General Tso's Chicken
Most people who grow up in China's mainland have never heard of this dish that was created by a Taiwan chef in the 50s, and in fact it has not the slightest bit of relevance to Zuo Zongtang (the General Tso for which the dish is named).
In the 1970s, the dish's creator brought it to America where it was adored by Henry Kissinger and suddenly its popularity exploded. Chinese restaurants all over started making their own imitations of the dish. The dish's flavor slowly morphed from the original salty and spicy profile into the sweet one that is presumed to be loved by so many Americans until it reached its current state as just a kind of sweet and sour chicken.
What I can assure you is that natives in Hunan, General Tso's hometown, have never heard of this so-called Hunan dish.
When Chinese people talk about "chop suey" they mean animal organs chopped up together and eaten, but westerners don't eat organs and offal, so the American "chop suey" refers to a mismatched mess of foodstuffs such as cabbage, pork strips, bean sprouts, celery, green pepper, onion all fried up together.
As one can well imagine, there is no standard for this dish, any restaurant can take whatever leftovers they have and turn it into chop suey. Liang Qichao, who during 1903 visited the US, tried the dish and left us with the following evaluation: "Those eaters of chop suey lack culinary skill. Chinese people would never touch such a dish."
[This is] an "imagined authentic Chinese food" that in fact had never existed in China. For Americans it became the iconic Chinese dish in the mid-1900s, coming to be regarded as more and more authentic, even as it became less and less Chinese in its culinary format.
Spring rolls are probably one of the most popular appetizers found in foreign Chinese restaurants. On the surface, a crispy, golden shell filled mainly with bean sprouts and cabbage, but when it comes down to putting it in your mouth, you'll find that they are usually fried into oblivion and if you can manage to make it to the center of this cudgel-like snack you'll likely be left with a mouthful of oil. True spring rolls should have a very thin skin, abundant filling and just a little oil.
Chicken or beef broccoli stir fry: Broccoli isn't native to China and not generally eaten.
Crab cheesy wontons or other types of cheese wontons: Anything containing cheese isn't authentic since the cheese was eaten in very few regions. Most Chinese are lactose intolerant. When the Chinese make wontons, they use different ingredients.
Chinese salads: If you find fresh salad on the menu in a Chinese restaurant abroad, it definitely isn't Chinese. This was never traditionally eaten, and is still rare except in foreign restaurants in China.
Iced tea: A lot of Chinese restaurants outside the country serve iced tea. Freshly made black iced tea with ice and no sugar or sugar (Chinese would call it red tea) is basically unknown in the mainland except in a tourist restaurant.
Beef chow mien: Depending on the region, something like what you've eaten served on fried noodles might be available, but the flavor is probably much different.
According to the report released by Meituan-Dianping, China's largest on-demand service platform, there are over 600,000 Chinese restaurants overseas. In 2017, at least 16 renowned Chinese catering brands, including Peking Duck brand DaDong and Qing Feng Steamed Dumpling Shop, tapped successfully into the foreign market.
When DaDong opened its restaurant in New York at the end of last year, 2,500 reservations were booked within the first two hours it became available, which reflected the extreme popularity of traditional Chinese food overseas.
The report also pointed out that hotpot is the most popular food in the foreign market and made up 34.2 percent of the total. Sichuan cuisine, as well as some Chinese snacks and fast food followed, came in second and third, respectively.
Staple of Chinese Street Food: BBQ Meat
One of the meals you can find wandering the streets of China is kao rou (or barbecued meat). You can find this skewered meat in restaurants, as well as street vendor carts. They're known for being quite spicy and cooked over coals. Kao rou can consist of almost any kind of meat, including braised pork, chicken, beef, and even other internal organs!
Cold Vegetable Dish
This dish, named liang cai, literally translates to "cold dish". So, it makes sense that it would be a hodge-podge of ingredients. It's usually an assortment of cold vegetables, such as cucumbers, green beans, and cabbage. But there is no fixed recipe for it. For flavor, the vegetables are usually topped with a sauce, as well as tofu and peanuts. If you're in the mood for something healthy, this is a great choice!
Tofu, all by itself, is quite bland, tasteless, and requires spices to make it flavorful. However, tofu is a staple of Chinese cuisine and can even be found in their desserts! A popular dessert is tofu pudding, which consists of soft tofu covered in either sugar or a sweet ginger sauce. If you want your pudding to be a little more savory, you can top it off with soy sauce, chili, and peanuts.
It's Not Quite Noodles: Mutton Stew
This dish, from the city of Xi'an, is a traditional stew called pao mo. Although it's usually made with mutton, you can also use pork or beef. The interesting quality about this stew is that, instead of noodles, there are pieces of unleavened bread floating in the broth. On the side, you'll usually find pickled garlic and chili sauce to compliment the stew. It's a great dish if you want something a little heartier to keep you warm.
The Most Versatile of Dishes: Baozi
When it comes to choosing whether to have a meal or dessert... why not both? Baozi are traditional Chinese steamed buns that are known for being delightfully fluffy. The buns are usually filled with vegetables and meat, usually barbecue pork. However, if you're looking for something a little sweeter, baozi can be filled with red bean paste or custard. If you're ever feeling indecisive about what to eat, this meal is versatile and satisfying.
offal [ˈɔːfl] n (食用的)动物内脏
sprout [spraʊt] n 苗;新芽;嫩枝
hodge-podge [ˈhɒdʒpɒdʒ] n 大杂烩
hearty [ˈhɑːti] adj 丰盛的;亲切的;强烈的
versatile ['vɜː(r)sətaɪl] adj.通用的
来源：中国日报 thetravel; echinacities; China Highlights