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Jul 20, 2010 05:52 PM

Healthy Chinese Restaurant

I am looking for a Chinese restaurant that would be good for a diabetic (a lot of vegetables and/or meats) in the lower Manhattan area.

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  1. Any genuine Cantonese restaurant will do the trick (for example, Amazing 66 in Chinatown is a good choice). There are lots of healthy vegetable dishes (not sides!), and if you come with a company and don't order a vegetable dish, the waiter will likely remind you: such is the custom. What? no vegetable? is quite common among older Chinese waiters.

    I, myself, am watching my blood sugar and I habitually eat Chinese, so here are my findings.
    (1) Chinese food often contains traces of (brown) sugar; Chinese desserts (soups) are only mildly sweet and safe to try. No corn syrup or such is used, brown sugar and/or molasses only. Your major concern is white rice and rice noodles which have a terribly high glycemic index.
    (2) Vegetables are abundant and only mildly cooked. Raw vegetables are an exception, yet the cooking methods are healthy (and yes, that includes stir-frying). I strongly suggest you avoid American Chinese restaurants/dishes and go for the real thing.
    (3) I cannot think of any major source of carbs except for rice/noodle dishes/steamed buns. Most Chinese restaurants don't offer brown rice though.
    (4) Some Asian vegetables are particularly healthy; for example, yu choy and ung choy.
    (5) There is a particular vegetable (known as bitter melon, or fu gwa) that was scientifically proven to moderate the blood sugar spikes. Id eaten it long before I learned this and I strongly recommend it to anyone with HBS based on my experience--if you like the taste, that is.

    Please reply to the thread if you need specific restaurant recommendations.

    Amazing 66
    66 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

    3 Replies
    1. re: diprey11

      Brown sugar is not used in Chinese stir-fries - white is. Rock sugar (which is brown) is used in some bases and stocks.

      1. re: diprey11

        Thanks so much for all the info. Please let me know which restaurants you like. I am looking for a place to take my diabetic uncle who is working in NY and currently living in a hotel without a kitchen. Hopefully we can find a healthy restaurant where he will be able to eat frequently. Thanks a lot.

        1. re: ossauiraty

          ScoopG has provided an authoritative list of the best places in Chinatown, so all I'd have to do is restrict that selection just a bit. As delicious as a Cantonese clay pot rice (bo zai fan) may be it is a carb bomb, and so I believe a diabetic should eat no more than 1/5 of a single serving. Also, as grsatisfying as a noodle soup bowl can get it is still noodles, either rice or white wheat (Chinese don't believe in whole-grain wheat), big enough for a single-bowl lunch.
          Therefore, I cannot generally recommend a Fuiian place, unless you know what to expect, and neither can I recommend a lovely A-Wah or Xian Famous. My biased selection would be:
          (i) Amazing 66: for chicken, meat, or dofu dishes with vegetables
          (ii) Cantoon Garden for any kind of fish and seafood, with dofu and vegetables;
          (3) Big Wong King or Hsin Wong for a cheaper and greasy Cantonese fair (roast duck and portk are good there, but a diabetic should pace himself)
          (4) XO Kitchen and HK Cafe for HK breakfast items (cake-walk style, yeah ;-))
          (5) Dim Sum Go-Go for a dim sum selection. Please note that even cheaper Pu Er teas as well as some Taiwanese oolongs (particularly those from Nan Tou) tend to lower the blood sugar.
          (6) Shanghai Cafe or maybe Shanghai Manor (the latter is Shanghai Snacks in Chinese) for a different fare: SH food tastes a little bit sweeter, but there is not too much sugar in it.
          Always order either a vegetable, e.g., a steamed, stir-fried or sauteed Chinese green, or at least a cooling dish (such as braised dofu). I do recommend ordering bitter melon, however they serve it, if you like the taste: I try to have at least a serving per week, and it does wonders.

          Amazing 66
          66 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

          Big Wong
          67 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

          Hsin Wong
          72 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

          XO Kitchen
          148 Hester St, New York, NY 10013

          5 Catherine St, New York, NY 10038

      2. You will find that in Chinese Cuisine, meat is not the center piece in any stir-fried dishes but merely a component. For healthy vegetarian Chinese try Buddha Bodhai on Mott (Kosher) or the Vegetarian Dim Sum House on Pell. Otherwise these links should help:

        Best Chinatown Restaurant:

        Chinatown Favorites:

        Fujian Noodle Shops:

        Specific Chinatown Restaurant Reviews:

        Amazing 66:


        East Corner Wonton:

        Two Best Fuzhou Restaurants - Note the one on Forsyth Street has changed hands and is a small Fuzhou style buffet place:

        Great New York Noodletown:

        Red Egg:

        Shanghai Café:

        South China Garden:

        Other restaurants worth a visit:

        Big Wong King at 67 Mott Street, 10013.
        Fuleen Seafood at 11 Division Street, 10002.
        New Chao Chao at 111 Mott Street, 10013.
        Yogee Restaurant at 85 Chrystie Street, 10002.
        Yummy Noodles at 44 Bowery, 10013.