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How To Order Chinese Food Like A Pro

It’s easy to fall into a routine when it comes to ordering Chinese food — General Tso’s, side of fried rice, and a fortune cookie. We want to let you in on a little secret — when you venture outside of the norm in Chinese cuisine, your world will change. Did you know there is a huge selection of vegetables you can order? How about all those sauces that come in the bag - know what they’re for? Read on to learn how to order Chinese food like a pro.

When in doubt, order family style.

You might wonder why you always have leftovers when you order Chinese food for one. This is because traditionally, Chinese cuisine dishes are meant to be shared among a group. Not only does ordering for the crew make it so you can try more variety of dishes, but it’s also the perfect excuse to invite friends over and order in. Try it!

Chinese food can be healthy.

While a handful of Chinese food dishes are hearty and loaded with sauce and fried ingredients, there are plenty of dishes that are healthy, vegetarian, and even in some cases, vegan. Start by reading through the vegetable section of the menu, and be sure to give 1-2 dishes a try — trust us you’ll be happy you did. Other important tips: avoid noodles, embrace soups, and opt for dishes with protein that don’t have a sauce, rather those that are oil based.

Don’t be daunted by the sauces.

Soy sauce, duck sauce, some elusive yellow sauce that you can never quite figure out what to put on? Let us lay out the details for you:

  • Soy Sauce: salty, tangy, and perfect for dumplings or rice
  • Duck Sauce: the clear orange sauce you never know what to do with — use it for dipping in crunchy rolls and noodles
  • Hot Sauce: if you feel the need for heat, drop this on everything — just trust us
  • Spicy Mustard: if you’re a fan of mustard already, this will be your new favorite topping (Bonus: it clears your sinuses with one bite)

Chinese dessert is so much more than fortune cookies.

Don’t make the mistake of forgetting to order dessert. Chinese desserts like taro ice cream, egg custard tarts (pictured below) or sticky cake will blow your fortune cookie out of the water.

Use chopsticks, or else.

If you’re ordering Chinese food, there’s a good chance you’re a fan of the cuisine. That being said, drop the forks, pick up the chopsticks, and do it justice. Chopsticks are not that hard to learn how to use. Just ask a friend, Youtube it, or wing it. Sure, it might take longer to get the food to your mouth at first, but what could be better motivation?

Now that you know the facts, go ahead and order Chinese.

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