This AAPI Heritage Month, we’re celebrating Asian culture through its foods, including Chinese food! Chinese food can get a bad rap from less adventurous eaters, and those only familiar with take-out, for being greasy or weird (aka, different from typical American diet).
However, people forget how nutritious it can be, especially when opting for more authentic, simple dishes or home-cooked Chinese food. Whether you’re out and about, or ready to try your hand at a new dish in the kitchen, don’t miss out on these dishes! Whether that be for tastiness, or the sheer health-superpowers they pack.
Also, don’t forget to patron your local Asian restaurants, Chinese and otherwise, whose businesses saw an especially hard hit during the pandemic.
1. Chinese Broccoli
Translation: Gai lan/jie lan
These leafy greens boast vitamins K, C, A, B9 and B2, and minerals manganese, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. They’re also rich in beta-carotene and vitamin E, as in eat up!
2. Steamed Dumplings
Translation: Jiao zi
Steamed dumplings are a great way to get lean protein, at a low calorie intake. Shrimp, pork or vegetable dumplings are a tasty option for any dim sum lover! (Dim Sum is a Cantonese breakfast consisting of small plates.) Opt for the vinegar dip, as it's lower in soy and sodium as opposed to soy sauce... And more authentic.
3. Bitter Melon
Yes, it's as bitter as it sounds, but those who enjoy bitter flavors will also enjoy the multitude of health benefits seen in bitter melon. It’s packed with vitamins C and A—plus some folate and a touch of minerals. We recommend doing a Google search on the benefits of Bitter Melon, as some of the benefits are so good, we don’t dare to mention! Find it in a dish combined with scrambled eggs (Kugua chao dan)!
4. West Lake Soup
Translation: Xi Hu Niurou Tang
Combine mushrooms, a bit of minced beef for flavor, melt in your mouth soft tofu, plus the light delicate flavors of cilantro, and you've got yourself West Lake Soup. This soup was inspired by the beautiful West Lake in China's Hangzhou province. This soup will comfort you, as it's often served steaming hot. It will fill you up without slowing you down, plus it's full of goodness!
5. Hot Pot
Hot pot is a fun and social way to enjoy great, flavorful, and healthful food with friends! Basically, you choose a broth that boils at the table for the duration of the meal, while you and your friends cook raw foods of your choice in the broth pot. Often, the selection of raw foods includes vegetables like bok choy, mushrooms, potatoes, bean sprouts, and lettuce; and proteins like thinly sliced meat, seafood, and tofu. Note that red broth tends to be more spicy, while white and clear broths will be more mild.
We hope you enjoyed reading about these healthy Chinese foods! But, don't stop there. Let's continue to celebrate Asian and Asian American heritage with mutual love, respect, and tasty health foods from all different Asian countries of origin. Top it off with some gluten-free Asian sauces from San-J found in our stores!