Low Carb Restaurants – Asian

image-951834_960_720Eating out Low Carb at Asian restaurants can be a little tricky.

You have to avoid all the rice, noodles, eggrolls and wontons in all their forms.  You have to be careful of hidden (or outright) breading on chicken, beef, pork, seafood and even vegetables.  Too, there are sugars and corn starches that are in many of the sauces that are particular no-no’s for those of us with diabetes.  Not only all of that, but different restaurants make dishes in different ways and so the Net Carb count can vary widely.

So what to do?

  • A buffet is a good way to go so that you can pick and choose.  You get filled like you want and have a variety of things to choose from.  Too, if you are not familiar with the restaurant or its dishes, on a buffet it is easy to see if there are breading, noodles or if thick or thin sauces are used. If you do get something that has hidden sugars, cornstarch or breading, you can abandon it and can go back and get something else.  The best option, however, is if there is a Mongolian barbeque option.  You pick your chilled meats, vegetables, sauces and spices and hand them to a chef who then grills it for you.  This is great as you know what you put in your dish and it comes out fresh and hot.
    • Hibachi restaurants are a good way to go.  Just tell them you don’t want the rice or any terryaki based sauces.  Often, you get more vegetables, which is never a bad thing.  Be careful on the ginger dressing on the salad as it is full of hidden sugars and ask for an option.  I’ve eaten the little salad plain too.
    • If you order off the menu, there are many things that you can get.  Just leave off the rice or noodles:
    • You can order Egg Drop Soup or Wonton Broth.  Miso soups are excellent. Some Hot & Sour Soups are lower carbs than others.  There are other vegetable and protein based soups you can still get, but just avoid the noodles or rices or if they are a thicker soup that has probably used flour or cornstarch as a thickener.  Ask if it is a thick or thin broth if you aren’t familiar with their soups.
    • You can also order a vegetable laden dish with a light sauce or only soy sauce.  Just make sure that if there is also a protein that it is not breaded.
    • Egg Foo Yong is always an excellent way to go.  Vegetables and eggs.  Watch out for the sauces though.  Some might have hidden sugars.  I usually eat my Egg Foo Yong plain.

I recently went to a little local Chinese restaurant.  I was delighted to find a little buffet.  In fact for someone who doesn’t like buffets, I have found them useful for low carb living.

At the Chinese restaurant, I intended to get beef with broccoli, but it was on the buffet.  So why not have choices?  I got the beef with broccoli, Szechuan Chicken and their Black Pepper Chicken.  Excellent choices if you followed my advice from above.  There may have been a little cornstarch used but not much.

What I did discover was that the Black Pepper Chicken was ever oh so lightly breaded and ever oh so lightly sweetened.  Too late.  I already tasted it and it was delicious.  In a moment of weakness my taste buds had control of my feeding arm, hand and my mouth.  I ate the whole amount.   My sugar went up accordingly.

My point in telling you this, is that it is easy to fall off Low Carb track if you aren’t careful in your choices or have a moment of weakness.  I don’t like admitting weakness.  I also don’t like admitting that my eyesight truly didn’t pick up the breading on the Black Pepper Chicken in the first place.  It was such a light coating… but it was there!

You can eat at Asian Restaurants.  Just be careful and try to have some will power!


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