10 Steps to Remember When Eating at a Chinese Restaurant

Introduction

Chinese food appeals to many of us because it is tasty and relatively inexpensive. We are also under the impression that Chinese cuisine is healthy as it includes large portions of vegetables and low amounts of fat. That’s true when the dishes are prepared the traditional Chinese way in China. But American-Chinese restaurants have modified their food for American tastes and as a result, it is not as healthy as the traditional one. Western Chinese restaurants offer appetizers, fried rice, meat rolled in butter, and sweet sauces among their “goodies”. And to top it all, the portions are much larger than the ones served in mainland China. That’s why, having all this in mind, if you want to eat healthy at a Chinese restaurant, you have to choose wisely.

1. Start by choosing a good restaurant

When you are in the mood for Chinese food, avoid the typical Chinese restaurant where you can eat as much as you want for a fix price. Chances are you may not want to leave the restaurant until you feel you got your money’s worth. Unfortunately, if you do so, the restaurant will get your money but you will get the calories. Not a win-win situation. Instead, go to a restaurant where the waiter takes your order.

2. Start with a soup

A smart move when eating at a Chinese restaurant is to order a soup. Two advantages: first, less overall fat in your meal and second, the soup broth will fill you up. This translates into eating less when the waiter brings the main course.

By starting your meal with an appetizer you may ruin your goal of calories, carbohydrates, fat, etc. Pork ribs, egg rolls, fried wonton and any other fried foods are high in fat, sugar, and calories. If the waitress brings Chinese fried noodles to keep you busy until the food is served, put them aside or ask her to remove them from the table. Instead, you can kill time while you wait for the food by drinking Chinese tea. No calories there unless you add sugar.

3. Choosing the main course

When choosing the main course look for dishes that are abundant in vegetables and have small portions of meat. You can reduce calories by choosing seafood or chicken instead of choosing beef, pork, lamb or duck. You can also order two dishes: one that has meat as the base and one that is mainly vegetables such as green beans or spinach and mix them.

4. Avoid fatty dishes

Read the menu carefully and avoid for the fattiest dishes. Some words will give you a clue: beef rolled in butter or breadcrumbs, crunchy pork, etc. Find out if the meat was fried before being sauté with the vegetables. If that is the case, ask if they can sauté the meat you have chosen instead of frying it.

5. Watch out for hidden carbohydrates

Sweet and sour sauces as well as other typical sauces of the Chinese cuisine are full of carbohydrates and if you are diabetic, they can raise your blood sugar. Sugar and starches keep adding carbohydrates to many main dishes. You will also find carbohydrates in the corn flour used to thicken sauces and in the ingredients used to marinate the meat. Read the small print and ask a lot of questions to the waiter.

6. Be careful with the rice

You know that at a Chinese restaurant, you are going to be served a big bowl of rice and as you may be aware, rice contains many carbohydrates. Avoid fried rice and regular soy sauce to flavor it; you will end up with a lot of fat and sodium in your meal. If possible ask for brown rice which is rich in fiber. If they don’t have it available, hold the rice. Remember that a cup of rice has at least 45 grams of carbohydrate.

7. Reduce the salt

Order dishes with light sauces, not too thick. If you need soy sauce ask for the low sodium version and mix it with steamed brown rice, not with fried rice. To add flavor to your meal you can add some hot sauce; it has less sodium and less calories.

8. Share the dishes

If you have company, order one main dish, a soup or aperitif and some rice. Then, share it.

9. Eat with chopsticks

Eat your meal with chopsticks. If you are as skillful with them as I am, they may slow you down. But don’t worry because as everything in life, it has a positive side: you will probably eat less. Don’t fall into the temptation of asking for a fork and a knife; you may regret it.

10. And for dessert…

As for dessert, order fruit and never mind the ice-cream with sugared walnuts which I know by experience it is hard to resist. But if you have followed the above recommendations, you will feel pretty good about having eaten a healthy meal. So, why ruining it?

Chinese Restaurant Tea – What Teas Are Served In Chinese Restaurants?

Many Americans find themselves greatly enjoying the tea served in Chinese restaurants. Because China has a much richer and more active tea culture than the United States, the teas served in Chinese restaurants can tend to be a several notches up in quality from those that a typical American is used to drinking. Furthermore, for historical reasons, most of the mainstream tea in the U.S. originates in the British tradition, focusing on black teas like Ceylon, Darjeeling, Assam, and Earl Grey. The teas served in Chinese restaurants are typically quite different, and often represent some people’s first exposure to the styles and varieties that are more commonly consumed in China and throughout southeast Asia.

What types of tea are served in Chinese restaurants?

There is no single standard type of tea that is served in Chinese restaurants; rather, a number of different varieties are regularly served in this setting. In the typical mainstream American Chinese restaurants, the most common teas served are oolong and Jasmine tea. Green tea is sometimes served, as is Pu-erh. One brand of tea, Dynasty, actually markets a Chinese restaurant tea, which is a blend of oolong, jasmine, and green teas, reflecting a fusion of the different styles of tea most frequently served in Chinese restaurants.

Cantonese restaurants, such as those serving dim sum (numerous small dishes, often involving dumplings, served a la carte), and many of the restaurants common in the Chinatowns of large cities like New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, often serve Pu-erh tea, or a blend of Pu-erh with chrysanthemum flowers. In reference to this phenomenon, one brand of tea, Foojoy, sells Chrysanthemum Pu-erh under the name “Dim Sum Bo Nay Tea”.

Choosing oolong, pu-erh, jasmine, and other teas:

Although some restaurants do use tea bags, many use loose-leaf tea, and the best teas are generally only available in loose-leaf form. If you are lucky enough to live near a specialty loose-leaf tea store, or an Asian store with a good selection of loose tea, this may be a good option. However, most Americans do not have this luxury, and must resort to buying from an online retailer. Buying tea online, where you do not have the opportunity to see or smell the leaf, can be a bit intimidating if you are not familiar with the different varieties of tea. A little background information can go a long way towards knowing what to buy.

Oolong, also sometimes spelled “wu long” is a partially-oxidized tea, intermediate between green and black teas. Many oolongs served in Chinese restaurants are roasted fairly strongly, giving them a dark color and a roasted aroma. Jasmine tea is a floral-scented tea, made by mixing tea leaves (usually of green or pouchong tea) with jasmine flowers. It has a strong floral aroma, often described as perfumy. Chinese green tea is very diverse, but most of it is pan-fired, giving it a toastier quality than Japanese greens; some Chinese green tea has a mild smoky aroma, as the tea is pan-fired in woks heated by wood fires. Pu-erh tea is a post-fermented tea, meaning that it is often aged and improves with age. Pu-erh has an earthy aroma and smooth flavor which blends well with Chrysanthemum flowers.

In summary:

There is no one type of tea that is universally served in Chinese restaurants in the United States; however, oolong, jasmine, Chinese green tea, and Pu-erh are common kinds that are served, with Chrysanthemum Pu-erh being especially common in Cantonese restaurants serving dim sum. The best way to purchase any of these teas is to buy them in loose-leaf form. For people not able to find them in a local shop, these varieties of tea are all available through online retailers.

Best Way to Get Your “Chopsticks” on Chinese Restaurant Supplies

In the Chinese culture, food has always been one of the most important aspects. Like the old saying goes, “Food is the first necessity of the people.” The Chinese have a strong belief in this saying, in fact, the usual greeting between two friends when meeting tends to be “Have you eaten?” rather than “How are you?” Literally everywhere in China, you can easily spot Chinese restaurants and food kiosks regardless if the town is big or small. In actual fact, Chinese restaurants are commonly found in cities all over the world. People from around the world, with different ethnic backgrounds, have learned to appreciate the Chinese culture and their delicious yet nutritious foods.

With that said, opening up a Chinese restaurant can be very lucrative. However, competition will be fierce. Just like in China, you’ll probably find a Chinese restaurant just around the corner from where you live (no matter where your location is…I bet!). It will be difficult to open and actually survive against the current odds that are not in your favor. However, that’s all going to change once I reveal your competitive advantage. It’s quite simple actually. You need to find the perfect online Chinese restaurant supplier.

So many restaurant owners today are not web savvy and are very traditional. Repeatedly, they have been going to the same vendors for all their supplies and equipment without even considering a more cost effective solution. Granted, the owner might be getting great deals and plus the trust and loyal factor plays in. But it is almost a guarantee you will find a wider array of products, even better products at unbeatable prices online. As a restaurant owner, it is your responsibility to promote productivity and improve profit margins on a consistent basis. Relying on steady sales and repeat customers will not secure your job. You need to cut expenses and find better solutions for your restaurant needs. Searching online for your restaurant supplier will do the trick.

Also keep in mind, there might be cases where the “trustworthy” vendors take advantage of their loyal customer and charge more. This is not a rare occasion; I’ve seen this happen plenty of times. It’s sad to say, but a lot of vendors do take advantage of their customers. Truth be told, I’m not going to be right in all cases. To ensure all fairness, you could use the web to do some research on your current products and their prices, which is another great reason on why you should use online Chinese restaurant suppliers.

Starting up a Chinese restaurant can be a weary task. Where would you find the right products and equipment that fits best with your offering? Finding Chinese food products and equipment can be a daunting task for anyone without the web at their disposal. Another plus side about choosing a supplier online is you can find niche suppliers, in this case, a Chinese restaurant supplier, without the hassle of flipping pages, scrimmaging with papers and contact numbers. You can easily filter out and narrow your search simply by typing down your search query on a major search engine and let it do all the work. Hit enter, then PRESTO! You’ll have the list before your very own eyes.

Chinese Restaurant Business Plans – Why You Need One

When you start a business you have to know what you are getting yourself into. The restaurant business can throw many surprises at new owners so you must do your research and know exactly what to expect. Many owners of Chinese restaurants that failed within the first year will blame their failure on a lack of planning. If you spend some time researching and writing a business plan for your Chinese restaurant then you will be more likely to see your business succeed.

There are many reasons why it makes sense to prepare a business plan prior to opening a restaurant. Some benefits will seem obvious to you at first but others may not yet have occurred to you.

In the following article we highlight some of the reasons why you need to put together a restaurant business plan before you take the plunge and open up the dim sum or Beijing cuisine restaurant that you have been dreaming about.

Avoid Mistakes

When you start a restaurant you will have to make a lot of different decisions. Some of these decisions can be difficult or expensive to reverse at a late date so you must be sure that you make the correct choices the first time around. By doing the right kind of research and planning you will be able to make informed decisions instead of just guessing.

Imagine opening a Chinese restaurant and then discovering that there are too many located nearby or that there is a trend towards European style cuisine over Asian food among households in your area. In some cases you would have to correct a poorly informed decision by totally re-branding your business and paying for new interior decorating, a new logo, new menus and much more. Your business plan should let you know the right path to follow at the right time.

Clarify Thoughts and Ideas

By writing a business plan you will be able to turn your loose ideas into something more concrete. As you research and write you will allow some of your ideas to evolve and you may come up with new ideas altogether. You may even decide that the ideas that you had originally are not viable at all and look at a totally different business model or industry.

Prove the Viability of Your Proposal

While a business plan is essential for proving the viability of the proposed business to yourself as the future owner, you may have to provide proof to other parties as well. Lenders will want to know more about your business before you can borrow funds from them. Equity investors will want to know what kind of return they will be getting on their investment before they invest. You may even find that a business plan can come in handy when it comes to negotiating a lease with the owner of a commercial space that you would like to rent.

Identify Difficulties and Challenges

It is easy to dream about the Chinese restaurant that you would love to set up and how glamorous it must be to own a restaurant. However, you may be viewing the prospect of being a restaurant owner through rose tinted glasses without imagining the difficulties that go along with it. Some business plan formats encourage you to perform a SWOT analysis. In such an analysis you look at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. By asking the right questions you will come to learn about the weaknesses of your business model and how you can strengthen them. You will also be challenged to analyze some of the threats that could affect your restaurant and to come up with contingency plans to deal with them.

Assess Startup Requirements

It is important to understand that launching a new Chinese restaurant is a process and a business plan can help you to manage this process. You must have a clear idea of what you need and a schedule so that you can proceed to set up an operational restaurant in an organized manner. There are many things that have to happen in a logical order before you can open your doors to diners. To fully understand each step you will need to know your startup costs, where the funding will come from, how you will acquire equipment, when you will hire staff and much more. There will also be actions that you have to take to comply with local rules and regulations relating to restaurant owners.

Understand Exactly What You Want

You need to know exactly what you want before you can map out a path to get there. Your Chinese restaurant business plan will help you to set some realistic goals and targets. Goals could be related to monthly gross or net profits, restaurant capacity levels or customer satisfaction for example. Once you have set some reasonable goals you can then look at putting systems in place to achieve them.

Make Your Chinese Restaurant Marketable to Potential Buyers

There comes a point in most restaurant owner’s lives when they decide to sell their restaurant. When this day comes you can be sure that prospective buyers will want to examine a huge amount of information about the business before they decide to make an offer. If you have an up to date business plan it could make it easier to supply most of the information that a buyer would need. If your plan does a good job at explaining the present situation in the restaurant and outlines a way forward to further growth then it could become an invaluable resource for you, and the new owner.