cities however your guide will be your best source of information. One example for a light lunch in Beijing is the Beijing Old Noodle King for a fun lunch with the locals. For more information see my web site at

Tips on Eating Chinese Food

As a China Tour Operator, one of the most popular questions I am asked is about the food. There is a vast variety of food. Above is a typical lunch for a private tour. You can advise your guide of what you like and what you can not eat. I do not like tofu or spicy food myself. Pork and beef are common and the fish is fantastic as most are raised in ponds these days and are alive just before they are cooked so they are very fresh. Freshness is typical in China and the vegetables are delivered daily to the restaurants often just picked that morning or the day before. Breakfasts are very large western style buffets in the city hotels but Chinese style breakfasts in the countryside consisting of usually eggs, tomatoes, bread sticks or rice buns and maybe some vegetables. Dinners are as large as lunches so you never go hungry. MSG is used in most food and you can request that they leave it out in private tours. Group Tours the food is prepared before you arrive and can not be adjusted for individuals. MSG can cause constipation and is used mostly in sauces and gravies so go light on eating those. You will see food in stalls just about everywhere but I caution my clients about eating there as you do not know if the food has been refrigerated or not and you do not want to become ill. Chinese cook just about everything including lettuce. For fruits the standard, “If you can peel it; you can eat it” works for everything. They even peel grapes when they eat them. For more food information I will be writing more about it in future blogs.  25 Years of doing Quality Tours To China.   Check our web site at