There’s nothing more American than a Chinese buffet. At the risk of sounding like Ricky Bobby, that statement isn’t far from the truth. In China, a buffet is eating a second bowl of rice, not a 5th heaping mound of General Tso’s chicken and crab rangoon. They don’t even know what that stuff is actually. Americanized Chinese food is nothing like traditional Chinese cuisine.
Chinese buffets are always a great idea going in and a horrible idea going out. Gluttons for punishment (with emphasis on gluttony), we continue to frequent these modern-day sirens of the Orient and shovel in as much MSG as humanly possible, waddling out the door like a fleet of Emperor Penguins.
A pothead friend of mine once told me the buffet is China’s way to slowly take over America, one egg roll at a time, as we eventually become too fat and lethargic to put up a fight. We noided out for a few minutes and then continued to fork-to-face two quarts of beef lo mein.
However, not everything in the Chinese buffet is horrible for your waistline. There are things to avoid at the buffet, but others aren’t that bad. We have compiled a few simple steps to keep you from ordering a defibrillator for dessert. No one wants a fortune cookie that reads “Have a nice quadruple bypass.”
Start with a salad
As silly as that sounds when you’re craving Chinese, veggies fill you up and you are less likely to fall asleep at the wheel driving back to work.
Not only does it add cool points if you know how to properly use chopsticks, you eat slower, thus allowing time for your stomach to tell your brain that you’ve had enough and keeping you from providing graphic illustrations to the book entitled “Mad Dash to the Commode” by Willie Makeit.
Avoid fried foods
This one is a no-brainer. Deep fried foods such as egg rolls are loaded in saturated fat and calories. A standard egg roll contains 20g of fat and 250 calories (without drowning that sucker in duck sauce and soy sauce).
Instead of opting for the soda, get water instead. If you have to, order a diet cola. Soda is just empty calories and if you’ve ever seen what it does to a penny, it’s probably not the best thing to digest.
Lay off the sauce
Choose menu items with lots of veggies and little to no sauce (especially the stickier sauces like General Tso’s). Better choices include chicken with broccoli or garlic sauce, steamed shrimp, chow mein, chop suey and stir fry with vegetables. Stay clear of battered and fried items like sweet and sour chicken due to its sauce and the fact that the chicken is breaded more than a bakery.
Avoid fried rice
Opt for steamed white or brown rice instead of pork fried rice. Fried rice is high in fat, sodium and calories – all things bound to make you resemble Boss Hogg.