Order More Exciting Office Meals: Authentic Chinese Dishes Liven Up the Lunch Hour

Posted by on Friday, April 11th, 2014 with 3 Comments

When you’re tasked with ordering Chinese food for office meals, it can be easy to go for the classic standbys: sweet and sour chicken, egg rolls, crab wontons… but the same-old, same-old can make working lunches and meeting fare become part of the daily routine instead of a real, enjoyable break from the workday.

coworkers eating dim sum

Dim sum makes for a very lively office get-together!
Image source: Flickr user Jude Adamson

Think of it this way: if a company decides to provide office meals, whether every day or on special occasions, they have an opportunity to accomplish much more than just feeding employees. A simple lunch can communicate appreciation, boost morale, and provide a chance for socialization and relationship building — all factors that can have a lasting impact on employee engagement and job satisfaction in the office. But when the meals being served become predictable and just another part of the routine, the meaning behind the food can become muddled and the opportunity is lost.

The good news is that you don’t need to have a Google-sized food budget to create a special experience out of a meal. Instead, just make it a point to order unexpected items instead of the typical fare. And when it comes to Chinese food — one of the most popular cuisines for office meals — it’s easy to find a few unique dishes that will keep enthusiasm buzzing around the break room! Here are a few ideas to try:

Dim sum means “drink tea”, but when baskets full of dumplings and bite-sized treats appear, sipping tea will likely be the last thing on your mind. From pillowy barbecued pork buns (char siu bao) to shrimp-stuffed dumplings (ha gao), the fun of dim sum is trying a wide array of dishes — which makes it incredibly social and perfect for a lively office get-together…  just consider the picky eaters before ordering chicken feet.

dan dan mien

Dan dan mien is a delicious take on street food.
Image source: Flickr user Charles Haynes

Dan dan mian is a street noodle dish from the Sichuan province of China. The ingredients can vary, but the basic idea is a pile of fresh, warm noodles set over chile oil; from there, assortments of pickled vegetables, peanuts, peppers, scallions, and minced pork can be mixed in. Think of it as a Chinese version of ramen or pho (but please don’t say that in front of any ramen or pho enthusiasts).

soup dumpling in a spoon

Xiao long bao are a very special kind of dumpling.
Image source: Flickr user Ron Dollete

Xiao long bao are more commonly known as soup dumplings, and the name kind of says it all: a thin-skinned dumpling is full of a rich broth (usually pork) so that when you bite into it, you’re eating soup. Making soup dumplings is pretty involved (chilling the soup into a gelatin, inserting it into the dumpling skin, and then liquifying it again during the steaming process), but the result is a totally unique experience! A little harder to find than your typical dim sum dishes, but if you spot these on a menu, make sure to try them at least once.

ma po tofu

Ma po tofue is not exactly a vegetarian dish, but delicious nonetheless.
Image source: Flickr user Kelsea Groves

You’ve probably never had tofu quite like ma po tofu (also called mapo doufu). This fiery dish starts with a rich, spicy broth swirled with chile oil; then a pile of tofu is layered in, and finally that’s topped with minced pork. So while not a vegetarian-friendly dish when prepared traditionally, this dish is guaranteed to please the spicy-food lovers in the office!

Whatever Chinese dishes you choose to try, Waiter.com has a wide array of menus to ensure your office meals are convenient, delicious, and always unexpected!

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — Waiter.com is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & deliveryWaiter.com offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

3 responses to “Order More Exciting Office Meals: Authentic Chinese Dishes Liven Up the Lunch Hour”

  1. Mike says:

    What a very simple but unique thought – liven up the work day by getting away from the ‘ordinary” lunch and going a little different. I think you hit the nail on the head. It will liven up the senses, and as a result, create an atmosphere for a more productive remaining workday by igniting our senses and contributing to an atmosphere of creativity and excitement. Funny how just a little change can result in a significant change in how we approach and view the balance of our work day. As a participant of the same old usual fare for lunch, I agree – liven up the meal and you liven up the work day. It puts everyone in a good mood.

  2. Jameson says:

    I love the idea of having creative lunches for events, especially at work. Having uncommon dishes really brings about conversation and makes people more energized as they’re thinking more consciously about what their eating. In addition, it also brightens up the work day as it moves away from the traditional box lunch and sandwich options that so many people are used to.

    Nothing boosts moral in a company more than when people feel appreciated and like someone put thought into caring for their employees. Buying the same old things week in and week out encourages monotony and stagnation. This strategy really livens up the work place and shows everyone that you’re moving forward and you care!

  3. Amy says:

    I think this would be a great way to have a different experience at lunch. Not only is the food tasty, but you get to try new dishes at the same time. It’s also a great time to bond with some of your co-workers, as you all may be trying new things together. It will facilitate discussion, and hopefully, be a lot of fun.