Do Chinese Restaurants Use Real Chicken?

Last Updated on June 2, 2023 by Lauren Beck

Contrary to popular belief, most Chinese restaurants use real chicken, not fake substitutes. While some may choose imitation chicken for cost and convenience, it’s not the norm.

When dining out, simply ask the waiter or chef to confirm. Rest assured, authentic chicken is commonly found in Chinese cuisine.

How Chinese Restaurants Tenderize Chickens

Here’s a look at how some Chinese restaurants prepare their chicken dishes:

  • Soaking the chicken in a marinade of baking soda and water for about an hour before cooking. This tenderizes the meat and makes it more moist.
  • Using a pressure cooker to cook the chicken, which also tenderizes the meat.
  • Deep frying the chicken gives it a crispy exterior and tender interior.
  • Stir-frying the chicken is a quick cooking method that results in tender meat.

As you can see, there are a variety of ways that Chinese restaurants can tenderize their chicken dishes.

While some methods may be more authentic than others, all of them will result in tender and delicious chicken.

What Kind of Meat Does Chinese Restaurants Use?

Many different types of meat are used in Chinese restaurants, including chicken, pork, beef, and lamb.

While some restaurants may use real chicken, others may use a variety of imitation or processed meats.

It is important to ask your server about the ingredients in your dish before ordering to be sure you know what you’re getting.

Why Does Chicken From Chinese Restaurants Taste Different?

There are a few reasons why chicken from Chinese restaurants may taste different than the chicken you’re used to eating.

First, the chickens used in Chinese cuisine are often free-range or organic, meaning they have a different diet than most commercially raised chickens.

This can result in a more robust flavour. Additionally, Chinese chefs often use dark meat chicken, which has a richer flavour than white meat.

Finally, the cooking methods used in Chinese cuisine tend to be more intense than those used in Western cuisine, resulting in more flavorful and moist chicken.

Is Sesame Chicken Really Chicken?

sesame chicken with rice in bowl

The answer to this question depends on the restaurant you’re ordering from. Some restaurants use real chicken in their sesame chicken dishes, while others use a variety of imitation or processed meats.

It is important to ask your server about the ingredients in your dish before ordering to be sure you know what you’re getting.

Do Chinese Restaurants Use MSG?

The use of MSG in Chinese restaurants is a controversial topic. Some people believe that MSG contributes to the “Chinese restaurant syndrome,” [1] which is a collection of symptoms that some people experience after eating Chinese food.

These symptoms include headache, nausea, and heart palpitations. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

MSG is a common ingredient in many foods, not just Chinese cuisine, and it is unlikely that it is the cause of the “Chinese restaurant syndrome.”

If you are concerned about MSG, you can ask your server if the dish you’re ordering contains it.

How Do Chinese Restaurants Get Chicken So Thin?

Chinese restaurants can get their chicken slices so thin in a few different ways. First of all, they may use a very sharp knife to slice the meat thinly.

Additionally, they may pound the chicken flat with a rolling pin or mallet before slicing it. This tenderizes the meat and makes it easier to slice thinly.

Finally, some restaurants may use a machine to slice the chicken thinly. This results in perfectly even and thin slices of meat that are perfect for stir-frying.

Why Is Chinese Chicken So Different?

Chinese chicken dishes stand out due to different cooking methods, seasonings, regional variations, freshness, and cultural influences.

These factors contribute to the unique and varied flavours found in Chinese cuisine.


Chinese restaurants use real chicken in many dishes, but it’s crucial to inquire about specific items.

If you have concerns, ask your server about the ingredients before ordering. Dark meat chicken is favored in Chinese cuisine for its richer flavour compared to white meat.

Chinese cooking techniques involve intense heat, resulting in flavorful and moist chicken. Embrace the allure of dark meat, inquire about ingredients, and relish the remarkable flavours of Chinese cuisine.


Lauren Beck
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