A few years ago, the only things I'd ever order when getting Chinese takeout were orange chicken or sweet and sour chicken. It wasn't until I actually travelled to China that I tried several other Chinese foods. This gave me the confidence to actually try other Chinese takeout options when I returned home, although most were quite different from their Chinese counterparts. For those who always order the same thing, you're missing out on some of the best Chinese takeout. Use this guide to branch out and discover a whole new world of food. 

All of the following dishes are from my local Chinese Restaurant, Emperor of China. However, similar recipes can be found in Chinese restaurants across America. 

1. Chicken Sizzling Rice Soup 

Although Chinese food is known to be comfort food, many people forget that Chinese restaurants serve the ultimate comfort food: soup. Chicken sizzling rice soup is a great go-to order during the cold winter months or if you're coming down with a cold. This recipe is very similar to chicken soup so it isn't too out there if you're looking for something familiar. 

2. Happy Family

Although this dish (probably) won't fix all your familial problems, it can help solve any arguments about which meat to get. This dish includes chicken, beef, shrimp, scallops, and assorted vegetables. There's something for everyone in the family and the elements actually complement each other nicely. 

3. Crab Rangoon

Although the word crab may scare some people, this delicious appetizer contains mostly cream cheese. The crisp exterior with a creamy interior leads to an exquisite contrast of texture. While these are great with takeout, when eaten fresh they're unbeatable. If you don't want to order takeout, you can easily make your own crab rangoon. 

4. Buddha's Delight

If you're looking for a vegetarian option, Buddha's delight is truly delightful. This dish consists of several vegetables that are coated in a light white sauce. Contrary to popular belief, Chinese food doesn't always have to be unhealthy.

5. Sea & Sky

The Chinese version of surf and turf, Sea & Sky has a combination of chicken and shrimp as well as many fresh vegetables. Everything is coated in a garlic sauce, which brings the whole thing together as one dish. 

6. Peking Duck

Duck is another one of those common meats that many shy away from. Duck, while similar to chicken, is actually much more flavourful and oftentimes more tender. It's certainly worth a try for any meat eater. This is some of the best Chinese takeout you can get. 

7. Fried Squid

Although this dish may not sound or look the most appetizing, the taste is practically unbeatable. Fried squid, also known as calamari, can be found at most Mediterranean restaurants and several Chinese restaurants as well. 

8. Sweet & Sour Shrimp

For those who don't want to stray too far from their comforts, sweet and sour shrimp is a great way to enjoy the classic sweet and sour taste. The sauce paired with shrimp leads to an entirely new experience while still being reminiscent of the familiar sweet and sour chicken. 

9. Quail Shanghai

If you're feeling really adventurous, this fried quail appetizer is sure to satisfy. These game birds are often paired with exquisite spices and are one of the most unique things on the menu for us Americans. 

10. Eight Treasure Vegetables

This vegetarian meal consists of eight different types of vegetables, ensuring that you're getting a whole range of nutrients. The dish is also paired with peanuts to add an extra bit of protein. The large range of flavors and textures is any vegetarian's dream. 

Most people don't even bother looking at the menu when they order from their favorite Chinese restaurant, which makes you miss out on a variety of great dishes. No matter your health restrictions, Chinese restaurants often have a wide variety for everyone with plenty of dishes worth trying. Who knows, one of these best Chinese takeout foods may become your new go-to.