It’s no secret that food is a runner-up on our list of passions in life (others being travel, chocolate & wine), so what better place to be in than China?! The restaurants serve some amazing dishes; from tofu to chicken to noodles and frog, China has it all…literally.

Even though we love eating at the very affordable and delicious restaurants here, one of our favourite places to enjoy a meal is on the street! Street food is cheap, quick and authentic. We love the local vendors who serve us our daily snacks and we always come back for more.

Here’s a list of our favourite street-side food stalls:

1. The Cold Noodle Lady. This little mobile noodle cart is the best. She serves up cold, flat noodles with loads of garlic, chilis, peanuts, shaved cucumber, tofu, cilantro and soy. This is a great snack on a hot day.

street food in china
The cold noodle vendor! Tiny street cart, all of the ingredients, the finished product & Nick enjoying the eats!

2. The Soup Guy. Soup with blood, intestines, noodles and tofu…may not sound all that appetizing, but it’s delicious! Call us crazy, or call us Chinese, but whatever, it’s great.

3. The Couple With The Fresh Bread. This adorable couple is out on the street every day serving freshly baked bread in their fire-heated kiln. It’s a great stop on the way home from work and tides us over until we can make dinner.

4. The Meat Man. Slabs of fresh mutton are grilled over burning hot coals at this street-side shop.  Just name your price and he’ll weigh the meat, and cook up the appropriate amount, seasoned with cumin, salts and spices, it makes for a fabulous snack on its own, or, added to a stir-fry.

eating on a budget in china
Delicious mutton (sheep) being cooked over hot coals

5. The Vegetable Lady. There must be about 10 identical stalls all side-by-side at the vegetable market, but what drew us to this one, and what makes us continue to come back is the friendly smile we receive every time we go there! The woman is so sweet and knows us well enough by now to throw more than one plastic bag our way. We always leave with bags full of produce and a massive smile on our faces.

street vendors in china
Buying bags of fresh veggies from our favourite vendor

6. The Woman With The Oranges…But Now, The Mangoes. Every time we bike past her, all we hear is “Nǐ hǎo!” Even if we’re not stopping to buy anything. She filled our bags with fresh mandarin oranges in the winter and is now in supply of ripe mangoes!

eating in china
Buying fresh mangoes from the Mango Lady
eating cheap in china
We’ve become friends!

Last but definitely not least…

7. The Wrap Lady. We have been eating here since we first arrived in Yangzhou. Wraps are stuffed with chicken, scrambled egg, cilantro, green onion, spices and 2 different mystery sauces (which are delicious) and are then fried on her hot grill. She also has round breads that Nick always requests she fills with some extra chicken!

eating in china
The wrap lady! She’s been serving us chicken wraps for 7 months now

She is full of smiles and we’ve gotten to know her well – and with our limited knowledge of the Chinese language, that means: we know she has said hello, she is married, Happy New Year, the wraps cost 6rmb and she is cold. What more could we possibly need to know?!

Eating anywhere in China is a true delight and the more frequently we go to a particular stall or restaurant, the closer we get with the owners. They always light up when they see us hungry wàiguóréns coming their way!

What are your thoughts on eating street-food? Is it a good idea, or not so much? Leave a comment below!




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Eating On The Street, On The Cheap: Our Favourite Food Vendors In Yangzhou, China

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Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging.

Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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7 thoughts on “Eating On The Street, On The Cheap: Our Favourite Food Vendors In Yangzhou, China

  1. I think street food is a great deal, one of the best meals I have ever had anywhere (including some top end restaurants in London) was from a guy in Marrakech.

    The meat was cooked over what looked like a fire with part of a tree and some coals in it 🙂

    The street food in Thailand was pretty amazing too.

  2. Yum! We love the street food in Morocco as well. You’re right, the street food in Thailand is some of the best 🙂

    Eating from local vendors makes for an excellent experience!

    Cheers for the comment

  3. I have to agree with you guys, the street vendors in China offer great food, it is cheap and they are always happy to see you!

  4. Great tips, I’ve been wondering how difficult it would be to find cheap vegetarian street food in China but good to know about that first dish.

  5. There are some great vegetarian options in China. If you’re a very strict Vegetarian, you may find it hard at times to find food that isn’t sprinkled with some sort of meat – Chinese people find it hard to understand that some people don’t eat meat! If you’re ok to pick out pieces of meat in order to get at your vegetables, you’ll have more options 🙂

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