Skip to content

Eating Teochew Food in Chaozhou and Shantou, China


Guangji Bridge (广济桥)

We were in the Teochew area of China recently, with stopovers at both Shantou (汕头) (“Swatow” in Teochew) and Chaozhou (潮州) (“Teochew” in Teochew).  One of the things we learnt was that Teochew is not only a dialect but the name of the city itself. We had always thought that Swatow was the heart of Teochew territory, but it turns out that Teochew the city has the longer history and more scenic places.  We will share a few gratuitous pictures of the city before we show you the food.

Teochew Food Chaozhou16



Ancient City (潮州古城)

We ate at a number of places. Many of the restaurants served food that was not much different from typical Chinese restaurants. It was at some smaller places and on special request that we got to try the uniquely Teochew items. Here are some of them.

Orr Luak  (Oyster Omelette). The Orh Luak here is very heavy, maybe a function of the type of flour used and the large oysters. We still prefer the ones at Chui Huay Lim.

Teochew Food Chaozhou02

Ah Bo Lin or Ah Baling – the Teochew dessert here is light and refreshing. The standard of this is consistently high – both in restaurants and roadside stalls.

Teochew Food Chaozhou05

Oysters are very popular here. They are cooked in many ways, not just in Or Luak. Here the large oysters were grilled but it was the extra condiments that made them outstanding.

Teochew Food Chaozhou06

The humble cockle is also widely eaten here. Again it was the extra condiments of garlic, spring onions, sauces and other unknown ingredients that elevated the cockle to a very delicious dish.

Teochew Food Chaozhou09

Kow Luck (chestnuts). Such a quintessential home cooked Teochew dish. The braised chest nuts were very tasty. Chestnuts here are consistently of good quality and had the powdery or mealy texture (“tsung” in Teochew).

Teochew Food Chaozhou07

Crabs are also a common dish, but they are small locally caught ones. Compared to the large meaty ones from Sri Lanka which we are used to in Singapore, these Teochew crabs have very low ROE (return on effort).

Teochew Food Chaozhou08


Tua Tow (mussels) – the tua tow here are not so ‘tua’ – in fact they are small and sweet. I can eat a whole pot of this!

Teochew Food Chaozhou11

Koo Chye Kueh (chive dumplings). Here they are expertly made into very elaborate dumplings and pan-fried. The chive content in the dumplings was very generous,. They looked like they were bursting, as compared to those in Singapore which are usually skinny.  Yummy!

Teochew Food Chaozhou04

Muah Chee (sweet sticky dough and peanut crumbs). This is a very common dessert here. The quality here varies. The ones shown below were the best – light, not so sticky so it is easily eaten.

Teochew Food Chaozhou12

Chui Chia Pow (Crystal dumplings) – so translucent and beautiful!

Teochew Food Chaozhou03

Poon Kueh and Chi Kak Kueh. The poon kueh (rice filled kueh) was served in the natural colour. We believe the pinkish version we see here are made only for special occasions (they are the same except for the addition of food dye for the skin colour).

Teochew Food Chaozhou B1

Chui Kueh (rice cake with preserved vegetable toppings). We only came across this once at a road side stall. The chai poh part looks similar to what we are used to in Singapore but the rice cakes are smaller and have a depression. We must admit we did not try the chui kueh as the environment did not seem very inviting.  We still prefer the Tiong Bahru chui kueh.

Teochew Food Chaozhou14

Teochew Food Chaozhou13

It was quite an experience to try Teochew food in the heart of Chaozhou territory in China. On the whole, the food is very good. At the same time, we think the Teochew food we find here in Singapore compares quite favourably with those back in Chaozhou. One area where they have a distinct advantage is the abundance and freshness of their ingredients. We will certainly want to visit again.





The Ordinary Patrons
Singapore Food Blog by Ordinary People looking for Places to Eat

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Discover more from The Ordinary Patrons

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

12 thoughts on “Eating Teochew Food in Chaozhou and Shantou, China”

    1. I feel ya, I lived in Shenzhen for 5 years but my wife is from Shantou and the food is amazing. But the language is seriously difficult!

    1. Hi, we were there on a short stopover, so there was not much of an itinerary. The only things we remember is that Shantou (汕头) was where the airport is and looked more commercial. Chaozhou (潮州) had the more interesting old places. The two cities are about 45 minutes car ride apart. The scenic pictures you see here are mainly of the old town that can be covered in a few hours.

    1. Hi,
      Thank you for reading our blog and for your message to us.

      Unfortunately, our Chinese is not very good and we were brought around by our local hosts – so we are afraid we can’t really help you with useful information about the restaurants we had visited.


  1. Hi chanced upon your blog and it’s very informative! do you mind sharing the driver that drove you around chaozhou? I am going with a big group and am finding a good driver to drive us around 🙂
    Thank you!

Leave a comment. It will mean a great deal to us.