Chinese Cuisine to Choose

Sometimes you'll feel like ordering Chinese after a long day, and you should, because your fabulous self deserves it. However, it's key to know the ingredients and cooking method of what you're ordering.

Use nutrition expert Hope Warshaw's Eat Out, Eat Right: The Guide to Healthier Restaurant Eating when you're calling in an order from your favorite Chinese takeout spot. Trade the crab rangoon for steamed dumplings and you're golden!

Green Flag Words
The asterisks (*) denote foods that are high in sodium.


  • bean curd (tofu) (get it sautéed, but not fried)
  • assorted vegetables, such as broccoli, mushrooms, onions, carrots, cabbage, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, lily buds, wood ears, and bean sprouts
  • fish, shrimp, scallops, squid
  • chicken, roast pork
  • pineapple
  • tomatoes
  • soy sauce,* hoisin sauce, plum sauce*
  • Chinese hot mustard
  • hot oil
  • chili sauce
  • sweet (duck) sauce
  • broth (for both-based soups)
  • Chinese spices
  • ginger
  • garlic

Cooking Methods/Menu Descriptions/Names

  • brown sauce*
  • oyster sauce, black bean sauce*
  • light wine sauce
  • lobster sauce
  • simmered or braised
  • steamed
  • stir-fried with vegetables
  • hot and spicy tomato sauce
  • served on sizzling platter
  • slippery white sauce or velvet sauce
  • moo shi (or moo shu)
  • chow mein
  • chop suey

Red Flag Words


  • duck
  • cashews or peanuts
  • pieces of egg
  • water chestnut flour
  • bits of pork or egg
  • Chinese noodles

Cooking Methods/Menu Descriptions/Names

  • fried or deep-fried
  • battered or breaded and fried
  • deep-fried until crispy
  • crispy
  • served in bird’s nest
  • sweet-and-sour
  • spare ribs
  • orange peel, orange, or lemon chicken or beef (usually deep fried)
  • whole fish (usually fried)
  • Kung Pao

At the Table

  • Chinese noodles

Excerpted from Eat Out, Eat Right by Hope S. Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE. Copyright © 2008 by Hope S. Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE. Excerpted by permission of Surrey Books, a division of Agate Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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