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  • Elaine Zhang, Dietitian

Which cuisine is healthier? Japanese? Vietnamese? Or Chinese cuisine?

March is the nutrition month. Many dietitian gather together this time to advocate the importance of the nutrition for our health. The theme this year is Good for you: Healthy eating looks different for everyone!

The purpose of this year’s campaign is to explore how culture, religions, personal circumstances can influence what healthy eating means to each of us. From a dietitian perspective, we focus on personalization. We help to tailor your diet and meal plans to accommodate to your specific needs. There is no one diet that can fit us all. Healthy healthy is for everyone, for people who are vegan, on gluten free due to celiac disease, with food allergies, having diabetes or being pregnant. Customized nutrition recommendations can be made to align with your personal values and special situations.

You have any nutrition questions or health concerns, you can contact a dietitian for nutrition consultation.


Today I will explore how food traditions and cultural background can influence our diet. I will make a summary of different Asian cuisines and review a couple advantages and also things to watch out for.

Japanese cuisine:

Traditional Japanese cuisine includes many healthy ingredients such as fresh vegetables, seafood, miso, edamame beans, natto beans.

However, less healthier food choices include deep fried fish or veggies such as tempura. In addition, for sashimi lovers, a caution is try to choose fish that are high in omega-3 but low in mercury such as salmon, mackerel. Some fish such as tuna can be quite high in mercury level.



Vietnamese cuisine:

Vietnamese food also included many fresh vegetables and herbs. For example Vietnamese spring rolls, it can be quite nutritious and healthy with fresh veggies such as lettuce leaves, bell pepper, cucumber, herbs such as mint, basil and protein food like shrimp. Also, the preparing method is also quite simple and clean without excess amount of oil.

If you like Vietnamese food, you may want to minimize deep fried food such as spring roll. Also, try to minimize using too much dipping sauces if they are high in salt.


Chinese cuisine:

Chinese cuisine includes many healthy ingredients such as tofu, fish, vegetables like boy choy, napa choy, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushroom and wood ear.

However, many dishes can be quite oily or deep fried. Try to prepare and cook food in a small amount oil or choose entrees that are baked, steamed, roasted. For example, steamed shrimp dumplings are better choice than fried pork dumplings!


In summary, all cuisines have their advantages and disadvantages. We cannot say which cuisine is the best or healthiest. Our dietary habit is heavily influenced by our cultural background and personal preferences. Let's try to explore the benefits of the cuisine that we like and minimize the unhealthy side of this cuisine.



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©2020 by Elaine Zhang, Registered Dietitian. All Rights Reserved.