08/12/16 : Sampling Authentic Chinese Cuisine at Chung Ying, Birmingham
Pre-Weight Watchers, Chinese food was my vice. It’s something I used to eat too much of; nowadays I consider it a rare treat. To be honest, it’s normally a hangover take-away choice rather than an eating out option, but I was open and excited to be sampling Chung Ying, an authentic Cantonese restaurant in the heart of Birmingham’s Chinatown.
The restaurant is as authentic as you can get. The rooms were draped in opulent reds and golds, whilst the aromas of the frying woks wafting around the dining area made me instantly hungry! The décor is basic, yet tastefully traditional. It seemed like the kind of place Carrie Bradshaw would eat in downtown New York in Sex and the City! It had that urban feel to it, a hidden gem that the locals rave about, but don’t want anyone else to find out about.
As you may have read in my previous blog post, I gained 1lb last week, so I’ve been super scrupulous with my SmartPoints tracking. I’d checked the huge menu choice online beforehand to decipher the best options for me.
There are a lot of exotic dishes on the menu (fried kangaroo or marinated chicken feet anyone?), but I thought I’d play it safe and stick with what I know are the healthiest options in a Chinese restaurant. The Weight Watchers Eating Out guide can’t give you exact SmartPoints, as all Cantonese restaurants cook things very differently, but it does give you helpful pointers in what to choose for starters, mains and desserts, so this is where I began.
My boyfriend loves duck pancakes drizzled in hoi sin sauce, but at an average of around 9SP per pancake, I decided to swap this for a healthier starter alternative. I spotted the Duck Lettuce Wraps on the menu and thought these would definitely hit the spot and not carry the ‘carby’ element of the pancake. At 2SP per wrap (I had two), they were a much better choice, absolutely delicious and still give me a little taste of what I fancied. You can tell by my face in the photo they were nice!
For my main course, I opted for a Chicken & Vegetable Chow Mein (20SP), whilst my boyfriend chose the Sizzling Beef with Black Bean Sauce. We shared a bowl of Boiled Rice, and I had just one tablespoon of the rice, as my main was quite a size.
I’ve got to admit, my Chow Mein was slightly bland and the accompanying sauce had a jelly like consistency, which was really off-putting for me. My chicken also didn’t taste too good, so I only ate one piece of it before pushing the rest to the side of my plate. I was slightly disappointed as I’d heard fantastic things about this place, our starter really set the scene and my boyfriend had no complaints about his tasty beef dish. On a plus note, the noodles were tasty and I did feel full after our starter and the bit of the noodles, rice and veg I ate.
To drink I stuck to 0SP Diet Coke while my other half, in true Asian style had two Tiger beers.
So how did my meal at Chung Ying fit into my daily food diary?
2 x Weetabix – 4SP
Handful Blueberries – 0SP
Skimmed Milk – 2SP
Total – 6SP
Greggs Katsu Chicken Bake – 8SP
Small Skinny Latte – 3SP
Total – 11SP
2 X Duck Lettuce Wraps - 4SP
Chicken & Vegetable Chow Mein - 20SP
1 Tablespoon Boiled Rice - 2SP
2 x Diet Cokes - 0SP
Total - 26SP
Daily Allowance Used: 34SP
Daily Allowance Remaining: -9SP
Weekly Allowance Remaining: 33SP
Overall, the choices I made contributed to a not-so-bad meal total of 26SP. When factoring in my lunch and breakfast, I went 9SP over my daily SmartPoints allowance, but used my weeklies to fall back on. Yes, Chinese food is notorious for being off limits when it comes to following a weight loss programme, but eaten in moderation it can be a welcome (and delicious) treat. Avoiding pancakes, chips and fried rice saved me a multitude of SmartPoints and swapping them for stir fried vegetables, boiled rice and lettuce wraps meant I could have a little bit more of what I fancied, without detriment to my weight loss efforts so far.
Unfortunately, Chung Ying didn’t hit the mark for me, but as with all my reviews, this comes down to taste and preference of the individual. This isn’t a place which outright caters for those following Weight Watchers (and it’s not particularly easy to decipher SP values for any Chinese restaurant), but using the Eating Out guide to make sensible choices, means it’s not a cuisine to totally rule out. I would follow the ‘Special Occasion’ rule – enjoy this as a rare treat, but not as a weekly indulgence. I’d much rather save on the SmartPoints and cook up a healthy stir-fry at home!
Have you eaten Chinese food recently and found a fail-safe option when it comes to Weight Watchers? Follow me on my social media channels using the hashtag #WWDinesOut and let me know what you’ve been eating this week!
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