Summer is definitely here, but you don't need to wait for your face to melt off to get stuck into cold food. Every regional Chinese cuisine has its own versions of cold side dishes and raw salads, simply referred to as liangcai (凉菜). The simplicity of liangcai makes them a great complement to the more complex flavours and textures of other dishes in a meal. Their adaptability and ubiquity also make ordering liangcai blissfully easy, no matter what your price range.
Many of these dishes are so common they go by a few different nicknames. We have used the most rudimentary iteration, so you can use these names and everyone will know what you’re looking for, even if they call it something else.