It’s got ‘yum’ in the name for a good reason – and yum cha doesn’t have to be an unhealthy meal, so long as you make healthy choices and don’t eat too much.
Yum Cha is a traditional Chinese meal, normally served in the morning/lunchtime.
It comprises many different dishes served to the table to share.
The actual words mean to drink tea, but it has come to mean a variety of food such as dumplings, wontons, buns and noodles that are chosen from a menu or food trolley.
There’s something about this style of food that makes us overeat. It could be the sharing with friends and family; the free tea that is said to help you digest your food quicker; the lovely ladies strolling around with their trolleys full of delicious morsels.
Perhaps it’s a combination of all of these things. Either way, enjoy yourself but go there armed with the knowledge of the fat, calories and salt content so that you can make the best choices.
Rice paper rolls, grilled meats, freshly steamed greens, steamed wontons and steamed dumplings are the best choices.
As a general guideline:
- Go for steamed dumplings or wontons, not deep fried
- Choose fresh rice paper rolls, not spring rolls
- Order the grilled calamari, rather than deep fried
- Choose more tea or dumplings rather than dessert as they tend to be heavy on the sugar and fat content.
- Avoid anything deep fried such as prawn crackers, crispy noodles and fried rice.
You may be surprised to read the nutritional information for something as simple as a spring roll. Hold onto your hats – one large 170g roll has a whopping 26.7g fat, 495 calories, 6.3g sugar and an astonishing 1,666mg sodium.
When you compare this to a fresh rice paper roll, you will see why it is the better choice. One 70g prawn rice paper roll has just 0.4g fat, 65 calories, 119mg sodium and 0.2g sugar.
See nutritional notes below for more info.
Pork bun 100g
Dumpling, steamed 50g
Prawn Crackers, deep fried 25g
Pork Wonton, steamed 30g
Fried Rice, 1 cup
Chicken Chow Mein, 1 cup
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