Oriental Food? What do you do?

As a treat, I LOVE Thai, Chinese, Japanese (sushi), Viet Namese food. BUT it is so difficult for me to bolus for. Had Japanese Sushi and tempura tonight. Very little rice (a couple of tablespoons, but there was probably sugar in the sticky rice) and I ate the veggie tempura only. I originally bolused for 45 carbs (square wave), but after the whole meal was there, I stopped the bolus in progress to reduce the carbs to 25. Now, two hours after the meal, I am 198 (pump says 213 and keeps beeping at me). Still have sufficient insulin to bring it down, but often the mathematics do not work.

I am just curious–how do you handle oriental food? I find it such a guessing game!

For me the question is how do we handle ANY restaurant food? I swear they keep a vat of carb sauce by the door to the dining room to dunk stuff in. The same meal I make at home (steak, green beans, salad) requires so much more insulin at a restaurant! Looking forward to reading replies.

Good fresh Asian food should not cause a problem, but you do need to ask questions about ingredients. I would suggest skipping the rice. I can never bolus accurately for rice and long ago stopped trying. Also make sure they don’t use sugar or cornstarch in sauces, both of which are common. You also don’t want things with breading. Either closely question ingredients or go with meat/fish/vegie ingredients that have no sauce at all.

Still trying to figure out how to bolus for sushi, I LOVE the stuff. We have a huge real oriental buffet nearby, and usually the sushi is pretty much the only carb I eat other than a couple of dumplings. I’ve just been SWAGing for the amount of rice I think I’m eating (in the sushi) and adding 5 cho for what I missed. I do pretty well with everything but the sushi… grrrrrrrr

The stuff on Tempura is pretty loaded with carbs. I think w/ stuff like the coating, the finer it is ground up, the denser the carb count is? I usually try to avoid the fried stuff. My in laws are Korean and get this pork stuff w/ really thick, heavy batter on it that’s good but I’m like “what is the nutrition label on this stuff, 100G carb and 1600 mg of sodium and 50G of fat/ serving? 0 vitamins of any sort. And 16G of protein…” to myself.

I had Chinese tonight, we got a fish in black pepper sauce, not coated but likely corn starch in the sauce as it was thick, a Mongolian combo w/ shrimp chicken and pork, probably the same deal but the sauce didn’t taste quite as thick, and some fried rice and white rice, maybe 1/4 cup of each. I blame the thick sauces more than any sugar in the rice. I think the sugary rice is more common with sushi but I don’t think that it’s more than a few Tbsp./ giant rice cooker so the amount of sugar/ serving is pretty negligible? I think that it’s the sauce in the dishes where the carbs lurk. I guessed 75G of carbs and CGM’s last 3 readings are 92-94-97 so it may have been a bit of an overshoot. Oh wait, I had a Crab Rangoon and a beer too so maybe not?

I’m usually pretty good at acronyms, but what on earth is SWAG? Sight-something-something.guess??

Scientific Wild @$$ Guess ;o)

Zoe, Scientific Wild ■■■ Guess. I must admit, I SWAG most of my meals since I don’t eat much in the way of processed or packaged food and I don’t have the patience to weigh food.

Ah, thanks guys! I don’t eat much packaged food either, but I don’t weight, I just have lists of carbs for ingredients that I use. Slowly but surely all my cookbooks are getting marked up with carb counts!

Sorry about that Zoe! AR that sounds like a fab meal. Now I’m hungry for some korean pickled veggies…

I figure with Chinese that their veggies & meat are great, I eat a T of rice, and I eat half a meal. After 2.5 hours I correct.

MY math is ALWAYS correct for the rice, veggies and meat, but the sauce’s math is never figured. :frowning: When it keeps beeping, I have to figure SOMETHING was not in the math, right? And it wasn’t a bulging full stomach as in Bernstein’s Chinese.

Kidding aside. Chinese is the only thing my husband will eat since he always has GERD. So I go through the above each time. It’s better to get out than to not get out. My chef friend knows what’s right and what people will eat, and what’s in a restaurant is what people will eat.

Before dx I used to pick up really tasty ready-made food at my local Korean shop. I used to enjoy the steamed buns with pork and veg but now I don’t consider that worth bolusing for.

So I was thrilled to find that they stock DIY bibimbap. (Beef with assorted vegetables, eaten with Korean hot pepper sauce and sticky rice, for those that need a translation.) It’s just the beef and lots of different veg. You’re supposed to add your own sauce and rice. Score! I take it home, add my own hot pepper sauce plus extra Louisiana hot sauce, and serve the beef and veg on top of a bed of shirataki noodles. I do my standard no-carb meal 4 unit bolus and it’s flatline all the way.

Of course I’d prefer it with sticky rice (I looooove Korean/Japanese sticky rice) but I like the flatline even more.

Well firstly I think this is a ‘restaurant food’ issue rather than an ‘Oriental food’ issue. I cook most of my own food and my cooking reflects me having lived on three continents, and virtually everything I make at home is lower in carb than the equivalent that you would get in a restaurant serving that sort of cuisine.

As a general rule, a soup spoon of rice is 10g of carb. I don’t eat sushi often but when I do, I have guesstimated each ball of rice to be about 7.5g of carb. There is a little sugar in the rice but not enough to spike you. When eating sushi, I stretch the carbs by only eating half the amount of rice under the fish. (I have a helpful other half with a fully functioning pancreas who loves rice so there is no wastage.)

Tempura is more tricky because it falls into the killer high fat high carb combination. So you’ll get the same problems as bolusing for pizza. Also hard to know exactly how much batter is on each piece.

What I found very useful was to leaf through cookbooks of various cuisines just to familiarize myself with the carb contents of various foods. That also flags up potential carb hotspots that you might not have been aware of, e.g. how Spanish garlic soup might be thickened with bread, or how British sausages are bulked out with rusk (carb).

Also as a general rule, the more Americanized the food, the more carby it’s likely to be. Anything with crispy coating and a thick gloopy sauce is going to be extra carbs.

Here are some of my low-carb picks:

  • Vietnamese pho noodle soup, eaten without the rice noodles. This always comes with sides of raw bean sprouts, onions and herbs, and I fill up on all of these.
  • Many Vietnamese grill dishes are combinations of marinated meat/seafood + salad and herbs + rice noodles. Just leave out the rice noodles. The dipping sauce has some sugar in it but unless you are drinking it by the bucketload, it shouldn’t spike you
  • Mongolian hot wok dishes are diabetes-friendly. You select the raw ingredients you want and they will fry it up in front of you. The sauces for these are not thickened with cornstarch
  • Japanese bento set meals where you get a little bit of lots of things. Usually miso soup, pickles, salad, grated daikon, a grilled or fried entree, sticky rice and a piece of fruit. Ask nicely if they can substitute the rice for extra salad. Usually the rice is the only thing in the bento that is very carby. The fruit tends to be cut very small.

I have to disagree with the suggestion to leave out the sauce because the sauce is the whole point of many dishes. Otherwise you might as well just have plain meat and vegetables at home. I don’t think anyway the real problem is the sauce, because I make my own cornstarch-thickened sauces at home all the time and they don’t spike me. The bigger problem is the crispy coating on the meat - because people like crispy, and to get it crispier, you stick more batter on it and that also makes it look bigger.

Lucky you Lila! None of our local Korean markets so that, but I do it myself once in a while. Love the shirataki noodles, especially the tofu ones. They do stock about 20 different kinds of shirataki LOL

For me, the shoe always drops between hours 4 and 7 after eating Chinese or Indian food. Nothing digests later than these meals, not even 5 slices of pizza or a full mexican meal! With practice I suppose you can nail this if you order the same meal every time and use extended bolus.

It depends. I lived in Korea for a long time and it was an issue. However, I’ll admit that I wasn’t adept at carb counting then. You should get something like The Calorie King guide and go from there. What I like about that guide is you can access it online too. It’s pretty much standard for me to whip out my Android phone or even my iPad to look up carb counts when I’m dining out.

Honestly, for me, there are some carb values that I’ve learned to just adjust. In restaurants it’s just difficult. Maybe experiment with take-out when you’re at home and can measure. Now that I have an idea of roughly what a cup of rice is, things are as bad as they were. However, even today I had leftover Chinese food a couple of times. Once my blood sugar was 145, which is good. Another it was 213 and the portion size was roughly the same. I think I might have suck more of something on that second time, but I was hoping for a better reading. With sushi, I’m pretty good. It’s when I add other stuff like seaweed salad (usually served sweet) that things are off. Good luck!

Thanks for all the tips. When I eat Chinese, I bolus 7 (70 carbs ) and eat within that range. I usually come out on top. I have used Calorie King and am aware of those carb counts, but they are often incorrect for oriental food.

I definately agree about the vat of carbs that all restaurant food is dunked in before service to a diabetic!

One interesting aside. I have a lot less problems in high end restaurants. We go the France frequently, and I rarely have problems there, even with the sauces and unfamiliar foods. I truly believe it is the ingredients used are fresher, more real that standard American restaurants.