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Johnny20270

Do you think Chinese food is more/less healthier than your own country

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Johnny20270

Naturally it depends on what you eat, or if in a restaurant what you order etc but I am in two minds if I am eating healthier or worse than at home. But my post is to gauge where you are gereally eating better or worse than your own country.

 

Some observations on my limited experience compared to the average UK diet

- People fry far too much here. Note the absence of a oven in Chinese apartments

- I find I that I am eating a lot more vegetables here and actually kind of like them!

- Fruit: hit or miss, I think in general, UK is better noting cost.

- Dairy products, not existent, only a bad thing in my view. 

- Eggs, noticeable difference, can't find 'true' free range eggs.

- Sweets, I don't snack as much here on chocolate, biscuits etc A snack seems to be nuts, dried fruit. 

- Cakes / pastries, No where near as good as UK France etc Much more artificial here. French style patisserie are a long way from France

- Wheat products, I miss good whole meal bread. Not good. Standard supermarket bread here is awful

- Salt: hard to tell, on one hand soya sauce is abundant but in UK processed food is notoriously full of salt 

- Meat: No comparison in quality. UK better.

- Fish: I eat a lot more here, good

 

In a few weeks I have noticed my skin has improved so gotta be a good thing but energy levels dropped. Maybe due to lack of red meat. In the gym I have dropped in strength significantly. 

 

Other aspect is I never know what I eating as always in a sauce or coating with something.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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gato

- Wheat products, I miss good whole meal bread. Not good. Standard supermarket bread here is awful

Check out our earlier discussion about making one's own bread and yogurt. I've been using a 50/50 white/whole-wheat flour mix for the bread I've been making.

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/46462-finding-non-sweet-yogurt/?p=351346

 

- Sweets, I don't snack as much here on chocolate, biscuits etc A snack seems to be nuts, dried fruit.

- Cakes / pastries, No where near as good as UK France etc Much more artificial here. French style patisserie are a long way from France

There is growing consensus that people have been getting fat in the last 30 years due to too much sugar (especially since the widespread marketing of "non-fat" snacks) rather than too much fat, so you would be better off not eating any sweets and cakes.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/30/fructose-and-protein-related-to-obesity.aspx

Fructose: The Hidden Reason You Get Flabby (Not Calories or Lack of Exercise)

http://www.dietdoctor.com/the-real-cause-of-obesity

The Real Cause of Obesity

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liuzhou

- People fry far too much here. Note the absence of a oven in Chinese apartments

 

Note the absence of ovens in most of the world.

- I find I that I am eating a lot more vegetables here and actually kind of like them!

 

Good

- Fruit: hit or miss, I think in general, UK is better noting cost.

Maybe in Beijing. Not here. We have beautiful fruit at low prices

- Dairy products, not existent, only a bad thing in my view.

 

I find that hard to believe. What dairy products are you unable to find in Beijing? I'll grant that Chinese youghurt is horrible. As Gato says, make your own.

- Eggs, noticeable difference, can't find 'true' free range eggs.

I much prefer eggs here. I almost always buy from trusted vendors in the local farmers' market. Try duck eggs. Cheaper and tastier.

- Sweets, I don't snack as much here on chocolate, biscuits etc A snack seems to be nuts, dried fruit.

I don't do sweets so can't comment

- Cakes / pastries, No where near as good as UK France etc Much more artificial here. French style patisserie are a long way from France

No. China never worked out baking. The bread is cake and the cakes are lard.

 

- Wheat products, I miss good whole meal bread. Not good. Standard supermarket bread here is awful

 

See above. Although there is one bakery in town which makes excellent wholewheat bread. Otherwise I make it myself.

 

- Salt: hard to tell, on one hand soya sauce is abundant but in UK processed food is notoriously full of salt

So, no difference there

- Meat: No comparison in quality. UK better.

For beef certainly. Less sure about pork.

- Fish: I eat a lot more here, good

I generally prefer wild sea fish, which can be hard to find in China. I get sea fish but it's all farmed.

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Johnny20270

I need to realign myself out of my western habits to eat better here, although there is no chance I would be making bread. I can barely make toast :)

 

@gato: yup, well aware of that "sugar related to obesity connection" China certainly helps towards that!

 

@liuzhou: wouldn't agree with the ovens comments. Ovens are a basic a standard appliance in Europe (certainly Northern Europe) and I would have thought USA. Same with Australia I guess. Lack of sweets is positive! even though I have a craving to shove a packet of crisps into my face every now any then

 

For dairy, there is no question about it. Standard milk is no where near as good. No proper cheese, yogurts no where near the same. Sure if I look hard enough I could find it, but standard supermarkets there is no comparison.  Been to enough supermarkets now to see the 'average'. But dairy is not a big part of a Chinese diet I am told as they western world  

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liuzhou

 

@liuzhou: wouldn't agree with the ovens comments. Ovens are a basic a standard appliance in Europe (certainly Northern Europe) and I would have thought USA. Same with Australia I guess.

 

That's hardly the whole world, is it?

 

 

Sure if I look hard enough I could find it

 

That's a bit different from saying it's non-existent. I get people on my blog always every week complaining that X Y and Z are non-existent. I ignore them and sit back and enjoy the non-existent.  

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Johnny20270

yup, fair point(s) liuzhou! 

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XiaoXi

Hmm I never thought you'd say fish was better in china than the uk. What kind of fish are you buying?

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liuzhou

Who said fish is better here?

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Takeshi

I hear a lot of complains by non-Chinese about the quality of meat and stuff in China. I honestly don't know the scientifics and maybe it is more dangerous for whatever reason, but I personally prefer the meat in China way more than back home (Canada). In Canada, the only meat I like to eat is beef and lamb, the pork and especially chicken just don't taste good, but in China I like to eat pork and chicken a lot. I find the pork and especially chicken here is so much better than in Canada. I will admit I never eat lamb unless in an ethnic restaurant so I don't have much to comment on that, but I haven't noticed the beef being particularily better or worse in either place.

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Johnny20270
I find the pork and especially chicken here is so much better than in Canada.

 

 

Is that because meat here is almost always covered in some sauce, coating etc

 

As regards beef, try fry a steak in standard oil with nothing else. I notice a significance difference, same with lamb. 

Surprised you said beef is no better. I thought it was great in Canada but only been there a few times. 

 

Taste is (mostly) subjective of course. My chinese friends say western food tastes of nothing. Hard for me to comprehend that. I argue its because they don't have sensitives taste buds and have destroyed a lot of them by Chili powder. :D  They think our food is too bland and they have more variety. For example they say French cheese is all the same to them and all pretty rancid. I notice a large difference in all varieties of french cheeses but I do like cheese! 

 

Debatable. 

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grawrt

- People fry far too much here. Note the absence of a oven in Chinese apartments
The oven isn't the problem. The problem is that Chinese people are used to one style of cooking (very high temperatures and quick cooking). These require a bit more oil to make it work which is why there is so much. I wish there was a bit more variety in the cooking styles (like sauteeings, or slow and simmering meals) but then it wouldn't be Chinese food.

- I find I that I am eating a lot more vegetables here and actually kind of like them!
Same. But mostly because back home my dad cooked dinners and we mostly had meat dishes. Since I'm by myself I can eat what I want and that's mostly vegetables.

- Fruit: hit or miss, I think in general, UK is better noting cost.
I don't know... I think it depends where in China you're at. When I was in Harbin I was convinced that mangoes in China were disgusting. Then I got to Beijing and ate a very overpriced mango, I was annoyed but then after tasting it I realized that it was worth ever cent. So good, and the lady that sold them took care of them like they were her babies. I would too!

Apples however, I dislike. They're not good. And they don't sell nice sour green apples. I've bought a bunch of green apples in hopes of getting a nice tart granny smith but no luck.

- Dairy products, not existent, only a bad thing in my view.
They exist, but I agree, it's only bad. I'm not used to the milk here. I just cant drink it. The yogurt is better than the milk but I still prefer back home.

- Eggs, noticeable difference, can't find 'true' free range eggs.
Back home I never ate free range, but I like the eggs better in China. The yolks are more orange and feel fresher. I had a duck egg for the first time in Yunnan and it was really good. I literally ate a dish with just red rice and egg and it was crazy good.

- Sweets, I don't snack as much here on chocolate, biscuits etc A snack seems to be nuts, dried fruit.
For me it's not true. I always need sweets to accompany tea. I like eating the cookies from Turkey. They're cheap, tasty, and familiar to me.

- Cakes / pastries, No where near as good as UK France etc Much more artificial here. French style patisserie are a long way from France
Yepp, I agree. I've never been to france but the fake french bakeries around here are totally not french. Needless to say, they're some of the better bakeries I've ate at. Tous les jours has this walnut brioche that's really good. It's not a real brioche, it's more like cake but so good. Wedome also has nice sweets. Paris baguette I'm still on the fence about. I don't like their sweets as much as the other two but their breads are better than tous & wedome. Wedome is the cheapest of the three, but this is because tous and paris have bakeries in other countries, I don;'t think I've seen a wedome in the US.

Also there are these date cakes they sell that are really good. I like the ones that look like madelines that sell for 10 kuai/jin, I haven't been able to find these in Beijing so far. The cake slabs are not so good but not the worst.

- Wheat products, I miss good whole meal bread. Not good. Standard supermarket bread here is awful
The bread isn't so good. If I really want bread I think my favorite place to go is Paris Baguette or Wedome, I usually go for the baguettes because I like when bread has a nice crisp/slightly hard outside and a soft middle :) Very good to dip and eat food with.

- Salt: hard to tell, on one hand soya sauce is abundant but in UK processed food is notoriously full of salt
I think China is the worse offender. I'll also add sugar as well. I'm from the US, sugar & salt are major problems but I think China wins by miles.

- Meat: No comparison in quality. UK better.
I haven't really eaten meat in China so it's hard to compare. But I honestly don't really trust how meat is handled in China. I see the slabs of meat sitting around outdoors and I feel turned off.

- Fish: I eat a lot more here, good
Not me. But then I haven't eaten much of it. I like fish from the sea so much more. And I like it cooked very simply, like broiled in the oven :D

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Touchstone57

My experience with meat has been quite good in China. In the UK, you will get a lot more choice in terms of quality. So if you want very very cheap meat you can buy, but it will be truly awful and full of water, or you can pay really top dollar for good quality meat but it is as I say very expensive.

 

Other than imported products, it seems to be a one size fits all in China for meat and generally the quality has been consistent without much water content etc (unlike meat in the UK). It surprised me a little is this is China after all but perhaps the meat industry is actually regulated.

 

While many people may not trust the meat in China, quality in terms of texture and flavor is not too bad (depending on if you trust your vendor or not't). That being said, I don't know what goes on behind the scenes.

 

If you where going to eat junk food at home, then you will eat in China. There are plenty of biscuits-cakes-crisps-chips-sweets-snacks-microwavable meals-ice cream-fried pasties available for the average Chinese person to eat, not just in the major cities either (obesity is a growing problem in China).

 

Saying that, I would say the average Chinese meal compared to the average meal in the UK for example (not snacks) would contain less dairy and carbohydrates. I've still managed to lose weight while being in China! 

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ChTTay

You can find a lot of pretty good bread in Beijing. Jenny Lous and April Gourmet (the two most well known western supermarkets) both bake their own and sell it. I don't think it's that good but its' not expensive either. More mainstream would be Tous Les Jous or Paris Bagette (both actually Korean chains). Tous Les Jous especially does good sliced granery bread, a small wholewheat loaf and also soda bread. They make passable bagels and other kinds of sliced bread to. On the lower end of the scale, 'BIMBO' bread is commonly available in supermarkets. It tastes the same as it did in Spain when I tried it there. It's not bad and a lot cheaper than buying bread from the bakery.

 

As for cheese, the above mentioned Western supermarkets let you buy cheese sliced from a massive block of it so it works out not so expensive. There are a few other supermarkets that have deli counters now. In Wudaokou there is one also. Apart from that, you can find a wide variety of cheese at BHG supermarkets but its' fairly expensive. There is one good brand of Chinese milk available in skimmed, semi-skimmed and whole ... I forget the brand but it comes in large jugs only. These days I usually buy UHT milk anyway as I mostly use it in tea and porridge oats during the winter.

 

The quality of meat in China is mostly poor. However, at least in Beijing, you can find organic meat products or just meat with some sort of 'free range' advertising on it. It tends to be a lot more expensive. As quality issues gain more and more public attention, the market for better quality is growing, at least in cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Of course, most people still just want the cheapest possible price regardless of quality. Things will probably change over time.

 

I have had the opposite experience with meat where water has been added. All the chicken I buy here always gives off a lot of water. So much so I always cook it first by itself just so I can drain that water off (it doesn't go in my sauce).

 

The idea that the 'average' meal in China contains less carbohydrates is debatable. If you are talking about home cooking, then perhaps, or even eating in a nice restaurant with friends. However, most of the 'quick eat' food in China is pretty much just carbs. Especially noodle dishes. The amount of noodles I see Chinese men managing to eat still shocks me.

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hedwards

Chinese is definitely healthier than American cooking. Well, if we assume that it's not been contaminated by anything during production, but I think factoring that out would render this meaningless.

 

The amount of frying they do is definitely a plus. As far as I could tell they don't actually use as much oil when they fry as we do, so you get a bit of extra fat rather than a ton. And there's a much better balance of meat and vegetables in the areas I was visiting. In most cases you can even taste all of the ingredients, rather than have a couple extremely strong tastes overpowering everything.

 

And lastly, they still every part of the animal. One of the biggest mistakes that we made in America was when we started to think of muscle meat as the meat to eat. It's backwards, if you're only going to eat one type of meat, it should be organ meat.

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Kobo-Daishi
I wish there was a bit more variety in the cooking styles (like sauteeings, or slow and simmering meals) but then it wouldn't be Chinese food.

 

There is steaming and soups. There's a whole variety of Chinese cooking styles.

 

I've a whole collection of Chinese cookbooks from when I was a young fellow and very into Chinese cooking that has a variety of cooking methods. I recently got them out of storage since I'm back into cooking. I might take a photo of them when I've time to illustrate.

 

When I was a kid eating the Taishanese food that my parents made, it was nothing like the Chinese food found in Chinese restaurants. There were steamed pork dishes and steamed ground pork dishes. None of these dishes were found in the traditional typical Chinese restaurants found in the west. My mother never used msg or even corn starch (or arrowroot) to thicken dishes. It was in its natural state. And vegetables were the mainstay. Meat was more like a condiment.

 

I guess it's different nowadays with people in China getting richer and wanting more meat protein in their diets rather than the vegetable protein in tofu and the like.

 

Restaurants in the west, the ones catering mainly to a western clientle, would have a certain set of dishes that they'd serve. Most likely the ones that are really easy to replicate day in and day out. Chow mein (beef, chicken, pork, shrimp), fried rice (beef, chicken, pork, shrimp), chow fun (didn't have them except in Chinatown when I was a kid). Not even fun in soup similar to the Pho in Vietnamese restaurants. You'd never find 肉餅 in any American Chinese restaurants. Most restaurant soups if they served any would be egg drop soup. And corn soup. When I was a kid I didn't even know there was such a thing in Chinese cooking as corn soup.

 

Too much to write about if really got into it.

 

Kobo.

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Angelina

Personally, I think I am generally eating healthier in my country, Macedonia. Fruits and veggies don't taste that good in other parts of the world. Then yoghurt, cheese. Much cheaper than China and other places as well. 

 

Obviously, people everywhere might choose to eat unhealthy. Many people back home eat way too much barbecue. Just like hotpot, 串儿 and MSG in China. I am vegetarian and I am happy that I can find fresh tofu in China. I brought spirulina pills with me when I came back to China. It is easy to buy imported milk and cheese in China, but it is not fresh and it would be too expensive to buy it on a daily basis.

 

Carrefour sells good bread. An online store called Field's has good options, too. There is also one Korean store near where I live that sells many imported products. Then the local farmers' market for the rest. Although I cannot really source my food in China. It is easier to buy organic in Macedonia. Unfortunately, my country has been importing frozen genetically modified chicken for a while. I don't eat it, still, I cannot say than what people eat in my country is always healthier than in China. I recently discovered pickled 玉竹 and iron woks are cool if you want to fry your food. 

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Angelina

 

 

I guess it's different nowadays with people in China getting richer and wanting more meat protein in their diets rather than the vegetable protein in tofu and the like.

 

I am seeing more and more KFC, McDonnald's, Starbucks in China. ...and more and more little overweight boys. It's sad. I am glad McDonnald's has closed down in my country and we never had KFC. Domino's opened up and they have been advertising aggressively though. 

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ablindwatchmaker

As a person who gains weight quite easily, I was able to eat out during my 2 month stay almost every day, drank a lot of alcohol almost everyday, and gained about 5 pounds total. I came back to the US, drink less but don't watch what I eat, same as China, and I have gained 30 pounds in the last 3 months. I have no idea what is going on, but my guess is that it has something to do with a sudden influx of carbohydrates and living in a society in which walking is a non-existent and impractical form of transportation. I'll put it this way, I live INSIDE a major American city and the closest store of any kind is a mile away.

 

 

There is growing consensus that people have been getting fat in the last 30 years due to too much sugar (especially since the widespread marketing of "non-fat" snacks) rather than too much fat, so you would be better off not eating any sweets and cakes.

 

I'm going to bet on this.

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hedwards

Ablindwatchmaker, I had serious trouble keeping on weight when I was in China. Between the physical activity involved with walking up and down all those flights of stairs and the work involved with finding food to snack on I lost about 30# the year I was there. I felt healthy, but there was little effort made.

 

I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that as an American, I need American comfort foods and they are rather challenging to find at times when you're not in major cities.

 

Low fat is definitely a problem, most people should be eating more fat and protein. There's no credible reason to believe that fats make people fat, unless combined with ample amounts of carbs and insufficient exercise. What's more fats and proteins tend to stick to the bones for longer, so there's less temptation to eat too soon afterwards.

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imron
and more and more little overweight boys

Which has nothing to do with McDonalds and KFC and everything to do with parents and grandparents giving children far more food than they need and a cultural preference for chubby babies.

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