Chinese Food Today
VideoJug.com presents a short insight into the place of Chinese cuisine in western society today. It has become an increasingly popular take out food in the United States. As Americans become more aware of the need for lifestyle changes to fight problems such as obesity and heart disease, it is becoming a healthy fast food alternative to unhealthy burgers and fries.
To most, it would certainly seem that Chinese food must be healthier than the typical "fast food" diet. While usually healthier than typical burgers and fries, a closer look shows that Chinese take out in America is typically not as healthy as the food found on the tables of the average Chinese family.
There are a couple of main reasons for this.
- Chinese food in our American restaurants often has considerably more meat, often red meat, and is served in much bigger portion sizes here, than in China.
- The food on the table of families in China would be found to have a much larger portion of vegetables than of meat. In fact, until the modernization of the past century, particularly in rural areas, meat would only have been consumed occasionally. However, some studies are beginning to show that modernization has brought with it in China, a higher consumption of meats and fats and so, an increase in certain conditions associated with overeating meat and/or fat.
- Food is also served differently in China which causes it to be a healthier dish. This difference has to do with portion size. The meals we order for take out at our local Chinese restaurant and take home to consume in a single serving are the size of shared main courses in China. Chinese food of this size would normally have been the shared dishes in the center of a communal table if served traditionally.
- In China, each person at the table is given their own serving of rice or noodles but the main dishes, consisting mainly of bite sized vegetables and some meat, would be placed in the middle of the table and shared by all. In fact, each person at the table would have eaten straight from the serving dishes since they do not share our habit of obtaining personal portions of main dishes from the serving dishes and putting them on individual plates.
Understandably, some Americans do not consider this part of the traditional Chinese food habit to be healthier, as all persons at the table would be placing used chopsticks into shared or communal containers of the main dishes. However, it could be argued that the benefits of healthier habits such as eating less meat and smaller portions far outweigh the risks of perhaps passing germs through placing used chopsticks into a communal dish. In any case, even "American-style" Chinese food is a healthier option than burgers and fries.