Chinese dishes are often high in protein because they include protein-rich foods such as chicken, beef, pork, duck and seafood. Tofu, commonly used in vegetarian Chinese cooking, provides protein from non-animal sources. Chinese dishes also contain large amounts of carbohydrates in the form of thickening starches, noodles or rice. Some dishes contain large amounts of fat, particularly those that are breaded and deep fried; however, other dishes are simply stir fried and contain lesser amounts of fat. If you are concerned about fat and calories, choose a dish that you can order steamed rather than fried.
Chinese beef dishes typically contain beef cut into thin strips or cubes mixed in a sauce and combined with different vegetables such as broccoli and peppers. They are usually served over rice or noodles. Other dishes, such as orange beef, contain breaded pieces of beef, which you might want to avoid if you're limiting your carbohydrate intake.
Like beef, poultry in Chinese dishes is often cut into thin strips or cubes and is served with vegetables over rice or noodles, with the exception of Peking duck, which is served whole. Some chicken dishes, such as General Tso's chicken and lemon chicken, incorporate battered and fried chicken. Others, such as moo goo gai pan, sesame chicken and kung pao chicken, contain unbreaded or unbattered chicken. Chinese menus may also include delicacies such as chicken feet, which don't contain large amounts of protein.
Pork is a mainstay of Chinese cuisine. Spare ribs, pork-fried rice, sweet and sour pork, shredded pork, minced pork meatballs and moo shu pork are common Chinese dishes. All parts of the pig are used in Chinese cooking, including the entrails.
While you might not think of seafood first when planning to eat Chinese, seafood dishes, especially shrimp, frequently find their way onto Chinese restaurant menus. Shrimp are served battered and fried or mixed with vegetables or noodles. Large pieces of fish, such as trout, are often served crispy or fried, while salmon may come steamed. You can also find more exotic seafood sources of protein, such as squid, oysters, turtle and shark, on Chinese menus.