Looking for suggestions on foods to avoid.
Do you have allergies? Are there some Chinese foods you have tried in the USA that you don't like? I love Chinese food so I ate well in China but avoided snake. At least I think I did!. Your question is actually a bit too vague to answer intelligently.
Unless you have allergies, don't avoid any.
Eat it no matter what it looks like, it's all good.
Not knowing where you're from, it's likely that what you think of as Chinese food is more Cantonese. China's a big place and you haven't said where you're going. Some areas have hot peppers that will rip your eyes out, but you can smell it.
One way is experiment is to work on street food, or food at the night markets - - that way you can get a better idea of what's involved as you watch it being prepared. I've spent a lot of time all over the country - - probably less than one meal in ten comes from what you'd picture as a restaurant.
If it was me, i would make a b line to the best/nearest Dim Sum place and chow down. If i was able to walk out of there, then i would look for the stuff later on.
One thing about asians, they dont waste body parts.
Dive in and try different things. If uncertain ask. I ate stuff there I'd never even have a chance to try in the states - it's an adjustment. That's why we travel ;)
i should add, but you dont say where your from so i will give you some of my 0.02.
If you do make it there, i would try what you can. Why? many of the chinese restaurants in the US americanize them or may require some prep time and many americans wont know or have any idea so they never have a chance of tasting them. going there will probably eliminate that issue and you will be able to try more dishes that i would call "off the shelf" and no 12 hour notice. Also, if you have a large party to break bread with, the more the merrier. Ordering 1 dish per person is a great way to taste many different dishes where as if youre just one or a couple, youre stuck with 1,2 or 3 dishes. Dim Sim is the exception.
good luck and happy trails.
China is a food adventure in and of itself, I would not avoid any foods. The worst case is you order something, don't like it and leave it. I once ordered a dish in central China and could not chew the meat. It turned out that what I ordered was trachea which is like trying to chew a garden hose. I've had some very tasty meals from street vendors, but bear in mind what the vendor tells you the meat is may not be what it really is. If you are into food adventures, I would steer clear of the restaurants that cater to tourists. The drawback is you more than likely will find the menus are totally in Chinese and none of the staff speaks a word of English. There is a book, "The Eater's Guide to Chinese Characters," which is more or less a food dictionary. It can help you decipher menus and you can learn a little bit about Chinese writing as well.
Almost 30 years ago, in a small village in Yunnan, I had a deep-fried something that looked interesting on the other guys plate, tasted great - and made me sick enough to head back to the City on the double. Turned out it was pig intestines, maybe fine for the locals but not my gut.
And when traveling anywhere one should always be concerned about the hygiene practices of the folks handling your food, particularly raw foods (which were uncommon in most regions of China.) Also there is a reason why many people don't eat runny eggs (potential exposure to chicken sh*t), and, again from experience, I would not recommend trying it while traveling.
Other than that I'd say go for it.
Each area of China has foods that are traditional/unique to it. I would recommend looking for those dishes, particularly when you are in a locally owned eatery. They can prepare them with more understanding (I have many funny stories of my ex ordering "Sweet & Sour Pork", or eggs for breakfast, during our trip in 1981-82), and the staff may be genuinely friendlier because you are trying it.
Also: I believe that, in most areas of China, meals end with the soup (or used to.)
Waiters 'with an attitude' (in "real" Chinese restaurants, for Chinese in other parts of the world) have changed their demeanor when I requested the soup come last. (It is my understanding that originally it was made by de-glazing the cooking 'pan' and helped the meal "stick to your ribs" a useful point. )
I remember my first trip to China in 1998 for work, and while in Shanghai, I was asked if I liked seafood. So I think of seafood being, fish, shrimp, scallops, etc and said I not and say yes (probably with a big smile). Well seafood in Shanghai really meant bottom of the Yangtze river food.... snake, snails, and other non recognizable food. And if you've ever seen the Yangtze river and all the garbage floating in it........
I was the only "white" and female and guest with our vendor, so I very well couldn't say no and risk insulting my hosts, so and I tried everything, but it was not good. Fortunately I kept everything down.