There are mainly 2 approaches when eating in an ethnic restaurant.
The first one is to order the most known dishes - no fantasy there. These are the dishes that everyone orders, the closest to the local taste, dishes that are very likely not even in a ‘most wanted’ list in the country they are from.
And then there is the Indiana Jones approach: fearless and adventurous. The type that orders dishes just because half of the ingredients listed are unknown or because it’s unclear what’s gonna be on the plate.
Obviously, since the world is a rainbow, there are a variety of customer types in between but, more or less, everyone should be inclined to fit more likely in one or the other bucket.
The vast majority of Chinese restaurants, probably because of the complexity of the cuisine and the difficulty in creating memories for a foreign palate, makes it easier for customers and builds menus for the first customer type, constructed around the local taste, where Cantonese rice is the undisputed king of the table.
If you feel instead like ‘taking a walk on the wild side’, pinching your tongue with soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger and garlic, filling your mouth with beef tongue, chicken tenders, steamed fish, sticky rice and sausage, slow cooked pulled pork and more, get yourself a friend like my friend Peter, born in Luxembourg from a Chinese family of restaurateurs. You will end up sitting at a table on Sunday lunch, surrounded by friends that are like family and a bunch of food - at least half of it not present in the menu - that you will struggle finishing eating!
Therefore, here it comes my advice to you. When you feel like eating Chinese, give a call in advance to the restaurant. Tell them you want an authentic family meal, that you are open to try anything, that you want to enjoy and discover, that you want to eat so much that you will need to unbutton your trousers at the end - ok, you may want to skip this part!
Now go and unleash your curiosity. Be adventurous. Be Indiana Jones!