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Traditional Chinese Foods You've Got to Try
Chinese cuisine is more than just the sweetened Americanized offerings you've likely grown accustomed to. It's a cuisine that is robust with flavors from savory and spicy to sweet and mellow. When you order Chinese next, break out of the boring rut and instead of getting something that's been made up to please our palates, order some truly traditional Chinese dishes instead, like these!
Ma Po Tofu
This dish originates from the Sichuan province, known for its spicy take on food. Tofu meets crumbles of pork in a flowing lava of chili oil and broth. The result is a dish that packs some incredible taste and heat.
Xiao Long Bao
You've probably had dumplings at your local Chinese restaurant, but Xiao Long Bao are a special kind of dumpling known as a soup dumpling. Originating from Shanghai, these dumplings are meant to be eaten on your spoon so that when you bite into them, the soup within them pours out onto your awaiting spoon.
Whole Steamed Sea Bass
At a big Chinese meal, tons of dishes adorn the table. They will keep coming too, but once you spot the whole steamed fish, you'll know the meal will be ending soon. Westerners aren't so keen on seeing the fish head, but the best meat of the fish really is tucked into the cheeks of the fish. It's steamed with ginger and soy sauce. It sounds so simple, and it is, but this simplicity makes for an amazing Chinese dish you simply have to have.
Healthy Chinese Food: What to Order and What to Skip
Because it incorporates lots of vegetables in every dish, Chinese food is often perceived as healthy. But that's not exactly true, or false for that matter. If you want to make healthy choices when eating at a Chinese restaurant, here's what you should and shouldn't order.
Order: Shrimp with Lobster Sauce
It's full of shrimp and vegetables and the calorie count is low for the portion, making it something that tastes great and fills you up.
Skip it: Szechuan Shrimp
This is a deceptive dish, and while it is delicious and full of vegetables, it is cooked with lots of oil. Lots of oil means lots of calories which means lots of no, no, no for your waistline.
Order: Wonton Soup
The light broth and dumplings are filling and satisfying. It's a great way to start off your meal at a Chinese restaurant.
Skip it: Dumplings
Dumplings, especially the pan-fried variety, contain a lot of calories for a small portion. You can save some calories by having them steamed or choosing a vegetable-only filling though.
Order: Buddha's Delight
If you want something healthy that will fill you up, try this dish filled with vegetables and tofu. It only has about 200 calories which means you don't need to feel guilty if you eat the whole thing.
Skip it: Vegetable Lo Mein
While it seems like a healthy choice with all the vegetables, the pile of noodles that accompany it is going to totally sabotage your efforts at the gym. With all the sauce and noodles, you're looking at a good 900 calories if you eat this dish.