(Kabob or Meat on a Stick)

Probably, my favorite of the common street foods is something similar to a kabob called a chuan. The N is pronounced like an R, so it sounds more like chwar. It’s very common to see the street vendors selling chuan, or meat on a stick. It’s cooked over hot coals in a rectangular trough that sits about waist high.

A grill used to cook chuan by a street food vendor in China.

A grill used to cook chuan by a street food vendor in China.

You can find many options for your chaun, such as pork and chicken, but, by far, my favorite is mutton or yang rou! I have been told that the people from Inner Mongolia and Mongolia made the mutton popular, and I am thankful to them for that. I don’t know what spices are used, but they are wonderful! If you don’t like spicy, stay away from this dish, because it has a little kick to it.

Chuan or meat on a stick in China

Chuan or meat on a stick in China

How to Eat Chuan

Don’t worry; there is no etiquette for eating chuan. If you want, hold the stick with your hands, bite a piece of meat, and then pull the stick away from your mouth, then that’s fine. No knives, forks, or chopsticks required — you’re on the street!


To learn more, check out my book, Lessons from China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education.


Lessons from China Book Launch

Lesson from China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education is now available as an e-book for Kindle, Nook, and any device that accepts the e-pub format!

The book can be purchased on, (to donate a portion of the sale to Global Partners in Life),, and in Barnes and Noble stores and a variety of other bookstores and online booksellers.

Note: If you don’t see the book on the shelf at your local bookstore, just ask the sales clerk to order it for you. The booksellers are eager to accommodate you, whenever possible. Independent bookstores can order the book through Bookmasters.

More great news is still to come, so stay tuned.