What to Eat: Noodles or Rice?

At some Asian restaurants, you can choose rice or noodles (like lo mein) on the side. Which is best?

If you’re talking about a side dish at a quick-order restaurant like Pei Wei or Manchu Wok, go with rice to save on sodium. At Pei Wei, for example, an order of egg noodles has 1,010 milligrams of sodium. At Manchu Wok, the lo mein noodles have 850 mg and the Shanghai noodles will set you back 1,620 mg.


In contrast, steamed rice has essentially no sodium. And Pei Wei and some other chains offer brown rice, which has more fiber and vitamins than white. Just steer clear of the fried rice (800 to 1,200 mg of sodium). And watch out for main-dish noodles.

Tip: Ask for a side dish of vegetables instead of rice or noodles. The sodium (about 500 mg) isn’t low, but the veggies have fewer calories (about 100) than the rice or noodles (300 to 400). And the vegetables’ potassium may counter the load of sodium in the rest of your Asian food.


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4 Replies to “What to Eat: Noodles or Rice?”

  1. I love Asian food but I have learned to make it at home that way I can control the ingredients, eating out is definitely for special occasions.

  2. I’ve always opted for the brown rice but am concerned about the arsenic content of rice that has been in the news lately.

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