Melted, Grated, Grilled… Your Essential “Cheese” Chinese

At Lingo Bus, we recommend that all visitors to China jump in and experience as much of the nation’s rich, diverse culture as possible. This includes the food. Here are five Chinese fast food restaurants that you should try while in China.

However, especially for foreigners who live in the PRC, sometimes you just want a taste of home. This includes cheese.

Traditionally, cheese was consumed by nomadic tribes in China. Only recently has it begun to be consumed by mainstream Chinese people. This is due to Western influence in China become more popular. Now that cheese has become more popular in China you can see it in Western food. It is popular among the younger Chinese people to eat Western cuisine and you will find cheese in these foods in China.

If you are a cheese connoisseur then you may have trouble finding your favorite cheeses but we encourage you to experiment with Chinese cheeses and find a new favorite. The Chinese also love pizza! So, one way to get your cheese fix would be to find and try as many pizzas as you can! There are many varieties of pizza in China but many Chinese prefer the classic cheese pizza.


Of course, another option to get your cheese fix would be a cheeseburger or other Westernized type fast-food type products that come with cheese on them. Unfortunately, you will not find cheese in Chinese cuisine but you will find it in Westernized or European type restaurants in China. A popular place to get a cheeseburger or other Western fast-food in China would be Subway, McDonalds or KFC. These Western fast food restaurants and their Chinese counterparts are a quick way to fulfill your craving for cheese while in China.

There are also other varieties of soft cheeses that you can find in China. Sometimes these softer cheeses are sweetened as a small treat similar to cheesecake. The cheesecake in China is something that you really must try if you can. It is a different texture than what you may be used to from traditional cheesecake but it is very delicious also.

Another delicious option is finding fried cheese. Yes, the Chinese also like to fry cheese! There are many types of cheese that you can find fried in China but some of the best fried cheese is from Yunnan. You must try the Chinese fried cheese! It is sprinkled with sugar and likely unlike any fried cheese you have ever had. While not too sweet, this fried cheese is very popular in China and can be found in most large cities.

Chinese people are becoming more inclined to enjoy cheese and some believe that the cheese import market will start to increase rapidly in the coming years. Most cheese that comes to China is processed and imported. The Chinese are more inclined to choose cheese brands that promote health benefits and are popular brands.

So, here it is: a post dedicated to the nutty, creamy, dairy goodness that is cheese in all its glorious varieties.

Cheese Sandwichs
From choosebettercheese

Cheese is known by a few names in China. On the mainland, you’ll mostly hear 奶酪 (nǎilào), and sometimes 乳酪 (rǔlào).

  • 奶 (nǎi) = milk
  • 乳 (rǔ) = milk
  • 酪 (lào) = curdled milk

You might also hear 干酪, but only in the context of a dry cheese (干 refers to “dry”).

In Hong Kong, cheese is also called 芝士 (zhīshì), based on the sound of the English name.

As relative newcomers to the Chinese diet (and lexicon), many varieties of cheese are named using transliterations, taken from the English sounds rather than having any particular meaning in Chinese. 莫泽雷勒 (mòzéléilè) is a good example.

We hope the language below will be helpful as you wander the dairy aisles in search of your next cheese fix:

yí kuài nǎilào


a piece of cheese

mòzéléilè nǎilào


Mozzarella cheese


nóng wèi qièdá gānlào


mature cheddar cheese


bùlǐ nǎilào


Brie (cheese)


Pà‘ěrmǎ gānlào


Parmesan cheese


ruǎn nǎilào


soft cheese (inc. cottage cheese)


mó suì de nǎilào


grated cheese


Tā bǎ yíge nǎilào sānmīngzhì fàng dào kǎojià xià hōngkǎo.


She put a cheese sandwich under the grill (to heat it).


Nǎilào rónghuàle. Tài hǎo chīle!

奶酪融化了. 太好吃了!

The cheese melted. So tasty!


Gānlào tōngxīnfěn bùdīng


macaroni cheese


Zhīshì dàngāo/ nǎilàodàngāo

芝士蛋糕/ 奶酪蛋糕

Cheese cake




goat’s cheese

goat’s cheese
From Pillsbury

Cheese Tip! If you are curious to try cheese local to China, the goat’s cheese of Yunnan is delicious. You can find great Yunnan fried goat’s cheese at Southern Barbarian in Shanghai and Beijing too.

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