After 5 years of cooking, testing soy sauce ratios, re-seasoning, adjusting beef cooking times and cuts, arguing over chopstick placement, and figuring out that under no circumstances can we ever post a sesame ball recipe (let’s just say that everyone should leave that one to the professionals), we’re taking a formal look back at 2018 to see what the most popular recipes, roundups, and how-to’s were!
We’ve always tracked what you guys enjoy reading about vs. enjoy cooking, and enjoy looking at vs. commenting on, but this is the first year that we’ve pulled together a comprehensive list! The numbers are in, and there are a few clear takeaways.
What Makes a Recipe a Favorite?
- Easy is the name of the game! More easy 10-minute stir-fries, more Instant Pot recipes (but we knew that of course), and fast noodle dishes.
- The well known Chinese classics are still winners––chow mein, pork ribs, the works!
- But everyone’s more health conscious too––we were surprised to see some of our vegetable and soup recipes topping the list!
- Cantonese favorites were an overwhelming win––quite a boon for my dad. Clearly, we have a lot more Cantonese readers out there than we thought!
That said, we couldn’t help but engage in a little friendly competition to see WHOSE RECIPES REIGN SUPREME! (I couldn’t help myself, it was there for the taking). So let’s see how things played out…
ALLEZ CUISINE! (Okay that’s my last reference, I swear.)
The most popular recipes of 2018
25. Red Curry Noodles with Chicken – Sarah
No surprises here. You guys love noodles, and a little dollop of canned red curry goes a long way toward making something delicious quick.
24. Vegetarian Singapore Noodles – Bill
This one was a surprise, given how much love we have personally for our classic Singapore Noodles (Singapore Mei Fun), but this veggie heavy dish was a favorite.
23. DongBei Guo Bao Rou (Crispy Sweet and Sour Pork) – Judy
The words Sweet and Sour turn up more than once on this list, and it’s no coincidence given how much people love the combination of sticky sweet fried meat. If you like this, try our Cantonese Salt and Pepper Pork Chops and Fried Shanghai Pork Chops!
22. Char Kway Teow Malaysian Rice Noodle Stir Fry – Bill
My dad is proud of this one as he took pains to make sure this Char Kway Teow was as authentic as could be, and it paid off! If you like these noodles, try our Shrimp Pad Thai for similar flavors and noodles.
21. Dry Fried Sichuan Beef – Judy
This was pretty unexpected, as sometimes we toss stir fries out there, and there’s not much response, but you guys really enjoyed this Dry Fried Sichuan Beef. Get on the bandwagon of Sichuan food lovers, and cook this along with our Dry Fried Sichuan String Beans (Gan Bian Si Ji Dou)!
20. Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Chicken – Sarah
This take on a classic cold Vietnamese rice noodle dish was a clear favorite this summer. You can also try our version that uses seared pork chops!
19. Thai Chili Sauce Chicken Stir Fry – Sarah
Another classic easy stir fry from Sarah. This one relies on a jarred Thai chili sauce to do all the heavy lifting for a quick and easy meal!
18. Chinese Rib Tips: Fall-Apart Tender Takeout-Style – Bill
This was one of my personal favorites this year. It was SO GOOD. I mean, when we’re all climbing over each other when the photographs wrap to get a bite, you know it’s excellent. Dad did good. Make this with Classic Pork Fried Rice or Vegetable Fried Rice!
17. Bang Bang Chicken: the Authentic Sichuan Version – Judy
We’re pretty surprised by how excited people were by this dish, but there’s a chance that folks were looking for the Chinese American version, and not this authentic Sichuan version…Sorry to anyone who ended up disappointed, but take it from us, this one’s much better. ;)
16. Vegetable Chow Mein Noodles: Hong Kong Cantonese Style – Bill
Another testament to the veggie lovers, vegetarians, and vegans out there! Packed with veggies and light flavors, this noodle dish is a great lunch or light side.
15. Chrysanthemum Tea Benefits – Kaitlin
I’m pleasantly surprised that this post made our top 25! We love chrysanthemum tea, and you all perked up when we started talking about its anti-inflammatory benefits. Check it out again, as we could all use a reminder of when to slow down, have a cup of tea, and take better care of our health.
14. Instant Pot Soy Sauce Chicken Bowls – Kaitlin
Aaaand our first Instant Pot recipe! Relatively high in the ranks, and it’s no surprise given how many requests we get for Instant Pot recipes. This one is a favorite in the family that we’ve actually started making regularly. We recently made it with chicken and big hunks of pork belly. Tastyyy.
13. Sha Cha Beef Stir Fry – Sarah
It’s clear from reading this post that Sarah’s the queen of making the most out of ready to go sauces like sha cha sauce. Sha cha is used most often as a base for hot pot dipping sauce, but it really shines as a shortcut for this excellent beef stir fry.
12. Yam Leaves, Stir Fried Sweet Potato Leaves – Judy
My mom was very happy to hear that you all love yam leaves as much as my mom does. If I had a dollar for every time my mom told someone how great yam leaves are this year…
11. Beef Vegetable Stir-Fry – Bill
This stir-fry isn’t anything particularly elaborate, but it’s just a really simple and delicious stir-fry and one pot meal. Jam-packed with veggies, you can use the mix of bok choy, mushrooms, and green beans that we used, or anything else you have in your fridge!
10. Sha Cha Chicken: A 10-minute Stir-Fry – Sarah
ANOTHER SHA CHA WONDER! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
9. Teriyaki Tofu Rice Bowl – Sarah
Classics never go out of style, and you guys loved this Teriyaki Tofu Rice Bowl. If you’d rather get a bit of extra protein, check out our Mall Chicken Teriyaki and Sarku copycat recipe and our Salmon Teriyaki Bowls that take just 30 minutes!
8. Chinese Watercress Soup with Pork Ribs (Sai Yeung Choy Tong) – Bill
Quiiiiiiite the surprise and the dark horse to (almost) win this race. Clearly there are lots of Cantonese folks out there remembering bowls of mom’s soup. With the tender pork ribs and the simple, pure flavor of watercress, we’re glad this recipe got the recognition it deserved!
7. Ultimate Braised Tofu – Bill
Braised tofu is one of our favorite dishes, and my dad really delivered on this recipe with the perfect consistency, balance of veg, and sauciness for pouring over bowls of white rice. Yum.
6. Hong Kong Style Shrimp Chow Mein Noodles – Bill
When these noodles hit the blogging table, we all knew they were pretty great. You guys thought so too!
5. Steamed Crystal Dumplings, a Dim Sum Classic – Bill
There are a lot of ambitious people out there looking to whip up dim sum classics at home, and these steamed crystal dumplings provide the ultimate wow factor! Pull these off, and command eternal respect!
4. Chairman Mao’s Red Braised Pork Belly – Judy
This was one of my personal favorites from this year, and a much needed twist on my mom’s classic Shanghai-style Braised Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou). It’s a little spicy, a little stickier than the original, and perfectly cooked.
3. Lao Gan Ma Noodles & the Godmother of Godmother Sauces – Judy
We like to think that we’re playing a small role in helping Lao Gan Ma chili oils and sauces go viral beyond the Chinese community, and the popularity of this simple bowl of noodles proves just how far we’ve come since we first plugged her chili oil on the blog five years ago!
2. Chinese Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet Stir Fry – Bill
This was an unexpected #2! Sweet and sour was the one element that we could have predicted, but the fish was a wildcard! But lightly fried fish is perfectly tender and tossed in a not-too-sweet sweet and sour sauce. Sometimes, you don’t mess with the fundamentals.
1. Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup: in an Instant Pot or on the stove – Kaitlin
…#1!!! This recipe for Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup was a revelation. It was our *first* venture with the Instant Pot and it couldn’t have gone better. This recipe has been reposted, shared, commented on, and made many times over, and we couldn’t be happier how much people have been enjoying it. Glorious noodles, plenty of herbage, and that wonderful fistful of preserved mustard greens…Mmmmm.
If you love this recipe, check out some of our other epic beef noodle soups: Bo Kho, my mom’s Braised Beef Noodle Soup, and Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup.
And the final tally? I’m glad to report that all family members were represented in this list of top recipe posts, but here are the totals:
- Bill – 10 – The clear winner–he’ll always be reminding us on blogging days…
- Sarah – 6 – Solid performance, but then again, no one would expect otherwise!
- Judy – 6 – My mom was the favorite to win, and while her contributions were clear, it wasn’t enough to move up in the ranking…
- Kaitlin – 3 – Okay, so maybe I have to up my game a little, but I got that coveted #1 recipe spot, and by a wide margin I might add…!
Plus, your favorite recipe roundups
1. Traditional Chinese Soups to Warm Your Soul
This was the biggest surprise of all! But I guess it shouldn’t be as Winter 2018 was pretty brutal for anyone in cold areas, and, on top of that, lots of people out there are just looking to re-create a big pot of the comforting Chinese soups that they grew up with.
Another unexpected leader on the roundup front was this collection of our favorite Korean recipes! So all my Kpop listening paid off after all…
3. Our Top 19 Traditional Chinese Vegan Dishes
This was a more expected winner on the list, as we know that everyone is always looking for more vegan recipes. Fear not vegans and carnivores alike, we’re always trying to make sure to have solid representation on both fronts!
And your favorite how-to posts
1. How to Grind Meat without a Grinder in Minutes
My mom gets a big I-told-you-so on this one, as this was in the top 10 all-time posts of 2018. We’ll be looking to post more helpful how-to kitchen content and cooking and ingredient tips in the year ahead!
2. What is the Best Wok to Buy?
And of course, who could forget our big wok roundup. This one was a long time coming, and it’s clear that everyone needed the intel!
3. How to Season a Wok and Daily Wok Care
Not surprising given the #2 how-to post. So there are no excuses now––everyone’s woks should be in excellent working condition for the new year!