Is There Any Low Sodium Chinese Food? and How to Make It Yourself

is there any low sodium chinese food

According to renowned chef Ming, “Yes, there are definitely options for low sodium Chinese food”. 

Many traditional Chinese cooking methods like steaming and stir-frying produce very flavorful dishes with little added salt. 

But here are a few things you need to know before adopting a low-sodium Chinese diet. 

Reducing salt requires some adjustments, but it is worth it for your long term health and happiness.

Key Takeaways

  • Yes, there are many traditionally Chinese dishes that are naturally lower in sodium such as steamed vegetables, boiled fish, and poached chicken. Opting for cooking methods like steaming and boiling over frying reduces added sodium.
  • Many Chinese restaurants can prepare dishes with little or no added salt, and offer low-sodium cooking styles like steaming, boiling, and stir-frying with minimal sauce. Options include steamed fish, poached chicken, boiled vegetables.
  • For home cooking, it’s easy to make low-sodium Chinese meals by limiting high-sodium ingredients like soy sauce and omitting salt during cooking. Stir-fries with fresh vegetables and meat seasoned with fresh herbs are naturally low in sodium.

There are Many Healthy Low-Sodium Options in Chinese Cuisine

Steamed dishes

  • Steamed dumplings
  • Steamed fish or shrimp
  • Steamed bok choy or broccoli

I’ve found that steaming is one of the best ways to retain nutrients and flavor while limiting sodium (1). The fresh taste of vegetables like bok choy really shines through when steamed.

Stir-fries using little or no sauce

  • Chicken and vegetable stir-fry
  • Beef and broccoli stir-fry
  • Egg foo young

Stir frying over high heat in a minimal amount of oil helps lock in moisture so very little sauce is needed. 

I like to add sliced chicken breast to hearty veggies like broccoli and carrots for a flavorful meal.


  • Hot and sour soup
  • Egg drop soup

Soup can be a nutritious part of any meal, as long as you watch the sodium. Both hot and sour soup and egg drop soup allow for abundant ingredients like mushrooms and spinach to take center stage.

Alternatives to high-sodium ingredients

  • Use low-sodium soy sauce instead of regular soy sauce (2)
  • Omit or reduce use of oyster sauce
  • Limit garlic and green onions which are high in sodium (3)

With a few tweaks like substituting low-sodium soy sauce, even longtime Chinese staples can fit into a heart-healthy diet. I always have a bottle on hand for stir-fries and marinades.

Healthy Chinese takeout options low in sodium

After trying various options at my local Chinese restaurants, I’ve discovered some go-to dishes that satisfy my craving without overdoing it on sodium. 

Baked, steamed, boiled or sautéed dishes

  • Moo goo gai pan
  • Kung Pao chicken 
  • Vegetable lo mein
  • Mapo tofu

These preparation methods help retain moisture without needing extra sauces. Moo goo gai pan is a longtime favorite of mine.

Tips for reducing sodium in takeout

  • Ask for steamed rice instead of fried rice
  • Request minimal or no MSG be added

Small changes like opting for steamed rice and going easy on flavor enhancers make a big impact. I keep my options flexible by politely customizing orders.

Some key things I’ve learned over time:

DishSodium ContentSubstitution
Fried riceHigh (sauces added)Steamed rice
Pineapple chickenVery high (teriyaki sauce)Grilled chicken and veggies
Egg drop soupModerateClear broth or hot and sour

By choosing dishes prepared with methods like baking and steaming rather than frying, you get the flavors you crave in a much healthier way. Experimenting is half the fun when it comes to eating well.

Homemade low-sodium Chinese stir fry recipe (150mg sodium per serving)

is there any low sodium chinese food


  • 12 oz chicken breast, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup sliced bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Slice chicken breast into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Wash and prepare vegetables by slicing broccoli florets, carrots, and bell peppers.
  3. In a large skillet or wok, heat olive oil over medium-high.
  4. Add chicken pieces in a single layer. Stir fry for 5 minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  5. Add broccoli, carrots and peppers to the skillet. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  6. Return chicken to the skillet and add soy sauce. Toss to coat evenly.
  7. Serve immediately over brown rice or noodles. Enjoy!

Over the years I’ve created many stir fry variations using this basic recipe. Replacing sodium-heavy ingredients like soy sauce with whole foods keeps the flavor robust.

YouTube video

Credit : Skinny Fat


Finally, I’ve found that it’s certainly possible to enjoy low-sodium Chinese cuisine. Whether steaming fresh vegetables or bulk-cooking protein for stir-fries, simple cooking methods allow natural flavors to shine. 

Being mindful of high-sodium ingredients and sauces and savoring homemade dishes have improved my health tremendously. 

I hope sharing some favorite recipes provides ideas for easy swaps to lighter options. Please feel free to comment with your own tips – I’m always looking to expand my repertoire! 

Together we can discover how Chinese cooking fosters well-being in body and soul.



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