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Chinese Goulash


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Carine Rinaldi



Welcome to the delectable world of Chinese goulash. This fusion dish combines the best of Chinese and Hungarian cuisine to create a mouthwatering culinary experience. The flavors of tender meat, aromatic spices, and rich broth come together in a hearty and satisfying dish that will tantalize your taste buds.


Chinese goulash is a perfect example of the global influence on food. Originating from the traditional Hungarian dish, goulash, it has been adapted and infused with Chinese ingredients and cooking techniques to create a unique and flavorful dish. This culinary fusion has become increasingly popular among food enthusiasts and travelers seeking a taste of the exotic.


The history of Chinese goulash can be traced back to the Chinese diaspora in Hungary. As Chinese immigrants settled in Hungary, they brought with them their culinary traditions and flavors. Over time, these flavors melded with local ingredients and cooking methods to create the distinct dish known as Chinese goulash.


Chinese goulash incorporates a wide range of ingredients that are commonly found in both Chinese and Hungarian cuisine. The dish typically features tender chunks of meat, such as beef or pork, cooked in a flavorful broth infused with spices and herbs. The addition of vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and bell peppers adds a delightful mix of textures and flavors.


Whether you’re a fan of Chinese cuisine, Hungarian food, or simply a lover of comforting and hearty dishes, Chinese goulash will surely surpass your expectations. Its aromatic blend of herbs and spices, combined with succulent meat and vegetables, creates a harmonious flavor profile that is both familiar yet pleasantly surprising.


In this comprehensive guide, we will take a closer look at the history, ingredients, traditional recipes, regional variations, popular restaurants, and tips to make Chinese goulash at home. So, get ready to embark on a culinary journey filled with flavors, aromas, and the enchanting fusion of Chinese and Hungarian cuisines.


History of Chinese Goulash

The story of Chinese goulash can be traced back to the fusion of Chinese and Hungarian cuisines that took place as a result of the Chinese diaspora in Hungary. In the late 19th century, a significant number of Chinese immigrants settled in Hungary, bringing along their culinary traditions and ingredients.


These Chinese immigrants began adapting their recipes to incorporate locally available ingredients and cooking techniques, resulting in the birth of Chinese goulash. The dish borrowed its name and some elements from the traditional Hungarian goulash, but with a distinct Chinese twist.


Chinese goulash retained the concept of slow-cooked, flavorful chunks of meat, which is a hallmark of traditional goulash. However, it introduced a range of Chinese ingredients and seasonings to infuse the dish with new flavors and aromatics.


As the Chinese diaspora in Hungary grew, Chinese goulash became a popular dish among both the Chinese community and the local Hungarian population. It became a symbol of cultural fusion and acceptance, showcasing the diversity and intermingling of culinary traditions.


Over time, Chinese goulash has evolved and adapted, incorporating new ingredients and techniques. It has become known as a fusion dish that marries the flavors of Chinese and Hungarian cuisine, delighting the palates of locals and visitors alike.


In recent years, with the rise of food tourism and the popularity of fusion cuisine, Chinese goulash has gained attention beyond Hungary. It has become a sought-after dish in food markets, restaurants, and food festivals around the world, showcasing the intriguing flavors that result from the union of two distinct culinary cultures.


Today, Chinese goulash stands as a testament to the power of food to bring people together and celebrate diversity. It is a delightful representation of the cultural exchange that occurs through migration and the blending of traditions.


Next, we will dive into the ingredients that make Chinese goulash a flavorful and satisfying dish.


Ingredients used in Chinese Goulash

Chinese goulash brings together a harmonious blend of ingredients from both Chinese and Hungarian cuisine, resulting in a unique and flavorful dish. Here are the key ingredients commonly used in Chinese goulash:

  1. Meat: The traditional choice of meat for Chinese goulash is beef, typically cuts like chuck roast or stewing beef. However, pork can also be used as a delicious alternative.
  2. Onions: Onions are a staple in Chinese goulash, adding a savory and slightly sweet undertone to the dish. They are typically sliced or diced for the recipe.
  3. Garlic: Garlic adds aromatic flavor to the goulash. It is often minced or finely chopped before being added to the dish.
  4. Potatoes: Potatoes are a key ingredient in Chinese goulash, providing a hearty and comforting element to the dish. They are typically cut into chunks or cubes, allowing them to cook and absorb the flavors of the broth.
  5. Carrots: Carrots add a touch of sweetness and vibrant color to the goulash. They are usually sliced or diced, adding a pleasant texture to the dish.
  6. Bell Peppers: Bell peppers bring a subtle crunch and a burst of freshness to the goulash. They are commonly diced or cut into strips.
  7. Tomato Paste: Tomato paste is a key ingredient that adds depth and richness to the goulash. It helps create a flavorful base for the broth.
  8. Spices and Seasonings: Chinese goulash incorporates a variety of spices and seasonings to enhance its flavor profile. Common spices used include paprika, cumin, bay leaf, thyme, and black pepper. Soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar may also be included for additional depth of flavor.
  9. Broth: Chinese goulash typically uses beef or vegetable broth as the base for the dish. It provides a rich and savory foundation for the flavors to meld together.

These ingredients come together to create a tantalizing harmony of flavors and textures in Chinese goulash. The next section will explore the traditional recipe for preparing this fusion dish.


Traditional Chinese Goulash Recipe

Creating traditional Chinese goulash requires a slow and patient cooking process to develop the rich, complex flavors that make this dish so irresistible. Here is a step-by-step guide to preparing a classic Chinese goulash:

  1. Ingredients: Gather all the necessary ingredients – beef (or pork), onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, tomato paste, spices, and broth.
  2. Prepare the meat: Trim excess fat from the beef (or pork) and cut it into bite-sized chunks. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Sear the meat: Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add the meat and sear it on all sides until browned. Remove the meat and set it aside.
  4. Sauté vegetables: In the same pot, add the onions and garlic, and sauté until fragrant and softened. Add the potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers. Cook for a few minutes to allow the vegetables to slightly soften.
  5. Add tomato paste and spices: Stir in the tomato paste, paprika, cumin, bay leaf, thyme, and any other desired spices. Cook for a minute or two to toast the spices and coat the vegetables.
  6. Return the meat: Add the seared meat back into the pot and mix well with the vegetables. Ensure each piece of meat is coated with the tomato paste and spice mixture.
  7. Pour in the broth: Pour enough beef or vegetable broth to cover the meat and vegetables. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  8. Cook low and slow: Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Allow the goulash to simmer gently for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the flavors have melded together.
  9. Adjust seasoning: Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, as needed. Add soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or vinegar for additional depth of flavor if desired.
  10. Serve and enjoy: Ladle the Chinese goulash into bowls and serve it hot. It pairs wonderfully with crusty bread, rice, or noodles.

This traditional Chinese goulash recipe captures the essence of the fusion dish – tender meat, flavorful vegetables, and a rich, savory broth. It’s a comforting and satisfying meal that epitomizes the cultural blend of Chinese and Hungarian cuisine.


Next, we will explore the exciting variations of Chinese goulash that have emerged over time.


Variations of Chinese Goulash

Chinese goulash is a versatile dish that invites culinary creativity and experimentation. As a result, a number of delicious variations of Chinese goulash have emerged. Here are a few popular ones:

  1. Spicy Sichuan Goulash: This variation adds a fiery kick to the traditional Chinese goulash by incorporating Sichuan peppercorn, dried chili peppers, and chili bean paste. The result is a mouthwatering dish that combines the rich flavors of goulash with the bold and numbing sensations characteristic of Sichuan cuisine.
  2. Cantonese-Style Goulash: Cantonese cuisine emphasizes freshness and subtle flavors. In this variation, the goulash is lighter, with a delicate broth and a selection of Cantonese herbs and spices, such as star anise and cinnamon. It may also include additional vegetables such as bok choy or snow peas.
  3. Vegetarian or Vegan Goulash: For those looking for plant-based alternatives, vegetarian or vegan versions of Chinese goulash are a great choice. These variations typically replace the meat with ingredients like tofu, tempeh, or mushrooms, while still incorporating the classic spices and vegetables to create a hearty and flavorful dish.
  4. Seafood Goulash: A delightful twist on the traditional goulash, the seafood variation incorporates ingredients like shrimp, fish, or squid. This version infuses the dish with a delicate seafood flavor and adds a touch of freshness to the mix.
  5. Hot Pot Goulash: Inspired by the popular Chinese hot pot, this variation of goulash is prepared and served in a communal pot. Thinly sliced meat, a medley of vegetables, and a flavorful broth are placed in the pot, allowing diners to cook their own ingredients at the table. It’s a fun and interactive way to enjoy Chinese goulash.

These variations showcase the adaptability and flexibility of Chinese goulash, making it accessible to different dietary preferences and regional palates. Whether you prefer a spicy kick, a lighter broth, or a seafood twist, there’s a Chinese goulash variation to suit your taste.


As Chinese goulash continues to evolve, different regions have also put their own spin on this fusion dish. The next section will explore the regional variations of Chinese goulash.


Regional Variations of Chinese Goulash

Like many beloved dishes, Chinese goulash has evolved and adapted to reflect the diverse regional cuisines of China. Here are a few notable regional variations of Chinese goulash:

  1. Beijing-style Goulash (Dongpo Rou): This regional variation hails from Beijing and is named after the famous poet and gastronome Su Dongpo. It features succulent chunks of pork belly that are slowly braised in a savory soy-based sauce. The resulting dish is tender, flavorful, and rich in umami.
  2. Shanghai-style Goulash (Hongshao Rou): Shanghai-style goulash is known for its sweet and sticky glaze. It features pork belly, which is braised in a combination of soy sauce, sugar, and aromatic spices until it becomes meltingly tender. The dish is typically served with steamed buns or rice.
  3. Fujian-style Goulash: Originating from the coastal province of Fujian, this variation often incorporates seafood alongside meat. It typically includes ingredients like fish, shrimp, or clams, cooked in a flavorful broth with spices, garlic, and fermented soybean paste. The result is a seafood-infused goulash with a unique blend of flavors.
  4. Xinjiang-style Goulash: Reflecting the flavors of the Xinjiang region in Northwest China, this variation of goulash incorporates aromatic spices such as cumin, chili powder, and Sichuan peppercorns. It often features lamb as the meat of choice, resulting in a comforting and spicy dish that is reminiscent of the region’s rich culinary heritage.
  5. Guangdong-style Goulash (Yue-style Goulash): Guangdong-style goulash emphasizes the use of quality ingredients and delicate flavors. It typically includes high-quality cuts of meat, such as beef or pork tenderloin, simmered with a combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and other fragrant seasonings. The result is a refined and flavorsome dish.

These regional variations of Chinese goulash highlight the diversity and richness of China’s culinary landscape. Each variation brings its own unique flavors and techniques to the dish, showcasing the regional traditions and preferences across the country.


Whether you’re in Beijing, Shanghai, Fujian, Xinjiang, Guangdong, or any other region in China, you’re sure to find a goulash that reflects the local culinary heritage and satisfies your taste buds.


Next, let’s explore some popular Chinese goulash restaurants where you can indulge in this delightful fusion dish.


Popular Chinese Goulash Restaurants

When it comes to finding the best Chinese goulash, there are several standout restaurants around the world that excel in serving this delightful fusion dish. Whether you’re a local or a traveler seeking an authentic goulash experience, these popular establishments are worth a visit:

  1. Chongqing Liuyishou Hotpot (China): Known for their spicy Sichuan-style goulash, this hotpot chain in Chongqing, China, offers a fiery and flavorful experience. Their goulash features succulent meat, aromatic spices, and a deliciously numbing Sichuan peppercorn-infused broth.
  2. Karcsi Vendéglő (Hungary): Located in Budapest, Hungary, Karcsi Vendéglő is renowned for its authentic Chinese goulash. Run by a Chinese-Hungarian family, this cozy restaurant serves up a delectable combination of Hungarian tradition and Chinese influence, creating a truly unique goulash experience.
  3. Mama’s Lu Dumpling House (United States): With locations in Los Angeles and San Gabriel, California, Mama’s Lu Dumpling House is known for its delectable dumplings, but they also serve a delicious Chinese goulash. Their version combines tender meat, a fragrant broth, and a medley of vegetables, creating a satisfying and flavorful dish.
  4. Ministry of Spices (United Kingdom): Located in London, Ministry of Spices serves up a tantalizing Chinese goulash that showcases the vibrancy of flavors found in this fusion dish. The restaurant owners pride themselves on using high-quality ingredients and authentic spices to create a memorable and delicious dining experience.
  5. Lao Beijing (China): With multiple locations in Beijing, Lao Beijing is a popular restaurant known for its traditional Beijing-style goulash, also known as Dongpo Rou. This tender and flavorful dish features slow-braised pork belly immersed in a rich soy-based sauce that is sure to satisfy your cravings.

These popular Chinese goulash restaurants offer a range of interpretations and regional styles of the dish, allowing you to explore the different flavors and techniques that make Chinese goulash so enticing.


However, if you prefer to try your hand at making Chinese goulash in the comfort of your own kitchen, the next section provides some helpful tips to get you started.


Tips for Making Chinese Goulash at Home

If you’re eager to recreate the flavors of Chinese goulash in your own kitchen, these tips will help you achieve a delicious and authentic result:

  1. Choose the right meat: Opt for cuts of meat that are well-suited for slow cooking, such as beef chuck roast or pork shoulder. These cuts become tender and flavorful when braised for an extended period of time.
  2. Sear the meat: To enhance the depth of flavors, sear the meat before adding it to the pot. This step creates a rich caramelization and adds a robust taste to the goulash.
  3. Experiment with spices: Don’t be afraid to get creative with your spice blend. Beyond the traditional paprika and cumin, try adding other spices like star anise, cinnamon, or even a pinch of five-spice powder for added complexity.
  4. Slow-cook for optimum flavors: Chinese goulash is best when simmered over low heat for an extended period of time. This slow-cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, ensuring tender meat and a rich broth.
  5. Adjust the seasonings: As you cook, taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Add more salt, pepper, or other spices as needed to achieve the desired balance of flavors.
  6. Play with variations: Feel free to experiment with different ingredients and regional variations. Whether you want to add a spicy kick or incorporate seafood, adapting the goulash to your preferences can result in a truly personalized and satisfying dish.
  7. Serve with accompaniments: Consider serving Chinese goulash with steamed rice, crusty bread, or noodles to complete the meal. These accompaniments help soak up the flavorful broth and make for a more substantial dining experience.
  8. Enjoy the leftovers: Like many slow-cooked dishes, Chinese goulash develops even richer flavors when reheated. So don’t hesitate to enjoy the leftovers the next day for an equally delightful meal.

By following these tips and adding your own personal touch, you’ll be able to create a homemade Chinese goulash that rivals the flavors of your favorite restaurants.


After all the cooking, it’s time to reflect on the wonderful journey through the world of Chinese goulash.



Chinese goulash is a captivating fusion of Chinese and Hungarian cuisines that has gained popularity for its unique and flavorful combination of ingredients and cooking techniques. This delightful dish showcases the beauty of culinary fusion and the power of food to bring together diverse flavors and cultures.


With its rich history and cultural significance, Chinese goulash has evolved to offer a range of variations and regional styles. From spicy Sichuan goulash to delicate Cantonese-style goulash, each variation adds its own unique twist, allowing food enthusiasts to explore and appreciate the different flavors that this dish has to offer.


Whether you decide to visit popular Chinese goulash restaurants or embark on the adventure of preparing it at home, the key lies in choosing quality ingredients, slow-cooking, and experimenting with spices and seasonings to create a dish that suits your personal taste preferences.


Chinese goulash exemplifies the cross-cultural connections that occur through migration and the blending of culinary traditions. It is a testament to the richness and diversity of food, highlighting how flavors can transcend borders and unite people from different backgrounds.


So, whether you are a food traveler seeking new culinary experiences, a lover of comforting and hearty dishes, or someone fascinated by the fusion of cuisines, Chinese goulash is sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.


Now, armed with knowledge, tips, and a sense of adventure, it’s time to embrace the flavors of Chinese goulash and embark on your own culinary journey. Let the mingling of flavors and aromas take you on an unforgettable gastronomic exploration.