How Much Salt Is in Chinese Rice?

From mouth-watering stir-fries to delectable bowls of steaming rice, it never fails to tantalize our taste buds. However, amidst the richness of these dishes, there’s one aspect that often goes unnoticed: the salt content. We often indulge in savory Chinese rice without fully comprehending just how much salt is present in each delectable grain. It’s crucial to shed light on this matter, as excessive sodium intake can lead to various health issues. An average cup of this rice recipe contains 299 calories, 11 grams of fat, and a staggering 740 milligrams of sodium. This revelation prompts us to pause and question whether such high levels of salt are truly necessary to enhance the flavor of Chinese rice.

How Much Salt Does the Average Chinese Eat?

When it comes to the average Chinese diet, the amount of salt consumed is quite significant. Salt, which consists of sodium and chloride, plays a crucial role in enhancing flavors and preserving food. However, excessive salt intake can lead to various health issues, particularly related to high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.

Efforts must be made to raise awareness about the potential health risks associated with high sodium intake and to promote healthier dietary habits. Encouraging the use of alternative seasonings and promoting the consumption of fresh, unprocessed foods can help reduce overall salt intake and promote better health outcomes for the Chinese population.

Chinese takeaway meals can be a popular choice for many, but have you ever stopped to consider just how much salt is lurking within them? Well, you may be surprised to learn that combining side dishes with your main meal could easily push you over the recommended maximum daily allowance for adults, which is 6g or just over 1 teaspoon. And if you opt for the saltiest combination, like Beef in Black Bean Sauce and Vegetable Noodles, you could be consuming a staggering 11.50g of salt, or about 2 teaspoons, in just one sitting.

How Much Salt Is in a Chinese Takeaway?

Chinese takeaway meals are known for their bold flavors and savory tastes. However, these delicious dishes may come at a cost when it comes to salt intake. It’s important to be aware of the amount of salt present in these meals, as excessive salt consumption can be detrimental to our health.

According to research, combining side dishes on top of a Chinese takeaway meal could provide over 6g of salt per day, which is more than the maximum daily allowance for adults. This equates to over 1 teaspoon of salt, which is quite a significant amount.

This dish, Beef in Black Bean Sauce with Vegetable Noodles, exemplifies how some Chinese takeaway meals can be exceptionally high in salt content.

The salt content in Chinese rice dishes may vary depending on the specific recipe and cooking methods used. However, it’s important to note that rice itself doesn’t naturally contain significant amounts of salt.

By making informed choices and being aware of the potential salt content, we can enjoy these dishes in a healthier manner.

Tips for Reducing Salt Intake in Chinese Takeaways

  • Choose steamed dishes instead of deep-fried ones.
  • Opt for dishes that are less likely to be high in sodium, such as stir-fried vegetables or grilled meats.
  • Ask for sauces and condiments to be served on the side so you can control the amount you use.
  • Order dishes without added salt or MSG.
  • Avoid ordering items that are typically high in salt, such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, or salted meats.
  • Consider requesting a lower-sodium option or asking for less salt to be added during the cooking process.
  • Enjoy soups or broths that are made with reduced-sodium stocks or ask for them to be prepared without added salt.
  • Be mindful of portion sizes and share larger dishes to reduce overall salt intake.
  • Choose dishes with fresh ingredients, as processed and packaged foods tend to be higher in sodium.
  • Drink plenty of water to help flush out excess sodium from your body.

Source: Health warnings for salt in Chinese takeaways – Nutrilicious

Additionally, don’t rely solely on soy sauce to add flavor to your dishes. Instead, experiment with other herbs and spices, like ginger, garlic, and green onions, to enhance the taste without the need for excessive salt. Furthermore, opt for fresh ingredients, as they tend to have a naturally lower sodium content compared to processed or canned alternatives. Lastly, be mindful of the portion sizes and try to balance your meal with a variety of vegetables and lean proteins to create a well-rounded, low-sodium Chinese meal.

Does Chinese Food Have Low Sodium?

Chinese food is often associated with bold and savory flavors, but it’s important to note that these dishes can sometimes contain high levels of sodium. While Chinese cooking can be a very healthy way of eating, especially when it incorporates fresh ingredients and delicate flavors, the excessive use of salt can be a concern for those watching their sodium intake.

One way to reduce the amount of salt in Chinese dishes is to opt for a sodium-reduced soy sauce. Popular brands like Kikkoman and Lee Kum Kee offer lower sodium versions of their soy sauces. This simple swap can significantly decrease the overall salt content in your cooking without compromising on taste.

Another tip is to be mindful of the amount of soy sauce and other high-sodium condiments you use in your recipes. It’s easy to get carried away with adding more while cooking, but try to use them sparingly. Instead, focus on enhancing flavors with herbs, spices, and low-sodium alternatives.

Experimenting with different cooking techniques can also help to lower sodium levels. Steaming or stir-frying with a minimal amount of oil can retain the natural flavors of vegetables and meats without relying on excessive salt. Additionally, incorporating more fresh and low-sodium ingredients like fresh ginger, garlic, and herbs can add depth and complexity to your dishes without the need for excess salt.

Lastly, it’s essential to read labels and choose low-sodium or no-salt-added versions of canned or processed ingredients such as broth, sauces, and canned vegetables.

Healthier Alternatives to Traditional Chinese Takeout

  • Egg Fried Rice made with brown rice and loaded with vegetables.
  • Steamed Dumplings filled with lean chicken and lots of veggies.
  • Broccoli and Beef Stir-Fry cooked in a light soy sauce.
  • Sweet and Sour Tempeh made with a tangy homemade sauce.
  • Vegetable Lo Mein with whole wheat noodles and a variety of colorful veggies.
  • Miso Soup filled with tofu, seaweed, and vegetables.
  • Orange Tofu tossed in a flavorful citrus glaze.
  • Chicken and Cashew Lettuce Wraps packed with fresh ingredients.
  • Shrimp and Vegetable Stir-Fry cooked in a garlic ginger sauce.
  • Spicy Mapo Tofu made with silken tofu and a fiery chili sauce.


In conclusion, Chinese take-out fried rice contains a significant amount of sodium, with an average of 740mg per cup. This high sodium content may raise concerns for individuals who’re watching their salt intake and need to maintain a low-sodium diet. By making informed choices and opting for lower-sodium alternatives, individuals can still enjoy the flavors of Chinese cuisine while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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