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Chinese Take-outs in Philadelphia Get a Makeover

Update Date: Jun 05, 2013 10:18 AM EDT

No matter which city people go to, there always seems to be at least one Chinese take-out restaurant. The image of ordering Chinese food has been portrayed numerous times in movies and shows, and now, this type of cuisine has been ingrained into the American culture. Since Chinese take-out might be a tasty and easy dinner option, people could easily forget about the unhealthy but popular ingredient, soy sauce, which is packed with sodium. Now, in Philadelphia, PA, Chinese take-out restaurants are getting a makeover. Philadelphia aims to make your next Chinese take-out meal low-sodium.

Philadelphia has started a program that invited chefs from nearly 200 Chinese take-out restaurants. This program included free cooking lessons as well as cooking tips on how to make foods tasty but with less or no salt added. The program also taught these chefs and restaurant owners how to use and find products made with low-sodium ingredients that will not break the bank. To see if the program was effective, city officials sampled two popular Chinese take-out orders and recorded the salt content. After the program, the city officials returned and ordered the same dishes. They were surprised to find that the dishes were 20 percent less salty than before.

According to Giridhar Mallya, the director of policy and planning from Philadelphia's Department of Public Health, the city decided to target Chinese restaurants as opposed to other eateries that also incorporate a lot of sodium into their foods due to demographics.

"We know that there are at least 400 Chinese take-out restaurants in Philadelphia." Mallya stated. "They are predominately in low-income, African-American and Hispanic communities." Based from statistics, the city knows that these communities have some of the highest rates for heart disease and high blood pressure. These communities are also have a higher risk of developing these health issues, which is why targeting Chinese restaurants is important in possibly lowering these numbers.

Although a little bit of salt will not drastically hurt your health, food options in America have become too salty for our own good. Due to the increased salt consumption, cities have adopted the National Salt Reduction Initiative, which is headed by no other than the New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. This initiative aims to reduce America's salt intake by 20 percent in 2014. 

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