You might be trying to redeem yourself from that botched dinner party you threw (hey, chocolate chip cookie casserole was a cool idea in theory). Or perhaps you want to cook up something just a tad more exotic than macaroni and cheese. Maybe you're a Chinese food addict, but your refrigerator can't hold any more of those cute little boxes. It is for you, dear children, that we have written this SYW.

Most people think that eating a good Chinese meal can only occur by going to a restaurant, ordering from a restaurant, or moving to China. Those are nice options, but they can get rather pricey. So because we're so cheap, we'll show you how to prepare a Chinese meal that's simple to prepare, yet amazing to eat.

But before you start chopping watercress, take note: the recipes found in this SYW accommodate 4-6 servings, so if your intention is to whip up a romantic meal for your significant other (or to prepare an awesome feast for your closest 11 friends), you're on your own with the math.


We hate to break it to you, but to cook a meal, you need to buy stuff. Or steal stuff. There are three categories of necessary purchases:

Cooking instruments
Dining tools

Cooking instruments

  • Wok. Although it's not necessary, it's easiest to prepare Chinese food with a wok. A wok looks like a large pan with curved up sides. The beauty of the wok is that the sides are tall enough to hold in all the juices of your culinary creation (like a pot), yet curve out enough so that you can easily access the contents with a spatula (like a pan). Just about every Chinese dish can be made in a wok, but you can always substitute it with pots and pans if you're too cheap to shell out the money to buy one. Just don't tell anyone.

  • Rice Cooker. If this is going to be the only Chinese meal you ever cook, then don't worry about buying a rice cooker. Just consider that 1) you might want to still cook rice occassionally, even if you're not preparing a Chinese meal, and 2) since a rice cooker is basically a steaming machine, you can use it to steam any foods.

  • Other instruments that you probably already have:

    • A spatula
    • A ladle
    • A long wooden spoon for stirring
    • Various sized knives for slicing, dicing, and chopping
    • Various sized bowls and plates


Each of the recipes listed in this SYW will be preceded by a list of ingredients, most of which can be found in your local supermarket or grocery stand. Some items, however, are unique to Chinese cuisine and you'll need to visit an Asian food market (try looking one up in your phone book). If there are none located in your neighborhood, check out to find ingredients like soy sauce, sesame oil, tofu, and Oriental rice.

Dining tools

Sure, you could fake the Chinese food experience with plates and Popsicle sticks, but we suggest checking out for some authentic rice bowls, soup bowls and chopsticks. It'll be fun for you and your guests to try dining as the Chinese do. Or at least look silly trying.

And because we're so eager to please, here's a quick lesson on using chopsticks:

  1. Hold one chopstick as you would a pencil (balanced between the crook of your thumb and the tip of your middle finger). You should be able to lift your index finger without disturbing the chopstick.

  2. Line the second chopstick above the first, and have it rest against the tip of your thumb and the pad of your index finger.

  3. The chopsticks should be parallel, with the second held in a stable position above the fist.

  4. Keep the first chopstick stationery and, using your index finger, practice moving the tip of the second chopstick toward the first.

  5. Grasp small food pieces without applying too much pressure on the chopsticks.

We guarantee that you will drop at least a few morsels of chow in the beginning, but as with learning anything new, using chopsticks will get easier with practice.