By and large traditional Chinese food is pretty healthy. Westernized dishes may have too much salt, and the deep-fried dishes are heavy on oil. That, added to the batter coating of deep-fried foods, can be quite heavy on the calories. If you have dietary restrictions, you may want to pick and choose from the menu, but anyone in good general health could do a lot worse than eating Chinese several times a week.
That said, there are a few dishes which are good for you no matter what sort of diet you are on. Here are five:
- Kung Pao chicken is a typically spicy Sechuan stir-fry with peanuts and plenty of vegetables. It is a better choice than deep-fried dishes or ones with sweet and sour sauce which is high in sugar.
- Peking duck is a healthy and delicious entreé as the chef has carefully rendered off most of the fat leaving lean meat and crispy skin.
- Soups make an excellent low calorie appetizer, whether you choose wonton soup or the tangy hot and sour soup.
- Another healthy appetizer is steamed dumplings filled with an array of vegetables. These are particularly good with low-sodium soy sauce.
- Stir-fried tofu and vegetables with oyster, hoisin, or hot mustard sauce instead of a sweetened, sauce thickened with corn-starch. Tofu has no cholesterol and high-quality protein. Without a strong taste of its own, it is perfect as a carrier for sauces.
If you are not watching your calorie intake too seriously, order plain boiled rice as the base for your dishes. The Chinese tend to eat rice at the end of the meal to fill in any empty corners, and to soak up the sauces and juices which make Chinese dishes so delicious.