Food Safety in China

If you are planning to visit China, you may be concerned about the food safety here. The plain truth is I don’t think you should worry too much about it, the food here is no more unsafe than any other place in the world. I have many foreign friends who travel here and they tell me they have no problems! You might get an upset stomach on your first visit to any new country, but it doesn’t indicate that there must be something wrong with the food. It’s an understandable reaction when your body is trying adapting to a new environment or any local bacteria which will also be ‘new’ to you. The same situation could happen if you travel to Australia, Thailand, Egypt, or any other country!
food safety in china

However, there are a few tips for you to take note of:

MSG and Sugar

You should be aware of that a lot of Chinese cooking uses MSG (monosodium glutamate) and extra sugar many dishes. But, you could make your order with an addition, saying: “bu yao wei jin” (pronounced ‘boo yow way jin’) or “bu yao tang” (pronounced ‘boo yow tang’) (this means ‘do not add in MSG or sugar separately’) and in this way you can avoid them if you are sensitive to them. Below is a list of delicacies which are flavoured by sugar that you should avoid to order if you are sensitive to it.


Sweet and sour spareribs : Pronounced as tang coo pai gu in Chinese pinyin, it is a popular dish in china, which is actually pork ribs strewed in sugar powder and white vinegar source.


Cola chicken wings: Pronounced as ke le ji chi in Chinese pinyin, which is stewed chicken wings in coca-cola (Yes, really!), of course it is also soaked with sugar after it been cooked too.


Rock sugar with fresh lotus: It is a famous delicacy in Hunan province, as Hunan provides a high amount of fresh high quality lotus, and  so this dish is a favored one by the local Chinese there. Yet according to it name , of course , it contains a potentially unhealthy amount of sugar in it.


Generally speaking, all of the biscuits and snacks and indeed many many processed food stuffs in Chinese supermarkets have added sugar already in their packets. But there are a lot of healthy eating and natural and also imported goods stores in the main streets and shopping areas of most of the big cities in China , it shouldn’t be difficult to find some nice and healthy snacks and goods that you are used to having if you get ‘home sick’ for those ‘native’ snacks.

Getting Advice

Get some opinion from our experienced tour guide before each meal. She or he will be able to recommend to you many places you‘d might prefer to go according to your preference. There is also quite a lot of food available that caters for mainstream western tastes such as KFC and McDonald's, and there are well-known stores such as Walmart.
food in china

Trust your own Common Sense

Wherever you may be, in whatever country, you know that if a place looks unclean or unhealthy, you wouldn’t eat in there, whereas if a place looks popular with local people, clean and orderly, then it’s probably safe to eat there!

And finally, remember that travelling is actually to experience a different world and culture, so don’t hesitate, just enjoy it!

Recommended China Tours

17 Days Classic Japan and China tour

17 Days Classic Japan and China tour

Tokyo-Hakone-Kyoto-Nara-Osaka-Beijing-Xi'an-Guilin-Shanghai

From on request

11 Days China and Japan Discovery Tour

11 Days China and Japan Discovery Tour

Beijing-Xian-Shanghai-Tokyo

From on request

3 Days Hike the Great Wall around Beijing

3 Days Hike the Great Wall around Beijing

Beijing-Gubeikou-Jinshanling-Wohushan-Jiankou-Mutianyu

From on request