Sometimes, we have goals and achieving them means pulling the old switcheroo, and in these Chinese dramas, the female leads pretend to be men for one thing or the other.
This is easily one of the most popular romantic tropes and while it can be a little cringey, it’s still super engaging, easy to watch, and lovely in the best of ways.
1. Dr. Cutie
Shen Zhao Er survives her family’s execution and disguises herself as a male doctor to investigate their wrongful death.
As the doctor in Ji Heng’s fiancée’s household, she finds out about different twisted murders and conspiracies that test her wit and medical knowledge.
2. Oh My General
In this drama, Ye Zhao, a cross-dressing general during the Song Dynasty, is betrothed to a lazy prince.
The real battle for authority in their household begins once they start living together, and if you like a nice blend of laughs and swoons, give this one a chance.
3. My Bratty Princess
Situ Jing, disguised as Xiao Long Xia, helps refugees while Emperor Zhu Yun solves a puzzle for the empire.
Soon, unlikely friendships form as they navigate the palace intrigue, rebellion, and assassination plots.
4. My Unicorn Girl
Figure skater Sang Tian joins a men’s ice hockey program while pretending to be a boy.
Unexpectedly, she is told to share a dormitory room with her past rival, Wen Bing, and as they lead their team to success, they soon discover hidden sides to each other.
5. Cute Programmer
Lu Li disguises herself as a man to work in genius programmer Jiang Yi Cheng’s company because she has always had a crush on him.
They then agree to a contract couple arrangement and soon Jiang Yi Cheng starts falling for her.
Cute Programmer is super, super romantic and this is another amazing Chinese drama where the girl pretends to be a boy; in this case, she did it because his company wouldn’t hire women.
6. Warm Meet You
Zhao Nuan Nuan finds out that her luck changes when she stays close to Gu Yi Chen due to a touch allergy.
So, she pretends to be a man and joins his office as a cleaner, and, you guys, love soon starts blooming between them.
7. The Everlasting Love
Amu disguises herself as a man for vengeance but is protected by Chu Jing Chen.
Unaware of her love for him, they face trials, meet their hidden enemies, and start a journey of love and redemption.
8. In A Class Of Her Own
Xue Wen Xi disguises as a man to attend Yun Shang Academy.
Keeping her true gender a secret suddenly feels harder than expected, but she makes valuable friendships along the way and even finds love.
9. Arsenal Military Academy
Xie Xiang pretends to be her brother in order to join the Chinese army in a conflict against Imperial Japanese forces.
This historical drama is set in the 20th century, and if you’re in the mood for a captivating story of friendship, love, and military strategy, you’re going to enjoy it!
10. The Rise of Phoenixes
Feng Zhi Wei, the female lead in this historical Chinese drama who’s pretending to be a man, is trying to become the supreme scholar while helping the 6th prince.
And while the princes go at each other because of political powers, love blossoms and this drama delivers on everything from the mystery to the revenge to the enduring love.
What’s your favourite romantic Chinese drama trope? I’ll tell you for free that my least favourite is the amnesia trope (because it never ends well), but the girl pretends to be boy in Chinese dramas is one I’ve always found endearing.
Don’t forget to check out the related posts below for even more stunning drama recommendations!