Many people seem to believe that the Chinese cuisine is fairly healthy. Clearly these people have never been to China. Between stir-fry, quick-fry, deep-fry, sweet and sour, sweet and spicy and pork being the default choice of meat, maintaining a healthy diet in China can turn out to be quite a challenge. In case you are trying to eat healthy, here are ten relatively common Chinese dishes that are definitely on the “good for you” side of the scale. These dishes are particularly useful for vegans, vegetarians and for people whole are trying to lose weight and/or build some muscles.
Mixed Salad – 大拌菜 – dà bàn cài
That’s right! Not everything in China ends up in a wok. Fresh vegetables can also be found from time to time. By the way, if you are in a Muslim restaurant you might want to try Xinjiang Salad (新疆拌凉菜 – xīn jiāng bàn liáng cài ) instead.
The Veggie Platter – 大丰收 – dà fēng shou
The name of this dongbei dish literally means ‘the great harvest’ and it’s the perfect solution for those of you who don’t like your vegetables sliced and diced. It’s comes with a dark salty dip.
Magic Eight Bowl – 八宝粥 – bā bāo zhōu
It’s better known as the Eight Treasures Porridge, but this dark bow of cereals and beans might hold the answer to all of your questions.
Steamed Fish – 清蒸鱼 – qīng zhēng yú
When it comes to Chinese cooking, it doesn’t get much plainer than clear-steamed fish yet somehow this dish is still full of taste. In most restaurants you may choose the type of fish, I usually go with grass carp (草鱼 – cǎo yú)
Tofu and Spring Onions – 小葱拌豆腐 – xiǎo cōng bàn dòu fu
This creamy tofu top with little green onion rings is served cold and it’s as much a treat to your eyes as it is to your tongue.
Celery and Lily Tubers – 西芹百合 – xī qín bǎi hé
Looks can be deceiving. The lily tubers may look a lot like garlic, but they feel different and have a much subtle taste, which is like nothing you have tried before.
Snow Peas Clear Fry – 清炒荷兰豆 – qīng chǎo hé lán dòu
Clear fry is basically bringing the frying to minimum because it means you use very little oil and nothing more. The clear fry family is a relatively healthy choice is China. Another very popular member of this family is made with broccoli.
Seaweed and Egg Soup – 紫菜鸡蛋汤 – zǐ cài jī dàn tāng
A clear soup that usually can be found even in the smallest of restaurants and xiaochi joints. It’s an excellent starter.
Corn and Pine Nuts – 松仁玉米 – sōng rén yù mǐ
A very bright color stir-fry dish is also made with very little oil. Adding diced carrot and green peas to this dish is quite common.
Cold Beef Slices – 酱牛肉 – jiàng niú ròu
If you are looking for a healthy yet meaty solution, this dish might be exactly what you need – lean beef slices with soy sauce and garlic, sometime on a bed of shredded cucumber.