Chinese Restaurant Tea – What Teas Are Served In Chinese Restaurants?
Many Americans find themselves greatly enjoying the tea served in Chinese restaurants. Because China has a much richer and more active tea culture than the United States, the teas served in Chinese restaurants can tend to be a several notches up in quality from those that a typical American is used to drinking. Furthermore, for historical reasons, most of the mainstream tea in the U.S. originates in the British tradition, focusing on black teas like Ceylon, Darjeeling, Assam, and Earl Grey. The teas served in Chinese restaurants are typically quite different, and often represent some people’s first exposure to the styles and varieties that are more commonly consumed in China and throughout southeast Asia.
What types of tea are served in Chinese restaurants?
There is no single standard type of tea that is served in Chinese restaurants; rather, a number of different varieties are regularly served in this setting. In the typical mainstream American Chinese restaurants, the most common teas served are oolong and Jasmine tea. Green tea is sometimes served, as is Pu-erh. One brand of tea, Dynasty, actually markets a Chinese restaurant tea, which is a blend of oolong, jasmine, and green teas, reflecting a fusion of the different styles of tea most frequently served in Chinese restaurants.
Cantonese restaurants, such as those serving dim sum (numerous small dishes, often involving dumplings, served a la carte), and many of the restaurants common in the Chinatowns of large cities like New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, often serve Pu-erh tea, or a blend of Pu-erh with chrysanthemum flowers. In reference to this phenomenon, one brand of tea, Foojoy, sells Chrysanthemum Pu-erh under the name “Dim Sum Bo Nay Tea”.
Choosing oolong, pu-erh, jasmine, and other teas:
Although some restaurants do use tea bags, many use loose-leaf tea, and the best teas are generally only available in loose-leaf form. If you are lucky enough to live near a specialty loose-leaf tea store, or an Asian store with a good selection of loose tea, this may be a good option. However, most Americans do not have this luxury, and must resort to buying from an online retailer. Buying tea online, where you do not have the opportunity to see or smell the leaf, can be a bit intimidating if you are not familiar with the different varieties of tea. A little background information can go a long way towards knowing what to buy.
Oolong, also sometimes spelled “wu long” is a partially-oxidized tea, intermediate between green and black teas. Many oolongs served in Chinese restaurants are roasted fairly strongly, giving them a dark color and a roasted aroma. Jasmine tea is a floral-scented tea, made by mixing tea leaves (usually of green or pouchong tea) with jasmine flowers. It has a strong floral aroma, often described as perfumy. Chinese green tea is very diverse, but most of it is pan-fired, giving it a toastier quality than Japanese greens; some Chinese green tea has a mild smoky aroma, as the tea is pan-fired in woks heated by wood fires. Pu-erh tea is a post-fermented tea, meaning that it is often aged and improves with age. Pu-erh has an earthy aroma and smooth flavor which blends well with Chrysanthemum flowers.
There is no one type of tea that is universally served in Chinese restaurants in the United States; however, oolong, jasmine, Chinese green tea, and Pu-erh are common kinds that are served, with Chrysanthemum Pu-erh being especially common in Cantonese restaurants serving dim sum. The best way to purchase any of these teas is to buy them in loose-leaf form. For people not able to find them in a local shop, these varieties of tea are all available through online retailers.
Chinese Restaurant Business Plans – Why You Need One
When you start a business you have to know what you are getting yourself into. The restaurant business can throw many surprises at new owners so you must do your research and know exactly what to expect. Many owners of Chinese restaurants that failed within the first year will blame their failure on a lack of planning. If you spend some time researching and writing a business plan for your Chinese restaurant then you will be more likely to see your business succeed.
There are many reasons why it makes sense to prepare a business plan prior to opening a restaurant. Some benefits will seem obvious to you at first but others may not yet have occurred to you.
In the following article we highlight some of the reasons why you need to put together a restaurant business plan before you take the plunge and open up the dim sum or Beijing cuisine restaurant that you have been dreaming about.
When you start a restaurant you will have to make a lot of different decisions. Some of these decisions can be difficult or expensive to reverse at a late date so you must be sure that you make the correct choices the first time around. By doing the right kind of research and planning you will be able to make informed decisions instead of just guessing.
Imagine opening a Chinese restaurant and then discovering that there are too many located nearby or that there is a trend towards European style cuisine over Asian food among households in your area. In some cases you would have to correct a poorly informed decision by totally re-branding your business and paying for new interior decorating, a new logo, new menus and much more. Your business plan should let you know the right path to follow at the right time.
Clarify Thoughts and Ideas
By writing a business plan you will be able to turn your loose ideas into something more concrete. As you research and write you will allow some of your ideas to evolve and you may come up with new ideas altogether. You may even decide that the ideas that you had originally are not viable at all and look at a totally different business model or industry.
Prove the Viability of Your Proposal
While a business plan is essential for proving the viability of the proposed business to yourself as the future owner, you may have to provide proof to other parties as well. Lenders will want to know more about your business before you can borrow funds from them. Equity investors will want to know what kind of return they will be getting on their investment before they invest. You may even find that a business plan can come in handy when it comes to negotiating a lease with the owner of a commercial space that you would like to rent.
Identify Difficulties and Challenges
It is easy to dream about the Chinese restaurant that you would love to set up and how glamorous it must be to own a restaurant. However, you may be viewing the prospect of being a restaurant owner through rose tinted glasses without imagining the difficulties that go along with it. Some business plan formats encourage you to perform a SWOT analysis. In such an analysis you look at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. By asking the right questions you will come to learn about the weaknesses of your business model and how you can strengthen them. You will also be challenged to analyze some of the threats that could affect your restaurant and to come up with contingency plans to deal with them.
Assess Startup Requirements
It is important to understand that launching a new Chinese restaurant is a process and a business plan can help you to manage this process. You must have a clear idea of what you need and a schedule so that you can proceed to set up an operational restaurant in an organized manner. There are many things that have to happen in a logical order before you can open your doors to diners. To fully understand each step you will need to know your startup costs, where the funding will come from, how you will acquire equipment, when you will hire staff and much more. There will also be actions that you have to take to comply with local rules and regulations relating to restaurant owners.
Understand Exactly What You Want
You need to know exactly what you want before you can map out a path to get there. Your Chinese restaurant business plan will help you to set some realistic goals and targets. Goals could be related to monthly gross or net profits, restaurant capacity levels or customer satisfaction for example. Once you have set some reasonable goals you can then look at putting systems in place to achieve them.
Make Your Chinese Restaurant Marketable to Potential Buyers
There comes a point in most restaurant owner’s lives when they decide to sell their restaurant. When this day comes you can be sure that prospective buyers will want to examine a huge amount of information about the business before they decide to make an offer. If you have an up to date business plan it could make it easier to supply most of the information that a buyer would need. If your plan does a good job at explaining the present situation in the restaurant and outlines a way forward to further growth then it could become an invaluable resource for you, and the new owner.
Online Chinese Restaurant Supply is Just One of Three Competitive Advantages
At first glance, opening up a new Chinese restaurant business might seem like an impossible task to achieve, especially during this economy. However, if one was to really capture all the positives and have a more optimistic approach, this task will only seem like a grasp away. Right now, you might be a little pessimistic of my introduction, but I can assure you I am well experienced within the restaurant business. Okay, let’s face it, when thinking of the possible ways to uphold a competitive advantage and sustain your share of the market versus your competition, there are really only 3 things you should focus on; an online Chinese restaurant supplier, menu of new dishes, and attractive restaurant appearance.
Acquiring a Chinese restaurant supplier is crucial to the success of your business. Once obtained, you will notice the level of chaos subsiding and the number of frantic employees will diminish. A supplier’s objective is to simplify their customer’s business flow to a more smooth process and enforce cost efficient means of business leading them onto the route of success. Affordable quality is what everyone is in search for nowadays and most will not accept anything less appealing. There are numerous Chinese restaurant supplies online providing this standard nationwide. Just Google “Chinese restaurant supply” and see for yourself.
Typically, you can find a Chinese restaurant almost in every street corner. If you’ve been to a few, you’ll notice that ninety percent of them have the same exact dishes. If you want a successful restaurant business you have to separate yourself from the competition. If you think about it, that ninety percent has already given you a head start in the race. All that is required is to take action and create your competitive advantage through fresh and unique dishes. New dishes will certainly ignite word of mouth advertising and ultimately help attract more customers to your location.
In the restaurant business, appearance is very important. No one wants to eat at broken down, fly infested restaurant. To get hold of repeat customers, this is where majority of the revenue come from, appearance is definitely a concern. The environment should be friendly and inviting for customers. Creating a warm environment for your customers will enhance their restaurant experience. Be aware of feedback and reviews posted on the internet as well. Nowadays, most people refer to online reviews when deciding on which restaurant to go to. Your restaurant reviews online should not be a problem if you are keeping your restaurant’s appearance and environment dazzling.
Now that you are well equipped with 3 advantages, why not start one right away, eh? First, take a gander at some potential online Chinese restaurant suppliers and make a top 10 list. Contact them and see if they could possibly work out a deal with some of your future purchases. Trust me, for more clients, they will listen and try to win your business. Afterwards, do some research and gather some ideas for new dishes. Test and evaluate these dishes using friends and family. Once reviewed, filter out the bad and keep the delicious! Finally, find a location with lots of potential. Not just a place where you could hang a menu and throw some tables and chairs in. Remember, atmosphere is important when eating in. Paint, decorate, illuminate, and arrange your eating place into a stylish and relaxed bistro.
10 Steps to Remember When Eating at a Chinese Restaurant
Chinese food appeals to many of us because it is tasty and relatively inexpensive. We are also under the impression that Chinese cuisine is healthy as it includes large portions of vegetables and low amounts of fat. That’s true when the dishes are prepared the traditional Chinese way in China. But American-Chinese restaurants have modified their food for American tastes and as a result, it is not as healthy as the traditional one. Western Chinese restaurants offer appetizers, fried rice, meat rolled in butter, and sweet sauces among their “goodies”. And to top it all, the portions are much larger than the ones served in mainland China. That’s why, having all this in mind, if you want to eat healthy at a Chinese restaurant, you have to choose wisely.
1. Start by choosing a good restaurant
When you are in the mood for Chinese food, avoid the typical Chinese restaurant where you can eat as much as you want for a fix price. Chances are you may not want to leave the restaurant until you feel you got your money’s worth. Unfortunately, if you do so, the restaurant will get your money but you will get the calories. Not a win-win situation. Instead, go to a restaurant where the waiter takes your order.
2. Start with a soup
A smart move when eating at a Chinese restaurant is to order a soup. Two advantages: first, less overall fat in your meal and second, the soup broth will fill you up. This translates into eating less when the waiter brings the main course.
By starting your meal with an appetizer you may ruin your goal of calories, carbohydrates, fat, etc. Pork ribs, egg rolls, fried wonton and any other fried foods are high in fat, sugar, and calories. If the waitress brings Chinese fried noodles to keep you busy until the food is served, put them aside or ask her to remove them from the table. Instead, you can kill time while you wait for the food by drinking Chinese tea. No calories there unless you add sugar.
3. Choosing the main course
When choosing the main course look for dishes that are abundant in vegetables and have small portions of meat. You can reduce calories by choosing seafood or chicken instead of choosing beef, pork, lamb or duck. You can also order two dishes: one that has meat as the base and one that is mainly vegetables such as green beans or spinach and mix them.
4. Avoid fatty dishes
Read the menu carefully and avoid for the fattiest dishes. Some words will give you a clue: beef rolled in butter or breadcrumbs, crunchy pork, etc. Find out if the meat was fried before being sauté with the vegetables. If that is the case, ask if they can sauté the meat you have chosen instead of frying it.
5. Watch out for hidden carbohydrates
Sweet and sour sauces as well as other typical sauces of the Chinese cuisine are full of carbohydrates and if you are diabetic, they can raise your blood sugar. Sugar and starches keep adding carbohydrates to many main dishes. You will also find carbohydrates in the corn flour used to thicken sauces and in the ingredients used to marinate the meat. Read the small print and ask a lot of questions to the waiter.
6. Be careful with the rice
You know that at a Chinese restaurant, you are going to be served a big bowl of rice and as you may be aware, rice contains many carbohydrates. Avoid fried rice and regular soy sauce to flavor it; you will end up with a lot of fat and sodium in your meal. If possible ask for brown rice which is rich in fiber. If they don’t have it available, hold the rice. Remember that a cup of rice has at least 45 grams of carbohydrate.
7. Reduce the salt
Order dishes with light sauces, not too thick. If you need soy sauce ask for the low sodium version and mix it with steamed brown rice, not with fried rice. To add flavor to your meal you can add some hot sauce; it has less sodium and less calories.
8. Share the dishes
If you have company, order one main dish, a soup or aperitif and some rice. Then, share it.
9. Eat with chopsticks
Eat your meal with chopsticks. If you are as skillful with them as I am, they may slow you down. But don’t worry because as everything in life, it has a positive side: you will probably eat less. Don’t fall into the temptation of asking for a fork and a knife; you may regret it.
10. And for dessert…
As for dessert, order fruit and never mind the ice-cream with sugared walnuts which I know by experience it is hard to resist. But if you have followed the above recommendations, you will feel pretty good about having eaten a healthy meal. So, why ruining it?
Chinese Restaurant Supplies
The popularity and demand for Chinese cuisine is so much that there is hardly any Chinese restaurant that is not overcrowded. The oriental food is well known for its wonderful flavor and method of preparation. However, without the right ingredients and utensils, it is impossible to do good business. This is why one who runs an eatery cannot do without wholesale Chinese restaurant supplies.
Find the Right Supplier
A standard restaurant must necessarily have a good stock of essential items such as bamboo skewers, to-go boxes, woks and chopsticks. All this and more can be easily purchased online instead of going to retailers.
The advantage of purchasing from a top quality online store selling Chinese restaurant supplies is that you can be assured of getting genuine products in both small and large quantity in various specifications. There are online suppliers who guarantee to ship the supplies in just one or two days. With this, you can be sure that your supplies won’t run dry and the stocks would be replenished before it is too late.
A simple online search sitting in the convenience of your home or shop would get you a list of suppliers who sell the goods you want. You can compare the difference in cost of various supplies with their competitors and take advantage of free shipping. With all products sold at discounted rates online and shopping made so enjoyable and convenient, you cannot hope for a better deal.
Run Your Business in Full Swing
By getting all your Chinese restaurant supplies from a wholesale supplier, you would never find yourself in a tight situation. It is one of the most essential aspects to consider for running a business in full swing. Make sure to buy products that bear the hallmark of Chinese culture so that your customers would have a real taste of this delightful cuisine. Customer satisfaction would be at an all time high as your customers would be literally living the Chinese experience.
Miami Chinese Restaurants
Tropical Chinese, located in Westchester near Tropical Park, is our favorite Chinese Dim Sum restaurant in Miami. Sit Down and relax while the Dim Sum comes around in steaming carts. If you are unfamiliar with Dim Sum, it is small dishes of Chinese food served as snacks. This Miami restaurant has been around for years and usually is packed on Saturdays and Sundays for lunch so try to get there early. Dim Sum is not served for dinner, buy you can still order some exotic dishes.
The Menu: In addition to the traditional Chinese restaurant dishes, you can order exotic dishes such as Sliced Abalone with sea cucumber in a hot clay pot or Braised Sea Cucumber with spicy sauce.
Red Lantern, in Coconut Grove, is our favorite Chinese delivery restaurant in Miami. When Red Lantern says that the delivery will take 30-40 minutes, the food usually arrives under 20 minutes. If you do not live in the Grove, delivery may be limited and may take longer.
The Menu: We recommend the Fried Noodle Dish ($10) with chicken or pork and the General Tso’s Chicken ($11).
New Chinatown, in Sunset/South Miami, is our favorite Chinese dinner and a movie restaurant in Miami. New Chinatown, located on the corner of Sunset Place, is close to shopping and the movies. New Chinatown prepares Szechuan, Mandarin, and Cantonese dishes, so it should not be too difficult to find something you like.
The Menu: From the Cantonese menu, we recommend the Tree Treasures ($20), which is lightly fried scallops, shrimp and calamari mixed with garlic and broccoli. From the Mandarin menu, you will find more typical dishes such as Kung Pao and Orange chicken; however, the Ta-Chien Chicken ($12) is worth a try. It is diced chicken with stir fried mushrooms, baby corn and a special sauce.
China Grill, in South Beach, is our favorite upscale Chinese restaurant in Miami. China Grill, the Sister restaurant to New York’s China Grill, has a spectacular atmosphere created from the Egyptian limestone, wraparound bar, and wood floors. There is even an ice-top sushi bar and bar that wraps around the restaurant.
The Menu: Exquisite items that we recommend include the Stir Fried Lobster Pancakes with red chili and scallions, the Black Fettuccine topped with grilled garlic shrimp, and the Tempura Sashimi.
Low Calorie Dining – How to Eat Healthy at a Chinese Restaurant?
The authentic Chinese delicacies are rich in vegetables and usually cooked with little or no oil, owing to which they can be made a part of a low-calorie diet. However, the food offered at the Chinese restaurants in the West is nothing but a ‘Westernized’ version of the traditional Chinese food. These American-Chinese and Canadian-Chinese cuisines are rich in fat and calories and hence, it is very necessary to make healthy choices from the Western-Chinese food menu if you are following a strict low-calorie diet.
Following are a few guidelines that will help to eat healthy at your favorite Chinese restaurant:
1) When it comes to placing an order for appetizers, you should avoid foods like egg rolls and spareribs. Instead, you can opt for egg drop or wonton soups. Any low calorie broth-based soups will best suit your diet plan.
2) Other main course dishes that you can order include Chinese delicacies, such as the Shrimp Chow Mien, Moo Goo Gai Pan, Steamed Spring Rolls, Teriyaki Chicken Skewer, and Chicken served with broccoli and Chop Suey.
3) Any dish that includes steamed or boiled chicken or shrimp, and steamed vegetables is a good choice.
4) Do not order dishes that are made with sweet and thick sauces. Also, avoid any food that is battered or floured and then deep-fried. A dish prepared with loads of vegetables and little oil is the best choice you can make. Instead of the deep-fried foods, you can opt for the stir-fried, roasted or broiled ones.
5) Although fried rice is one of the most popular Chinese foods, it should be strictly avoided if you are really keen on following your low-calorie diet plan. Fried rice, especially the one made with eggs, is rich in fats and cholesterol and is a big ‘NO’ when it comes to including Chinese foods in your diet plan. If you are fond of rice, you can try brown rice that is healthier than fried rice.
6) Think twice before placing an order for dished that are described as “crispy” or “battered” in the food menu. Also watch out for dishes that include noodles, chow mien, and marinades.
7) Other bad choices would include Kung Pao chicken, crispy duck, dishes laden with rich sauces like Hoi sin, dumplings, and lo mien.
To conclude, Chinese cuisine offers a lot of healthy choices that can be made a part of your health diet, but you need to be prepared before visiting your favorite Chinese restaurant.
Learn to Use Chopsticks Before Visiting Your Favorite Chinese Restaurant
There is a popular saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, and following similar lines, it would not be wrong to say, “When in a Chinese Restaurant, eat as the Chinese Eat!” To be more precise, if you really wish to experience the rich Chinese tradition when in a Chinese restaurant, do not hesitate to follow the Chinese etiquettes and try to eat your food using chopsticks.
If you do not know how to use chopsticks, you need not worry. Following are a few simple guidelines that will help you learn using chopsticks before you visit any restaurant:
1) As plastic chopsticks are very slippery and harder to use for beginners, it is better to first practice with wood or bamboo chopsticks that are much easier to hold.
2) Never hold the chopsticks near the top or bottom. Instead, grab the chopsticks in the middle such that their ends are even and not crossed. However, small kids will find it easier to hold chopsticks near the bottom.
3) The first chopstick should be held in a manner such that it rests at ease between the tip of your ring finger and the space between your thumb and index finger. Bear in mind that while doing this, your fourth finger should be kept straight. This will be the bottom chopstick.
4) Now, place the other chopstick firmly on the top, between the tips of your index finger, thumb, and the middle finger. This is the top chopstick.
5) When eating, the bottom chopstick should be kept stationary, while the top chopstick should be used to maneuver and pick up food.
6) Also, while picking up food, make sure your index and middle fingers are straightened enough to move the top chopstick outward.
7) Once you grab the food with the chopstick, curl your index and middle fingers to bring the chopsticks together. Then, just lift the food up to your mouth and lean if necessary.
In short, the basic principle behind using chopsticks is that your thumb should act as an axle and the chopstick as a pivot. Using chopsticks is no less than an art and only practice can make you perfect.
Basic Terms on Chinese Restaurant Menus
In today’s modern Chinese restaurants even a more traditional menu will come with English translations for many of the more common Chinese food terms. It is, however, always handy to have knowledge of some to the basic terms just in case you find yourself in need.
Here are eleven definitions that range from vegetables to duck for some of the more common items found in Chinese restaurants.
Choy = vegetable. Vegetables or Choy are found in many Chinese food dishes. This versatile ingredient can be found in stand alone dishes or accompanied by meat.
Dun = egg and is often found in dishes like Egg Foo Young where eggs or Dun are combined with a wide variety of accompaniments like rice, chicken, vegetables and bean sprouts.
Fon = rice and is most familiar in Fried Rice which comes with peas, carrots and pork or in sticky short grained white rice.
Gai = chicken and is a very adaptable ingredient to use in dishes like Cashew Chicken or Moo Shu Chicken where the chicken is thin sliced and served with vegetables, plum sauce and a thin pancake.
Har = shrimp and can be found in Peking Shrimp which can sometimes still be found by its traditional name of Beijing Far Jue Har.
Mien = noodle and is a soft warm noodle served with chicken or pork and vegetables. The all too common chow mien noodle is a crunchy version of the original.
Moo ghoo = mushroom. Moo Ghoo Gai Pan, which means sliced chicken and mushrooms, is an easily found dish on most Chinese restaurant menus.
Op = duck. Op or duck is not as common as chicken or pork but is a delicacy that is worth tasting.
Pien = sliced, proper slicing is key to Chinese cooking.
Suen = sour
Tiem = sweet. Most often times you will see sweet and sour in the same dish such as Sweet and Sour Pork which contains pork, pineapple and green peppers in a sweet sauce.