Chinese Cooking Shows || Mouthwatering AND Amazing For Learning

Chinese Cooking Shows || The Best (+ Tastiest) Way to Learn Cooking Related Vocabulary

If you walk into your kitchen right now how many of the items in there do you think you can name in Chinese?

Lex the Lion

Or how about describing how you made your lunch to a Chinese friend? 

If, like me, you got stuck at something along the lines of…

I boiled some water in a pan”

The shows below will get you feeling confident in your cooking vocab in no time!

Or alternatively, if you’re at a level where you can almost follow along with every step in your recipe for Buddha Jumps Over the Wall (a soup commonly served at state banquets and requiring two full days to prepare with countless rare ingredients) the more advanced shows in this list can probably help fill in some final gaps!

If you want to get the most out of watching the shows you can take a look at this guide for how to learn Chinese through watching TV shows.

Now without further ado, let’s get into the shows! 

In order of increasing difficulty: 

Chinese Cooking Shows || Mandarin Corner Egg Fried Rice

Chinese Cooking Shows || 奶奶最懂得 Granny Knows Best

Chinese Cooking Shows || Flavorful Origins

BONUS || Useful Vocab

Chinese Cooking Shows || FAQs

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Mandarin Corner Egg Fried Rice

The best way to ease yourself into cooking content and to be able to start talking about simple recipes yourself, is through watching some Mandarin Corner videos related to cooking. 

I really recommend starting with the video titled: Learn Cooking AND Chinese – Chinese Egg Fried Rice. 

You get introduced to words for all basic cooking concepts, like chopping, dicing, frying, beating eggs etc. as well as words for vital kitchen implements such as a chopping board.

As a bonus, after watching the video you will have learned a delicious new recipe for egg fried rice!

Mandarin corner also has a 44 minute video where the host takes a walk through a Chinese wet market (vegetarians beware – it is a real life Chinese wet market), which gives you an explosion of new vocab! 

I hope the channel decides to add more cooking content in the future, because it is a super valuable resource for intermediate learners; English, pinyin and character subtitles are all provided on each video, and the host makes sure to speak clearly, but at a normal speed.

The people she interacts with at the wet market don’t follow these rules, and so provide a nice challenge within the video! 

奶奶最懂得 Granny Knows Best

That’s a title I think that most of us can definitely agree with!

Grandma’s are the best cooks around hands down.

This 8 episode series follows along with Jamie Bilbow, a British chef (and fluent Mandarin speaker), as he travels to 8 different provinces of China, stopping in each one to learn from the masters: local Grannies. 

You can watch the full series on Youtube or on qq.com

The show is a perfect resource for language learners interested in expanding their vocabulary related to cooking, as each province serves up its own delicacies with many different ingredients and methods of preparation.

It’s also very inspiring to see the level of Chinese fluency that chef Jamie Bilbow has reached, he converses with all the local Grannies with ease!  

Flavorful Origins

Lex the Lion

Oh boy, this is one for the advanced learners among us (at least if you want to forgo the English subtitles).

If you want to learn how to describe the textures and aromas of foods in Chinese, or talk about the changes at the molecular level caused by this method of food preparation versus that, this is the show for you!

Each episode is (thankfully) only 10 minutes long, which limits the amount of new vocab at least a bit.

Since the show is available on Netflix I highly recommend checking out the guide below to learning Chinese by watching Netflix.

There are currently 4 seasons of the show, with 50 episodes in total.

Each season takes place in a different province of China, and the producers of the show seem to have set themselves the mission of picking local delicacies that even Chinese people from other provinces have never heard of, never mind us language learners!

BONUS || Check out our guide to the 8 great Chinese cuisines here.

In keeping with the theme for advanced learners, the show mixes narration with interviews with locals – often with heavy local accents – perfect for the advanced learner to push a little past their comfort zone!

BONUS || Useful Vocab

Before leaving, it’d be wrong of us not to teach you a few new words!

We’re a language school after all.

Here are some handy words you can use when cooking in Chinese.

EnglishChinesePinyin
Bakehōng
Boilzhǔ
Chopzhǎn
Cutqiè
Deep Fryzhà
“Double Boil”dùn
Dressingbàn
Marinateyān
Mince剁碎duò suì
Pan Fryjiān
Peel
Roastkǎo
Slice切片qiē piàn
Smokexūn
Steamzhēng
Stir Frychǎo

Now let’s take a look at those all important veggies in Chinese.

EnglishChinesePinyin
Asparagus芦笋lú sǔn
Broccoli西兰花xī lán huā
Brussel Sprout小洋白菜xiǎo yáng bái cài
Carrot胡萝卜hú luó bo
Celery芹菜qín cài
Cucumber黄瓜huáng guā
Green Bell Pepper青椒qīng jiāo
Green Onion(洋)葱(yáng) cōng
Lettuce生菜shēng cài
Potato土豆tǔ dòu
Mushroom蘑菇mó gū
Peas豌豆wān dòu
Spinach菠菜bō cài
Sweetcorn甜玉米tián yù mǐ
Sweet Potato甘薯gān shǔ
Tomato番茄fān qié

And what about some of the most important fruits in Chinese.

Fruit in EnglishHanziPinyin
Apple苹果píng guǒ
Apricotxìng
Avocado 牛油果niú yóu guǒ
Banana 香蕉xiāng jiāo
Blackberry黑莓hēi méi
Blackcurrant黑树莓hēi shù méi
Blueberry 蓝莓lán méi
Cherry 樱桃yīng táo
Coconut 椰子yē zi
Cranberry 蔓越莓màn yuè méi
Datezǎo
Dragonfruit火龙果huǒ lóng guǒ
Durian榴莲liú lián
Goji Berry枸杞gǒu qǐ
Grape葡萄pú táo
Grapefruit柚子yòu zi
Guava番石榴fān shí liu
Jackfruit菠萝蜜bō luó mì
Jujubezǎo
Kiwifruit猕猴桃mí hóu táo
Kumquat金橘jīn jú
Lemon柠檬níng méng
Lime酸橙suān chéng
Loquat枇杷pí pá
Longan龙眼lóng yǎn
Lychee荔枝lì zhī
Mango芒果máng guǒ
Mangosteen山竹shān zhú
Melonguā
Cantaloupe哈密瓜hā mì guā
Watermelon西瓜xī guā
Mulberry桑葚sāng shèn
Nectarine油桃yóu táo
Orangechéng
Tangerine柑橘gān jú
Papaya番木瓜gān mù guā
Passion fruit 百香果bǎi xiāng guǒ
Peach桃子táo zi
Pear
Persimmon柿子shì zi
Plantain芭蕉bā jiāo
Plum李子lǐ zǐ
Prune西梅xī méi
Pineapple菠萝bō luó
Pomegranate石榴shí liu
Raspberry树莓shù méi
Rambutan红毛丹hóng máo dān
Strawberry草莓cǎo méi

If you know of any other good cooking shows that I missed please leave a comment and share it with all of us!

Until then, 加油! (and also don’t forget to 加油 to your wok, hehe I made a cooking joke) 🤩

Chinese Cooking Shows || FAQs

What’s the best cooking show to start learning cooking vocab in Mandarin?

Mandarin Corner’s Egg Fried Rice is amazing for learning all the basic cooking related vocab you could need!

I’m an advanced learner. Are there any cooking shows suitable for me?

Flavorful origins is a real challenge!

A mix of flowery narration and heavy local accents from the people being interviewed make this show perfect for learners at the advanced level.

Where can I learn more about different Chinese regional cuisines?

You can check out this post to learn more about the different cuisines in China.

Where can I learn more about cooking in Mandarin?

You can check out this post to get you started on cooking related words in Mandarin.

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