What Chinese Food Is Low In Sodium? Ultimate Guide to Low-Sodium Choices

According to nutrition expert Jane, “Stir-fries using fresh vegetables, steamed dishes like…

… shrimp with broccoli, and egg foo young with meat and greens are all lower sodium Chinese options.”

Craving Chinese food but worried about sodium? 

As a chef who loves Chinese cuisine, I’ve discovered many tasty low-sodium dishes…

… that satisfy my palate without spiking my blood pressure.

Steer clear of salty sauces and opt for steaming, stir-frying, or egg-based dishes packed…

… with vegetables and lean protein.

With the right menu choices, you can still savor the flavors of Chinese cuisine…

… while maintaining heart health.

Let me share my go-to order and simple swaps to keep home delivery under 500mg sodium per meal.


What Chinese food is low in sodium?

Opt for low-sodium Chinese options (1) such as fresh vegetable stir-fries, steamed fish, tofu bowls, and fruit platters for a healthier and flavorful dining experience.

These choices prioritize your well-being without compromising on the rich taste of Chinese cuisine.

Understanding Sodium in Chinese Cuisine

YouTube video
Source: CNA Insider

Sources of Sodium

The two biggest culprits adding lots of extra SODIUM to Chinese dishes are SOY SAUCE and OYSTER SAUCE.

While both offer robust FLAVOR, just a couple tablespoons can account for nearly…

… your entire day’s worth of SODIUM intake! 

Other hidden sources include BROTHS and CONDIMENTS like hoisin sauce or chili garlic sauce.

Many CHINESE FOODS like FRIED RICE, which seems so innocent, are…

… ACTUALLY REALLY HIGH IN SODIUM because of all the added sauces during cooking.

When you’re at a CHINESE RESTAURANT, be sure to ask about SODIUM CONTENT…

… and request dishes be prepared with LOW SODIUM COOKING METHODS like…

… steaming instead of frying.

You can also get sauces served on the side so you control how much gets added to your meal.

At home, look for LOW SODIUM SOY SAUCE or use less of the regular stuff.

Swap in low-sodium BROTH too.

How Much Sodium Is Too Much?

What Chinese Food Is Low In Sodium

The AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION recommends consumers limit…

… their SODIUM INTAKE to LESS THAN 2300 MG per day.

This is especially important for anyone with high blood pressure or at risk of heart disease.

However, a single serving of MOO GOO GAI PAN at your local CHINESE FOOD joint…

… might clock in at over 1500mg! 

When you consider most American diets…

… contain 3000-4000mg per day, it’s clear why cutting back on SODIUM is important.

BROWN RICE instead of white is a simple SWAP that lowers the SODIUM COUNT…

… of any CHINESE MEAL.

The Healthiest Chinese Food Choices

Here are the list of the healthiest Chinese food choices:


For a LOW SODIUM starter, look for EGG DROP SOUP or HOT AND SOUR SOUP, which…

… usually get their flavor from ingredients like ginger, garlic and vinegar rather than SALTY SAUCES.

Homemade chicken BROTH is another light option.

Just watch out for store bought varieties like ramen which are often VERY HIGH IN SODIUM.

Stir Fries and Vegetable Dishes

To keep SODIUM IN CHECK, fill up on TOFU AND BROCCOLIs STIR FRY, a hearty veggie medley.

Substantial dishes like CHICKEN WITH…


… generally better choices than things like beef and broccoli smothered in BLACK BEAN SAUCE.

For extra nutrition, request STIR FRIED string beans and mushrooms rather than…

… the typical American-Chinese standby of chicken and broccoli.

What Chinese Food Is Low In Sodium 2

The key is letting FRESH HERBS and VEGGIES take centerstage over SALTY SAUCES.

Stir fries and steaming are preferable cooking methods to frying for keeping SODIUM LEVELS LOWER.

Ask for SAUCES ON THE SIDE so you control how much gets added.

BROWN RICE instead of white rice with a meal trades in some SODIUM for extra nutrients like fiber.

Listening to your BODY’S CRAVINGS for Chinese without overdoing SODIUM…

… is about making HEALTHY SWAPS.

Rice and Noodle Dishes

For a gentle CARBOHYDRATE to accompany dishes, STEAMED RICE is always a SMART CHOICE.

While FRIED RICE may be a favored CHINESE FOOD, all that SOY SAUCE means…

… it packs several times the SODIUM of brown rice.

LO MEIN WITH EXTRA VEGGIES makes a more INTERESTING substitute thanks to the nutrient boost.

Go light on condiments to keep the sodium tally low.

Protein Choices

LEAN PROTEINS like STEAMED OR BAKED FISH pair beautifully with Asian flavors…

… and don’t contribute much SODIUM on their own.

CHICKEN BREAST FILLETS are another excellent low sodium source of protein to build a meal around.

For variety, try grilled SHRIMP, which also provides important minerals.

When selecting menu items, avoid the DEEP FRIED and heavily sauced proteins…

… like sweet and sour chicken or GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN…

… in favor of protein and veggie combos simply prepared by steaming, baking or stir frying.

Focusing your CHINESE FOOD choices on FRESH HERBS and SPICES rather…

… than SALTY condiments is key to enjoying the CUISINE without SODIUM overload.

Preparing more dishes at HOME also allows you to adjust FLAVOR with…

… less SODIUM than eating FAST FOOD Chinese regularly.

Moderation and SUBSTITUTING ingredients matters much more than…

… temporarily avoiding Chinese delights.

Making Over High Sodium Dishes

What Chinese Food Is Low In Sodium? Ultimate Guide to Low-Sodium Choices

A few EASY SWAPS can help MODIFY your favorIte HIGH SODIUM dishes into more…


Whether HOME COOKING or ordering at a CHINESE RESTAURANT, reduce excess SODIUM…

… with these STRATEGIES.

Use Less (or No) Sauce

Many classic Chinese takeout dishes are soaked in high sodium sauces.

Just asking your server to have any sauces served “on the side” rather…

… than ladled over the entire dish is a simple change that can dramatically cut back on sodium intake.

For example, Kung Pao chicken is typically smothered in a dark, thick sauce…

… but opting to only use 1-2 tablespoons of the sauce per portion, rather than…

… having it pour over several ounces of chicken and vegetables, makes a huge difference.

Portioning out a measured teaspoon or two of sauce per bite allows you…

… to still enjoy the flavor while significantly trimming several hundred milligrams…

… of sodium from your total intake for the meal.

Swap Ingredients

What Chinese Food Is Low In Sodium 3

It’s worth taking a lap around the international aisle of your grocery store to…

… scout for lower sodium swap-ins for high sodium ingredients.

Low-sodium soy sauce has about half the sodium of regular soy sauce…

… but still provides that rich, savory flavor in any stir-fry or noodle dish.

Swapping out oyster sauce, which is notoriously high in sodium, for…

… an unsodium alternative like chicken broth or Shaoxing wine is another easy way…

… to reduce sodium intake.

Even swapping canola oil for sesame oil in cooking eliminates a sneaky source of added sodium.

Making aware ingredient substitutions like these can cut significant sodium without sacrificing taste.

Add Fresh Herbs and Spices

Rather than relying solely on salty condiments to carry the flavor profile, learn to…

… coax out naturally robust flavors from fresh ingredients.

Ginger, garlic, chili peppers and a generous grind of black pepper add layers…

… of complex flavor without sodium.

Garnishes of crunchy veggies like water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and…

… scallions not only add visual appeal and texture but their natural flavors also shine when the focus is off salty sauces.

Bright notes of citrus from lime or orange also perk up any protein or vegetable-based Chinese dish.

Learning to artfully blend herbs and spices is key for home cooking…

… that tastes delicious but is easier on sodium intake and overall health.


Get CREATIVE modifying your CHINESE FOOD orders online or favorite takeout staples.

Your heart and WAISTLINE will thank you! 

Moderation makes room for still enjoying the CUISINE without overdoing sodium.

Must-Have Low-Sodium Ingredients and Cookbook

What Chinese Food Is Low In Sodium 4

Did you know that the average Chinese dish contains over 1000mg of sodium, almost half of the recommended daily intake? (2)

But here’s a secret: with the right low-sodium ingredients, you can enjoy the same flavorful dishes with a fraction of the sodium.

For years, I’ve loved cooking and eating Chinese food.

But as someone concerned with heart health, the high sodium levels had me worried.

Did you know just one dish could contain over half your daily sodium? Yikes!

I wanted the flavor without harming myself.

Through trial and error, I found some low sodium swaps that really work. 

IngredientsBrief Description
Brown RiceLow-sodium. A healthier, fiber-rich alternative to white rice with a satisfying nutty taste and chewy texture. Available at grocery stores or online.
Soy SauceLow-sodium. Retains the traditional savory flavor of regular soy sauce, but with significantly less sodium. A must-have for any Chinese cuisine.
Keto Chinese BookAn ideal source for low-carb keto diet, low-sodium Chinese recipes. Perfect for maintaining a healthy lifestyle or following a keto diet.
Sesame OilLow-sodium. This oil keeps the distinctive nutty flavor of sesame oil but with reduced sodium. A flavorful and healthier option for Chinese cooking.
TofuLow-sodium. A versatile, protein-packed ingredient that’s low in sodium. Ideal for stir-fries, soups, and more.
More details: https://bowlakechinese.com/low-sodium-chinese-food-products/

Brown rice satisfies my cravings while being easier on my heart. 

Tofu is packed with protein too. Even something like sesame oil keeps taste… 

… when using the low sodium kind.

Another great find was soy sauce alternatives.

I was shocked how similar they are to the regular stuff. 

Just a splash adds that signature savory tang without sodium overload. 

It’s taught me you don’t need loads to enhance flavor.

A true godsend though was this amazing keto Chinese cookbook.

Filled with recipes for stir fries, soups and more – all using my new healthy ingredients.

Best of all, they’re just as delicious as the dishes I grew up with. 

I’m sharing it with all my friends concerned with heart disease risks.

With a little patience, you can absolutely keep your love of traditional Chinese cuisine… 

…  while staying healthy.

Feel free to ask me about book recommendations, low sodium substitutes or any other tips.

I’m always happy to spread the word on easy ways to take out options… 

…  without jeopardizing well-being. Good eats and good health – it is possible!

We promise, it’s ‘soy’ amazing, you’ll ‘wonton’ more!

More details: https://bowlakechinese.com/low-sodium-chinese-food-products/

Low Sodium Chinese Recipes to Try at Home

What Chinese Food Is Low In Sodium 4

With some CREATIVE TWISTS, it’s EASY to prepare classic…

… CHINESE FLAVORS at home lower in SODIUM.

Reach for synergistic herbs and spices rather than SALTY SAUCES.


For a soothing start to any meal, try making a light and nourishing miso soup at home.

Miso soup simmered with chicken broth, wakame, and soft tofu provides…

… hearty warmth and savory flavor with negligible sodium.

Homemade chicken broth is literally just boiled bone-in chicken breasts or thighs…

… with an onion, a couple celery stalks and carrots.

Let it simmer for at least an hour to develop rich flavor before straining.

This clear chicken broth cupped on its own or with added rice noodles makes…

… for a simple soup that satisfies without more than a trace of sodium.

Stir Fries or Salads

A total weeknight favorite is a fresh, bright tofu and vegetable stir fry.

Diced extra-firm tofu along with whatever veggies you have on hand…

…like broccoli, bell peppers, and shitake mushrooms are stir fried in a pan over…

… high heat with a splash of sesame oil, rice vinegar and low-sodium soy sauce.

Serve the stir fry hot over a bed of fluffy brown rice for a fiber-filled meal.

For extra crunch and nutrients, try adding a side of sesame-tossed green beans…

… or a shredded napa cabbage, carrot and daikon radish salad dressed lightly with rice vinegar.

The fresh flavors really sing without any heavy sauces needed.

Protein + Veggie Combos

For a quick and wholesome lunch or dinner, pair oven-baked wild salmon with steam-sautéed bok choy.

A few cloves of minced garlic and pinch of red pepper flakes are all that’s needed to lightly coat the nutrient-dense bok choy.

The salmon simply baked with a sprinkling of everything bagel seasoning takes only 15 minutes.

Another balanced one-pan supper is chicken breast cooked with diced carrots…

… and broccoli until just cooked through.

The fresh herb blend of parsley, basil and thyme enhances the natural flavors.

A stir fry of lean ground beef or turkey with chopped celery gets maximum flavor…

… from freshly ground black pepper and naturally fermented black beans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Chinese takeout be modified to be lower in sodium?

Yes, absolutely – while many classic Chinese takeout favorites are loaded with…

… sodium, there are simple modifications you can ask for to significantly reduce the sodium content.

Requesting sauces and condiments on the side so you can control how much gets added is very effective.

Choosing cooking methods like steaming or stir-frying rather than deep-frying also limits sodium.

Ask about lower-sodium preparation options when ordering.

What are some flavorful low-sodium herbs and spices to use?

Some great low-sodium flavor boosters to use in Chinese cooking include…

… fresh ginger, garlic, green onions, cilantro, basil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili peppers, and…

… five-spice powder.

Dried spices like cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds also add complex flavor without sodium.

Bone broths and unsodium soy sauce are better alternatives to high sodium sauces as well.

Fresh herbs and spices allow the natural flavors of your dishes to really sing.

How much sodium is consumed through Chinese takeout compared to home cooking?

On average, sodium levels are much higher in Chinese takeout and restaurant food…

… than home cooked Chinese meals.

Ordered dishes can contain upwards of 1500-2500mg of sodium per serving, which…

… is extremely high compared to the recommended daily limit of 2300mg.

This is because takeout often relies heavily on soy sauce, oyster sauce, broth and other condiments for flavor.

Home cooking gives you control over ingredient quality and amount of sodium added.

What are some ways to make stir-fries and other dishes lower in sodium at home?

Some easy ways to reduce sodium in homemade Chinese dishes include…

… using low-sodium soy sauce, chicken broth or rice vinegar instead of regular soy sauce or oyster sauce.

Add spices like ginger, garlic and chili for flavor without salt.

Sauce can also be mixed with water or broth to dilute it.

Limit or avoid processed foods high in hidden sodium like canned beans or frozen meals.

Rinse canned or packaged ingredients to remove some sodium as well.


When craving Chinese food, there are many flavorful low-sodium options to choose from.

By opting for dishes that emphasize fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and…

… steaming or stir-frying rather than heavy sauces, you can easily keep your sodium intake under control.

Simple swaps like brown rice instead of fried rice, sauce on the side, or…

… hold the soy sauce allow you to modify classic dishes.

With a little menu awareness and selective ordering, you can fully… 

…enjoy your favorite Chinese takeout and home delivery while maintaining heart health.

Keep these easy go-to picks in mind, customize your orders, and…

… consult online nutrition resources to find more low-sodium Chinese gems.

Most importantly, don’t deny yourself – with mindful choices, you can savor…

… Chinese cuisine and its incredible flavors while effortlessly meeting daily sodium goals.

Well, that’s it, which low sodium Chinese food is your favorite? Please comment below!


  1. https://www.livestrong.com/article/455078-low-sodium-chinese-foods/
  2. https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-022-00762-4

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