Exploring the Delicious Flavors of Chinese Cuisine in Philadelphia, PA

When it comes to Chinese cuisine, Philadelphia, PA has a lot to offer. As a melting pot of cultures and cuisines, the city boasts a diverse range of Chinese restaurants that cater to different tastes and preferences. From traditional dishes to modern fusion creations, there is something for everyone to savor.

The Influence of Cantonese Cuisine

One of the most common ingredients used in Chinese cuisine in Philadelphia is Cantonese cuisine.

This style of cooking originated from the Guangdong province in southern China and is renowned for its delicate flavors and use of fresh ingredients. Many Chinese immigrants who settled in Philadelphia brought their Cantonese cooking techniques with them, making it a prominent influence in the city's Chinese food scene.

Soy sauce

is a staple ingredient in Cantonese cuisine and is used in many dishes as a seasoning or marinade. Made from fermented soybeans, this dark, salty sauce adds depth and umami to dishes such as stir-fries, noodles, and soups.

Oyster sauce

is another essential ingredient in Cantonese cooking. Made from oyster extract, this thick, savory sauce is often used as a base for stir-fries and adds a rich flavor to dishes.


is a staple food in Cantonese cuisine and is often served alongside dishes such as stir-fries or braised meats.

In Philadelphia, you can find a variety of rice dishes, including Yangzhou fried rice, which is made with eggs, vegetables, and meat.

The Influence of Szechuan Cuisine

Another popular style of Chinese cuisine in Philadelphia is Szechuan cuisine. Originating from the Sichuan province in southwestern China, this style of cooking is known for its bold and spicy flavors. Szechuan cuisine has gained popularity in recent years, with many restaurants in Philadelphia offering their take on classic dishes.

Szechuan peppercorns

are a key ingredient in this style of cooking and are known for their numbing and spicy flavor. They are often used in dishes such as Kung Pao chicken and Mapo tofu, adding a unique and addictive kick to the dishes.

Chili peppers

are another essential ingredient in Szechuan cuisine, adding heat and depth to dishes.

They are often used in sauces and marinades, such as Szechuan hot pot, a popular dish where diners cook their own meats and vegetables in a spicy broth.

Fermented black beans

are also commonly used in Szechuan cuisine, adding a salty and savory flavor to dishes. They are often paired with garlic and chili peppers to create a flavorful sauce for stir-fries and braised dishes.

The Influence of Shanghainese Cuisine

Shanghainese cuisine is another popular style of Chinese cooking that has made its way to Philadelphia. Originating from the city of Shanghai, this style of cooking is known for its use of seafood, vegetables, and delicate flavors.


is a key ingredient in Shanghainese cuisine and is used to add a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to dishes. It is often used in sauces for braised meats or as a dipping sauce for dumplings.

Soybean paste

, also known as fermented bean curd, is another essential ingredient in Shanghainese cuisine.

It is made from fermented soybeans and has a strong, salty flavor. It is often used as a seasoning for stir-fries and soups.

Shanghai noodles

are a popular dish in Philadelphia, made with thick, chewy noodles stir-fried with vegetables and meat. These noodles are often served with a savory sauce made from soy sauce, vinegar, and other seasonings.

The Influence of Fusion Cuisine

As the Chinese food scene in Philadelphia continues to evolve, many restaurants are experimenting with fusion cuisine, combining traditional Chinese flavors with other cuisines. This has resulted in unique and creative dishes that offer an exciting twist on classic Chinese recipes.

General Tso's chicken

is an excellent example of fusion cuisine, with its origins tracing back to New York City in the 1970s.

This dish combines crispy fried chicken with a sweet and spicy sauce, creating an incredibly popular favorite among many Chinese food lovers in Philadelphia.

Sesame chicken

is another popular fusion dish that has become an essential part of many Chinese restaurants' menus in Philadelphia. This dish features crispy fried chicken coated in a sweet and tangy sauce made from honey, soy sauce, and sesame seeds.

In Conclusion

Chinese cuisine in Philadelphia is an embodiment of the city's diverse population and its love for good food. From traditional dishes to modern fusion creations, there is no shortage of delicious options to choose from. Whether you're craving Cantonese, Szechuan, Shanghainese or fusion cuisine - you can find it all right here in the City of Brotherly Love!.

Ann Jorinscay
Ann Jorinscay

Total troublemaker. Hipster-friendly tv buff. Infuriatingly humble twitter guru. Professional beer scholar. Travel ninja. Unapologetic coffee expert.