Exploring the Culinary Contrasts: A Tale of Chinese Takeout in the US and the UK

From exclusive items to portion sizes, we wanted to find out all the differences between Chinese takeout in the US and the UK. This is previous. What I wanted to do was show you my ideal plate of British Chinese takeaway food. You might have seen these on TikTok or elsewhere as he’s kind of broke the internet a while ago, but I’m gonna show you my version.

I need some charming the amount of carbs that might end up on this plate could be alarming to some. Because we’re gonna go noodles. We’re also gonna go rice. You know, we’re gonna get the salt and pepper chips involved. Then I want a healthy portion of my crispy chili beef. I’m gonna want some seaweed on here, some of this prawn toast, definitely. A couple of spring rolls and of course our prawn crackers as well.

So generally speaking, this is a pretty normal plate of Chinese takeaway food for a British person. But we’re not done that. The final step, of course, is to add our sources. Yes, that sauce is plural because we’re gonna be adding both the curry sauce and the sweet and sour sauce to this. And honestly, I’m not discriminating here. This is going pretty much on the entire meal. And of course, our sweet and sour sauce. Love it or hate it, that is your typical plate of British Chinese takeaway food. I think I’ve done a pretty good job there. British people, please feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments below. Nico, I’ve got to hear your thoughts about this. Would you eat this?

Let me stop you right there. Why do you guys sauce the whole plate? Like, doesn’t the whole plate just then taste like that sauce? You want everything to taste exactly like that sauce.

Bone up the teeth.

Now let’s make up an American plate of Chinese takeout with a bunch of staple foods that I think are pretty nationally beloved. I would say. Let’s start with our sides, our little appetizers. So we probably throw a couple of wontons on there. I’d also do some type of roll. I would usually do an egg roll, but all we’ve got left are spring roll. Next you’d have your rice. I prefer white rice. I just think it’s really easy to pair with any sort of Andre. Okay, I wouldn’t normally eat the full container fries, but we’re gonna keep it on the plate. We gotta get some chicken. You definitely need a side of veg. So we’re gonna do broccoli. Cuz I feel like that’s literally at every single Chinese restaurant, they have broccoli on the side. If you ignore the huge mountain of white rice, I think this looks pretty appetizing. The last thing I would add to this plate is probably some lomaine. So let’s do that. I didn’t mention these before, but these little fried, I think they’re fried noodle pieces. They come with soups, so you can just throw them in your soup, have them with your soup. They’re just good to snack on.

I think this looks like a pretty appetizing plate. This is probably the point where folks in the UK would douse their plate in sauce. I would do things a little differently. I really like dipping egg rolls into the duck sauce, which is this one. It’s so good. And some people put sauce, I think, over their rice and stuff. So we have our white rice, our wantons, our fried noodles, some spring rolls, a side of broccoli, sesame chicken, and the domain, which I think this kind of sums up what a typical order from a Chinese food place would look like here in America. If it doesn’t look like what you would order, sorry, babe, I don’t know what to tell you. This is just what I think. I can’t even believe I didn’t mention it yet. You have to get a can of Coke on the side. Any soft drink really will do. I just think you need a can of soda with your Chinese takeout. It’s just, it’s a sensation like no other. It’s, it goes together.

In the UK, when we order food to be delivered, we say we’re ordering a takeaway rather than ordering takeout. Also in the UK, we tend not to bother adding the words food or takeaway to the type of food we’re eating. For example, if we’re ordering Chinese takeout, most Brits would just say that we’re having a Chinese. Same applies for maybe Indian food. When you have an Indian or even a full English breakfast.

In the US, we call it takeout. They obviously both mean the same thing, but that’s just our preferred way of saying it. We also say Chinese food or Chinese takeout rather than just a Chinese.

We also wanted to look at how each country packages its food. In the UK, you might find your Chinese food in one of these foil boxes with a paper lid. The other most common form of packaging is one of these clear plastic tubs. And then finally, for your appetizer options, such as some spring rolls, which we’ve got here, they generally will just come in a paper bag. I’ve always seen those folded cardboard boxes in American TV shows, and they do look pretty cool, I have to say.

Also, the cute little takeout boxes are something that I feel like we see a lot maybe in media when someone orders Chinese food, but they’re not super common. Mostly the food comes in these kinds of containers, which is like a black Tupperware with a clear top. These are usually reserved for the rice, maybe the lomaine, but it’s not reserved for like all of the food options. These boxes were actually inspired by Japanese origami.

Frederick Weeks Wilcox was the first person to introduce the paper pale box in the 19th century to carry raw oysters, he created a patent for it and called it a paper pail, which it basically is. It’s like a cute little pale.

In the UK and the US, portion sizes and menu items will vary slightly depending on the different restaurants that you go to. But we did want to compare a couple of standard menu items in the US and the UK to see who might be getting bigger portions. One iconic appetizer from a Chinese takeaway in the UK is the spring roll. The restaurant that we ordered from serves these in a portion size of 6.

In the US, spring rolls are made a little bit differently. They’re made with rice paper and they have thinly sliced vegetables on the inside. This particular Chinese restaurant only gave us two, but I have ordered from some places that give you more. Just depends on where you order from. We do have egg rolls, which are kind of similar to the UK. These come in only one size as far as I know, but depending on what place you order from, they could be like a little bit bigger, a little bit smaller than this. My local place, they’re actually a little bit bigger than.

This size. In the UK, egg fried rice only came in one size. I don’t wanna weigh this outside of the box, so I’m just gonna weigh in the box. This.

Is a mountain. All of this rice just came out of this tiny little container. So this is what our fried rice looks like. At this particular restaurant, they only had one size of this fried rice, but I have seen places do small and large sizes. Alright, let’s weigh this mountain of rice.

It’s like just maxed out the scales.

That’s a lot of rice. We do have chicken included in that, just letting you know. And we did weigh the plate beforehand, so that’s not part of this weight.

The restaurant, the wheel to from had Main in two different sizes, regular and large, although the large was only available with certain varieties. So this is a chicken charming regular size and this is the house special charming and a lot size.

We do have chaomaine here in America, but we didn’t have it at this particular restaurant. We do have pan fried noodles, which I think are similar ish. So we’re gonna weigh these.

Although I feel like it might once again be slightly too heavy for this.

Girls. Moving on to sweet and sour chicken. That is like a tried and true classic with takeout. I think that I’m supposed to sauce it myself, which isn’t the norm for me. In my experience, getting Chinese takeout, everything is already like sauced. You don’t need to add anything. This time they came without sauce, so we’re just gonna add it ourselves.

In the UK, our sweet and sour chicken came in one size in the UK, this consists of little fried pieces of chicken, peppers, onions, and also pineapple.

I’m getting word that I think I was supposed to dip the individual pieces into sauce and eat it like that. I’ve never ordered this. I just know it’s a common takeout item here, but I already poured the sauce all over it. So let’s just wait and see how much it is.

As we mentioned before, each Chinese restaurant is unique as to how they prepare and cook their food. So it’s kind of impossible to know exactly what’s going into each dish. One ingredient that we did want to highlight, however, as it’s commonly associated with Chinese food, is MSG, or mono sodium glutamate.

In 19 o seven, a Japanese chemist named Kikunai Ikeda discovered a substance called glutamate, also known as umami. He later broke that substance down into MSG. MSG is a seasoning and food enhancer that gives a rich, savory flavor.

MSG is actually very commonly found in fast foods, including chick fillet, snack foods including Doritos, and naturally occurs in some cheeses. MSG has been recognized as safe by the FDA several times, and only contains a third of the sodium content of table salt. So once you’ve got such a.

Bad wrap, in 1968, the New England Journal of medicine published a letter titled Chinese Restaurant Syndrome. In it, a doctor describes his experiences after eating at Chinese restaurants, citing symptoms like numbness in the back of the neck, general weakness and palpitations. The blame was placed on MSG and the Chinese restaurant syndrome myth quickly spread. The phrase even ended up in the Merriam Webster dictionary.

Despite there being no evidence that MSG was dangerous, there was still a public panic around it. Chinese restaurants in particular were deemed unhealthy. Thankfully, the use of MSG is much more normalized today, although the xenophobic misinformation from the 1960s does still linger. If you Google MSG, some of the suggested search terms include things like, why are Americans afraid of MSG and SSG and neurotoxin. Short answer, no, it’s not.