Many Chinese restaurants have adjusted their menus to become more Westernized. This means that many dishes are breaded and fried or are served in a sugary sauce.
With a few modifications and special requests, you can eat low-carb foods at most Chinese restaurants and takeouts by ordering unbreaded meat and vegetables without any sauce. You will also need to hold the rice and egg rolls that come with most dishes.
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The lowest carb dishes would be the BBQ and roasted meat, such as pork, chicken and duck. Another great choice would be steamed or boiled chicken, such as Hainanese chicken.
Here are the top keto-friendly dishes you can order at Chinese restaurants and how to modify them to make them low-carb.
Roasted Duck or Peking Duck
This is a very popular and delicious dish that any Chinese restaurant should have. It’s an aromatic roast duck with thin and crisp skin.
What to order: Ask for a quarter or a half of a duck and serve with steamed green vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy, choy sum, Chinese cabbage or cauliflower.
Crispy Roasted Pork Belly
Another famous and tasty dish that you can find in any Chinese and Asian takeaways. This dish is like bacon, but fresher and tastier.
Basically the pork belly is marinated with spices and roasted until the skin becomes so crispy and crunchy. It’s like eating pork rinds and bacon at the same time. Because it’s a pork belly cut of meat, it has a good amount of fat for keto dieters.
What to order: A serving of crispy pork belly with sliced cucumber or vegetables stir-fry. Ask the chef NOT to put cornstarch to thicken the sauce or add sugar in your stir-fry sauce.
Steamed Chicken and Broccoli
Many traditional Chinese restaurants offer a diet menu or at least a few healthier options. This makes it easier to ask for customized low-carb dishes compared to chain restaurants such as Panda Express.
You can request a steamed meat dish with broccoli minus the sauce. You may be able to choose from steamed chicken, shrimp, pork, or beef.
A serving of steamed chicken and broccoli contains around 3 grams of carbs.
What to order: steamed chicken and broccoli without any sauce. Hold the rice.
Pork Chop Suey
Chop suey is a stir-fry dish that contains meat and vegetables, such as bean sprouts, onion, celery, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and water chestnut. It’s served with a thick sauce over rice.
You can order chop suey with pork (or chicken, shrimp, or beef) and ask to hold the rice and sauce. Also, make sure the meat that comes with the dish is not breaded.
What to order: pork chop suey without the sauce and rice.
Hunan or Szechuan Chicken
Hunan and Szechaun chicken are dishes that come with chicken and vegetables, such as mushrooms, bell peppers, water chestnuts, baby corn, broccoli, and carrots.
They are tossed in soy sauce or oyster sauce and served with rice. You could ask for either of these dishes without the sauce and rice.
What to order: Hunan or Szechuan chicken without the sauce and rice.
Moo Goo Gai Pan
This stir-fry dish consists of chicken and vegetables, such as bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, snow peas, and mushrooms. You can get it without the sauce and rice to keep it low-carb.
If offered as part of a dinner or lunch special, you may be given the choice of en egg roll or soup. Go with a clear-based sauce, such as egg drop, wonton, or hot and sour.
What to order: Moo Goo Gai Pan without the sauce. Ask for no rice and go with egg drop or wonton soup if your meal comes with it.
Pork Egg Foo Young
Egg Foo Young is an egg-based dish similar to an omelette. It is made with meat and vegetables and served in a thick gravy sauce.
Most restaurants offer pork, chicken, shrimp or Vegetable Egg Foo Young. We recommend going with the pork as it contains more fat. Hold the sauce and rice.
What to order: the pork (or chicken or shrimp) Egg Foo Young with no sauce. Hold the rice.
Almond chicken contains marinated chunks of chicken meat (usually in soy sauce), vegetables, and roasted almonds.
Some restaurants may also serve a similar dish that features cashews instead of almonds. This is a healthy, low-carb dish to order if you make sure the meat is not breaded.
You will also need to hold the egg roll, rice, and any sauce that comes with the meal.
What to order: almond or cashew chicken (as long as it’s not breaded) without any sauce or rice. Go with egg drop soup if it’s offered with your meal.
Moo Shu Beef
Moo Shu is a vegetable and meat stir-fry that is tossed with hoisin sauce. It is served with thinly rolled pancakes similar to tortillas instead of rice. Some restaurants may also offer this dish with lettuce wraps.
You can order this without the pancakes or sauce to keep it low-carb. Choose from chicken, shrimp, beef, or pork as your meat options.
What to order: Moo Shu beef without the pancakes and sauce. Also hold any rice or egg rolls that come with the dish. Opt for wonton or egg drop soup instead.
Chicken With Ginger Garlic Sauce
It’s always best to avoid sauces at any restaurant because they usually contain added sugars.
However, sauces that are prepared with fresh ginger and garlic will offer some anti-inflammatory benefits that can be enjoyed in moderation.
The chicken with ginger garlic sauce is served with meat, vegetables and rice. Ask for your sauce on the side if you want to enjoy a small amount of it.
You will also need to hold the rice and make sure your meat is boiled or grilled instead of breaded and fried.
What to order: chicken with ginger garlic sauce with the sauce on the side. Hold the rice and egg rolls.
Kung Pao Chicken
This dish contains chunks of dry-rubbed chicken, vegetables, chili peppers, and peanuts. It’s often served with rice.
This is a good option for your low-carb diet if you like spice! Ask to hold any sauce that comes on the dish.
What to order: Kung Pao chicken without any sauce or rice. Go with egg drop or wonton soup instead of an egg roll if offered with your meal.
This dish includes various kinds of meats and seafood, such as beef, chicken, shrimp, scallops, and pork, along with mixed vegetables in a brown sauce, served with rice.
You can keep it low-carb by asking to hold the sauce that comes on the dish. Also, avoid the rice and egg rolls.
What to order: Happy family without the rice and brown sauce. Hold the rice and egg rolls and go with wonton or egg drop soup.
You can eat low-carb at most Chinese restaurants by sticking with a meat and vegetable dish without the sauce, which usually contains hidden sugars. It’s actually easier than eating out at fast food places because you can ask the chef to customize your order.
You will want to hold the rice and egg rolls that come with most dishes. Instead, go with a clear-based soup, such as wonton, egg drop, or hot and sour.
Before ordering, it’s a good idea to make sure your meat isn’t breaded. Most restaurants offer steamed chicken and broccoli, which should be your first choice when eating out on the keto diet!
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