Is Chinese food bad for you?
Same with any kind of food, there are good and bad choices, you just need to know the ingredients of each item then choose wisely. On average traditional authentic Chinese cuisine is much healthier than the westernized form of Chinese food found in America and Europe.
In China people very seldom eat chicken like the sweet and sour or general TSO which are all deep fried with a lot of grease then coated with sugary sauce, no one forces the customers to order such fattening food, they just select them because they only care about the taste and are not health conscious. Stir fried entrees like beef broccoli, chicken with vegetables or mushroom, tofu combined with steamed rice are very good for us.
Even in western countries, Chinese food is all free of dairy except for crab Rangoon which is made with cream cheese and which is unheard of in China, this is an entirely
American invention. Chinese restaurants never cook with butter, there is no need to cheat because vegetable oil is in fact cheaper.
Why is fairy not used in Chinese cooking?
1. There are no vast grasslands in China, therefore traditionally no great herds of cattle. Due to population vs. land available, pork has more popular than beef. Also duck can be raised in a small area, as can pork.
2. Dairy just isn’t that popular in traditional Chinese or Asian cooking in general. It just didn’t catch on. As a result, many Asians are lactose intolerant simply because they don’t continue drinking milk after childhood. Mongolian cooking does still use dairy a lot, mainly because the yak is their staple food, and they use every bit of the animal – including its milk.
3. It’s not a “scientific” reason, nor is it a matter of choice on the part of Chinese chefs. It’s just cultural/geographical selection. Traditionally, there isn’t much of a dairy industry in China (I’m talking all throughout history, not just the past couple hundred years). No dairy industry equals no milk and no cheese. There is quite a large seafood industry (again, historically speaking) in China, which is why much of their cuisine features seafood. The same thing applies throughout the world: in places like France and Italy, cheese-making has been part of their cultures for thousands of years. And cheese is featured in many Italian and French dishes.
4. Milk is not a common ingredient to be used in Chinese cuisine. There is only one milk dish that comes to mind – deep fried milk. But you won’t be able to get this in takeout places and I’ve only seen it a couple times at a few authentic Chinese restaurants. The poster who mentioned Mongolia is right, milk is more common in Mongolia as they are mainly herders. Chinese people were mainly in the farming and fishing business, so you’ll see fish/seafood and vegetables more dominant on menus.
Dairy isn’t common in Chinese food unless you’re having a dessert or a cream sauce.
In which case you can usually tell by the transparency of the sauce and the color.
So I’d say for most dishes they are dairy free but I would always ask the cook to be sure.