Food trends in China: Michelin to Fast

China boasts a rich culinary history and offers a wide variety of food options. The country boasts both innovative culinary establishments and Cantonese classics. From Michelin-rated restaurants to fast-food options, this article will examine the food trends in China and showcase not-to-miss establishments.


Famed restaurant list Michelin has given two Shanghai-based establishments the coveted 3-star rating. This rating determines a restaurant to be worthy of a special journey to try the fare, which a trip to China certainly is. Beyond the 3-star rated restaurants there are 6 mostly Cantonese-style establishments that have earned 2-star ratings. These 6 establishments “worthy of detour”, as described by the tire company, are also all located in Shanghai.


Obviously then, Shanghai boasts a rich culinary landscape, with new and highly rated restaurants continuously popping up. However, US fast food giants have had their footing within the country for some time now, with new ones looking to expand in the region also. For example, Shake Shack has announced it will hit mainland China in 2019. Even renowned Chef David Chang, of Momofuku fame, discusses how KFC China’s fried chicken is the best commercially available chicken he’s ever had.


As China’s fast-food industry boasts $125 billion in annual sales, fast-food chains have been looking to expand to fourth-tier cities. Fourth-tier cities are those determined to have centers with less than 2.6 million inhabitants. As smaller cities have seen average income increase by 80 basis points faster than the largest cities they have become more attractive investments. McDonald’s recently adjusted its strategy by renaming itself Golden Arches and pushing new store openings country-wide, specifically targeting those smaller cities.


With so much movement happening within the Chinese fast-food market, that David Chang-approved KFC fried chicken is definitely worth a shot. However, don’t forget about the Michelin-starred dishes either. And for those who want to give a Michelin-rated Chinese restaurant a try without breaking the bank, there’s always the Bib Gourmand list.