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When it comes to ordering keto friendly Chinese food, you might think that there are too many high-carb options to stay on track with your macros. However, if you have ever ordered sushi on keto or low carb fast food, you’ll know that there is almost always a way to find delicious and keto choices on the menu! Let’s take a closer look at keto Chinese food: How to order it, which options have the lowest carbs, and which choices to avoid.
Is Chinese Food Keto Friendly?
Chinese cuisine is often not keto friendly because it includes large quantities of rice, wheat-based noodles, deep fried foods dredged with flour, and sauces made with cornstarch — all of which are high in carbs.
That said, Chinese restaurants also cook plenty of fresh ingredients that do align with a keto diet, so there are still ways to find dishes that avoid most of these ingredients.
How To Order Keto Chinese Food
Whether you dine in or get Chinese takeout, consider these tips:
- Avoid rice and noodles. These create volume in many Chinese dishes, but look primarily for menu items that do not include these ingredients, ask for them omitted, or remove them yourself.
- Steer clear of breaded or fried foods. Popular dishes like sweet and sour chicken use breadings made with flour and will be high in carbs.
- Avoid thick sauces and gravies. These usually contain sugar or thickeners like cornstarch that are not keto friendly.
- Watch out for soy. Many soy-based ingredients are low in carbs, but you may want to avoid it if you are sensitive to them (including tofu and soy sauce).
- Order a la carte. Many restaurants will provide plain steamed meats and veggies on request. If you’re too overwhelmed with the menu options, keep it simple and order individual foods this way.
- Check menus ahead of time. It’s the safest way to check macros and understand which ingredients will likely go into your order.
- Consider a Chinese buffet. If you’re dining out with loved ones, everyone gets what they want! Plus, it’s easier to see at a glance how foods are cooked and whether they contain added rice, noodles, or sugary sauces.
Best Keto Chinese Food Options
If rice and noodles are off your plate, what Chinese food can you eat on keto? Look for these ingredients and menu options to plan your keto Chinese food order.
- All seafood and shellfish (unbreaded with no sauces)
- Bell peppers
- Green beans
- Onions (including green onions)
- Get the full keto vegetables list here!
Seasonings & Garnishes
- Chili peppers
- Sesame seeds
Best Keto Chinese Food Menu Options
- Pork belly – Make sure this fatty cut of pork does not come with any sauces or glaze.
- Egg foo young – This egg, veggie, and meat dish usually comes with a starchy gravy — simply ask to have it omitted.
- Peking duck – If you feel fancy, this dish is only seasoned with a few spices and cooks up with a crispy skin. Order it with steamed veggies for a naturally low carb meal.
- Steamed or grilled meats – If they are plain, they are naturally keto.
- Steamed vegetables – Simply ask for low carb vegetables like broccoli or green beans steamed. Get a side of butter or oil for more fat and satiety.
- Stir fry – Some restaurants will stir fry plain meats and veggies of your choice to order — just ask!
- Lettuce wraps – Ask to have your meats or veggies in a lettuce wrap instead of rice.
What To Avoid
- Chow mein – These dishes are mostly made with noodles. Order stir fry instead.
- Fried rice – Rice is not keto, so ask for it omitted or substituted with steamed low carb veggies.
- Starchy vegetables – Including corn and peas. Use the lower carb veggies listed above as substitutions.
- Thick, sugary sauces – These almost always contain an added thickener such as cornstarch. Ask for sauces on the side, or omitted altogether. If you are low carb but not strictly keto, you can just ask if the sauce is sweet, and if it isn’t, know that it likely contains a tablespoon or so of cornstarch or flour to thicken it, but you might be okay with this on occasion.
- Wontons, dumplings, egg rolls, and spring rolls – These options all contain flours and starches you won’t be able to omit easily.
Keto Chinese Food Recipes
It’s easy to make homemade keto Chinese food that captures authentic flavor without the skyrocketing carbs. See for yourself with these faster-than-takeout recipes!
If you have another regular recipe that you want to make keto, you can replace rice or noodles with cauliflower rice, shirataki noodles, or zucchini noodles, and use a cornstarch substitute (such as xanthan gum) in the sauce and/or breading.
Conclusion: Can You Eat Chinese Food On Keto?
Although Chinese cuisine often contains high-carb ingredients, it’s easy to find keto friendly Chinese food options that work with your macros. Look for plain meats and veggies whenever possible, and avoid rice and noodles at all times!
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