Your ultimate guide to enjoying Chinese cuisine

Healthy tips for your next delivery order, plus 30 super flavourful, classic Chinese dishes to make at home.
Published May 17, 2021

OK, let’s start with the obvious: Chinese cuisine is delicious. Pork dumplings, beef and broccoli, fluffy rice…mmm. What you might not realize is that it’s totally possible to enjoy these and other classic dishes without zapping your SmartPoints® Budget. This guide is a good place to start. Ordering from your favourite local restaurant? Check out our tips for navigating the menu so you can stay on track with your goals. Prefer to cook? We’ve rounded up 30 super flavourful Chinese recipes you can make right in your kitchen. Dig in below.

Tips for ordering Chinese takeout

Scan the menu for keywords

The terms “steamed,” “sauteed,” and “stir-fried” are your friends, here—such dishes are typically lower in SmartPoints than those billed as “crispy” or “fried.” Giving the menu a quick read will help you spot your best options.

Know your apps

In the mood for a starter? Consider broth-based soups—like steamed selections, they’re often low in SmartPoints. If variety is your thing, you might enjoy combining a few appetizers to make a complete meal. Here are some favourites to consider:

Appetizer GreenBluePurple
Hot and sour soup (1 cup)211
Egg drop soup (1 cup)211
Wonton soup (1 cup)222
Steamed or pan-fried veggie, shrimp, or chicken dumplings (1 dumpling)111
Steamed or pan-fried beef or pork dumplings (1 dumpling)222
Chicken lettuce wrap (1 wrap)211
Shrimp or chicken spring roll (1 piece)555

Decide on your main

We’ve rounded up some SmartPoints-friendly entrees for you below. You may also find it helpful to order your dish steamed with sauce on the side so you can control the amount you add to your dish. With just 1 SmartPoints value per tablespoon (Green, Blue, Purple), both Asian garlic sauce and Chinese brown sauce are good choices.

Steamed chicken or shrimp with vegetables (1 cup) and 2 tbsp ginger-garlic sauce on the side322
Steamed shrimp and broccoli without sauce (1 cup)100
Chicken egg foo young (1 patty)422
Moo goo gai pan with chicken or shrimp (1 cup)433
Vegetable lo mein (1 cup)555
Shrimp lo mein (1 cup)666
Chinese chicken and vegetables (1 cup)322
Chinese vegetables with tofu (1 cup)333
Chinese vegetables with beef (1 cup)666

Shrimp with garlic sauce (1 cup)

Chicken stir-fry with garlic or black bean sauce (1 cup)855

Sub brown rice for white

As a whole grain, brown rice contains more micronutrients and fibre than refined white rice. That’s why steamed brown rice is a ZeroPoint food on Purple! For a universal ZeroPoint option, skip the traditional rice and heat up your own frozen cauliflower rice instead.

Add veggies to your order

A side of ZeroPoint steamed mixed vegetables can round out a plate and make a meal more satisfying. You’ll instantly amp up the nutrient quotient of your meal, filling fibre included.

Portion out a serving

Sure, it’s convenient to pop the lid off a takeout container and dig right in. The potential downside is losing track of how much you’ve eaten. Grab a plate and spoon out one serving at a time. You can always have more if you like!

Make that mug of tea

If your order came with a freebie tea bag, why not put it to use? Sipping unsweetened tea (or water) between bites can be a pleasurable way to practice mindful eating. The habit keeps you hydrated and can extend the enjoyment of a meal.

Enjoy the fortune cookie

Each crunchy cookie is just 1 SmartPoints value each (Green, Blue, Purple). And who knows? Maybe yours will contain a useful tidbit of wisdom.