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


Johnny20270
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Absolutely! I'll gladly start the ball rolling tomorrow and hope lots of others will join in. Time for all you 中国通 (old China hands) out there to share tricks and tips to help the newcomers live better in this strange foreign land.

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>>" I'm game to try out some of your minimalist dormitory room style recipes and see how I go about sourcing ingredients in Dongbei."

 

LinZhenPu -- Please see this thread: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/53539-survivor-china-minimalist-dormitory-cooking/

 

Started off with a discussion of equipment; will begin a discussion of ingredients today.

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On 8.2.2017 at 10:25 PM, LinZhenPu said:

No, what's that? Wechat exercise?

 

Yes, if you are on WeChat, write 微信运动 and enable it, then you will exercise together with your WeChat contacts. 

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  • 1 month later...

I think in general that Chinese food dosen't contain that much protein, and often contains a lot of empty calories, however I'm not that sensitive about food, what I care about is how the food is made, how much antibiotic the meet contains and where the vegetables been farmed I usually try buy organic stuff, but that's often pretty expensive... 

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@Stefen  -- I see you're new. Welcome to the forum!

 

Where do you live in China? Do you find it easy to find antibiotic-free meat and organically-farmed vegetables? How do you go about it? Where do you look for such items? How do you ask about those things in Chinese? Perhaps you could share some vocabulary tips for the rest of us.

 

I only know 天然的 or 全天然的 and have not found those terms very helpful in the market. Vendors tend to always reply "yes" when asked if their fresh produce is organic or natural. Sometimes they even laugh. It's as though I was asking something ridiculous: "Are your tomatoes grown in outer space?"

 

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>>" I think in general that Chinese food dosen't contain that much protein, and often contains a lot of empty calories,"

 

By "empty calories" do you mean things like rice and noodles? Do you think of them as complex carbohydrates? Or are you talking about snack foods, which are notoriously unhealthy everywhere?

 

Just to be clear, I'm not arguing with you; only trying to benefit from your experience.

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Thank you! and no worries I'm not sensitive, please argue with me. ;) 
 

I do all my shopping online, my Chinese is not that great, I don't have any problems getting around but for asking about the origin of a product my Chinese is insufficient. By shopping online I can read about the products and where they are from and so on. 

I haven't gone through the rules for the forum so I'm not sure if I can post a link to where I order my food, so I'll only do if it's okay. My sister is a veterinarian in my home country and she always tell me that I have to be careful about meet, especially with pork and chicken, so that's why I try to buy antibiotic-free meat.     

 

"By "empty calories" do you mean things like rice and noodles? Do you think of them as complex carbohydrates? Or are you talking about snack foods, which are notoriously unhealthy everywhere?"

 

Yes exactly, rice, noodles, potato, a lot of oil, the type of food that makes you fell satisfied, but are not really healthy, I cannot generalize too much since the food culture is really different in different parts of China. Where I come from, (North Europe) the protein amount and a low amount of calories is often very important, the fitness trend is very strong back home, but the same thing are happening in China right now. salad restaurants, healthy restaurants and gyms, are popping up everywhere. 

 

Not sure if this helped you, just let me know if you have any more questions. :)

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"Chinese food doesn't contain much protein" 

 

This is so broad as to be meaningless. Are you talking about in a restaurant? Home cooked? Noodle dishes? Hot pot? Which part of China? How affluent are those cooking or buying it? 

 

If you're in a restaurant, it depends entirely on what you're ordering. If you go for dishes and order different meat and tofu then you're getting a lot of protein. 

 

We cook Chinese cook at home all the time and it's very well balanced between vegetables, meat and carbs. 

 

Generally how much meat a person consumes and how often is a good indicator of wealth. I have Chinese friends who are from rural villages originally and they might just eat meat once every couple of weeks. City friends will eat it everyday. 

 

Tofu is also a good source of protein. Also don't forget the growing popularity of dairy as well. Apart from the obvious ones, all foods contain some protein in them. You can get it from a wide range of sources.

 

I would say that just eating noodle dishes in China tends to lead to an imbalanced meal. They tend to be very noodle heavy and light on the vegetables. If they have any meat at all it's a few pieces. 

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ChTTay. 

 

Did I even write "Chinese food doesn't contain much protein" ?

I wrote that "in general Chinese food doesn't contain much protein" and I also wrote "I cannot generalize too much since the food culture is really different in different parts of China." Of course the intake of protein depends on your income, I have lived in Tier 3 cities and in tier 1 and of course it's a huge difference, and in Tier 1 cites a lot of dishes are "westernized" I am talking in general and cannot comment on what every restaurant is serving. And yes you are right, Tofu contains protein, however if can generalize my perception is that Chinese food contains less protein compared to what I am used to, with that said I love Chinese food, I just try stay away from antibiotics and pesticides.   

 
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Chinese food is progressivley becoming more westernized, you can see it with all the KFC's, the increase in Burger king's, Mc Donalds, Pizza Huts, and now Tacobell is opening like 1000 locations over the next few years. It's also noticeable in their children, who are noticeably more chubby/fat.

Also it's worth mentioning China is a carbohydrate heavy country. If you don't eat noodles or rice, well then you're kinda screwed on choices. All that's left is the tasty yet far too oily vegetables.

Anyways -- I'd say it's about the same health wise as american food. A lot of stuff here is processed too. But things like fish, meat, chicken, vegetables and fruit are generally fresher compared to the U.S.

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@TheWind makes some good points. Seems to me that it's more and more useful here to be able to cook at least some of one's own food at home. Clearly it's not the total solution to all the issues, such as those raised by @ChTTay and @Stefen above, but it can help some. In my opinion it's a worthwhile investment of effort and time.

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  • 5 years later...
On 11/17/2014 at 7:22 AM, Johnny20270 said:

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. 

 

I decided to reopen this old thread, because I was pondering on the same question.

 

I love Chinese food, but from a health standpoint, Chinese food I ate in restaurants cannot be considered healthy:

 

If you think about cardiovascular health:

When I was in China for 2 weeks, people did notice my face was more swollen (maybe due to excessive salt intake) and I did not feel as energetic as at home..

 

 In terms of diabets risk:

  • apart from the obvious white rice, I feel Chinese food has less sugar or simple carbs, so this should be beneficial

 

On the positive side, treats are often in the form of fresh fruits.

 

What do you guys think?

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Jan,

 

I didn't read the whole thread, but there are a lot of complications to your question.  Here are a few of them:

  • Chinese restaurant food has very little relationship to what and how Chinese people eat at home.   So generalizations about Chinese restaurant food don't really apply to Chinese food in general.
  • What you eat in Chinese restaurants outside China has little relationship to what you get in restaurants in China.  When I lived in Boston there was *one* Chinese restaurant in the greater Boston area that Chinese people from the mainland considered authentic.  Everywhere else the food was changed to meet the tastes and preferences of the locals.
  • Until the current generation, it was unsafe to eat raw vegetables or unpeeled raw fruit in China because there was little refrigeration, poor sanitation and many foods were grown in manure.   So their cuisine developed without those elements.
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On 1/20/2023 at 1:38 PM, Moshen said:

Chinese restaurant food has very little relationship to what and how Chinese people eat at home.   So generalizations about Chinese restaurant food don't really apply to Chinese food in general.

 

This is the big one as far as I'm concerned, especially if you include "fast food" in the broader category of "restaurant food." 

 

I know for sure I ate healthy in China because I bought lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. Selections were great, prices were reasonable. I bought things that were in season. I cooked and ate simply. like my native Chinese friends. Delicious yet simple meals. 

 

Back in Texas now, the closest Chinese restaurant (an "all you can eat" buffet restaurant) serves mainly fried dishes that are doused with some kind of gloopy sweet sauce. Wretched stuff. They explain that it has been "Adapted to local tastes." 

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On 1/20/2023 at 6:37 PM, Jan Finster said:

there is way too much trans fat consumption through stir frying

if I read that link correctly, it found only a small increase in trans fat through stir frying, and only when using corn oil. I don't think most Chinese cooks use corn oil.

 

As for salt: don't think it's a problem for most people. Meat and seafood: not traditionally consumed in large quantities. Cooked vegetables: I would be suprised if a quickly stir-fried vegetable provided significantly fewer nutrients than a raw one.

 

I'd guess there's an 'unhealthiness' curve that runs: traditional home-cooked -> current home-cooked -> Chinese restaurants in China -> Chinese restaurants overseas.

 

Edit: just realised Jan's comments are specifically about restaurants versus Chinese food in general, so I'm slightly off-topic with the above.

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On 1/20/2023 at 8:58 PM, abcdefg said:

I bought lots of fresh vegetables

 

Are there any Chinese dishes with raw/fresh vegetables [e.g. like a salad]? I have never seen any [I am not counting baby carrots as a treat during breaks at conferences 😉 ]

On 1/20/2023 at 9:28 PM, realmayo said:

I would be suprised if a quickly stir-fried vegetable provided significantly fewer nutrients than a raw one.

 

I am not concerned about the nutrients, but about the oil/saturated fats. Basically all stir fried vegetables are covered in a shiny coat of oil....

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