When you’re on the keto diet, getting takeout can be mildly stressful. If you don’t already know a restaurant’s menu, you can spend a lot of time hemming and hawing only to end up ordering one of the same safe options that are common to most fast food joints: bunless burgers or sandwiches or a meaty-cheesy salad with a low-carb dressing. But if your shopping trip includes a T&T, or similar Asian grocery store, stop by their take-out meal section, offering a wide variety refrigerated, fully cooked/prepared dishes that can either be eaten as is, or taken home and heated up. This is different from the fast food stalls for which T&T is also well-known. You may be surprised by the range of keto-friendly options, and might even find a few items marked down. While most options can be eaten as is, my favourite way to do T&T takeout is to bring it home so I can pair the foods with low-carb cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles or broth.

T&T Asian Grocery Keto Take-out Options: What to Look For

The packaged take-out food at T&T is all Asian in origin, primarily from countries, like China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, etc. If you know what to look for, and are willing to try new things (if you’re not familiar with Asian foods) it’s pretty easy to find a lot of keto options.

1. Eggs. There are two main egg options that I tend to look for. Marinated eggs, usually a brownish-gray colour, may not look like much on the outside, but they are super tasty. Tamago, which is literally Japanese for “egg”, is basically an omelette with nothing in it cut into strips. Both of these can be eaten cold, or added to hot cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, shirataki noodles or broth.

2. Roasted or Grilled Meats. You can find lots of different options in this category, chicken, duck, beef, pork etc, all in a variety of forms. Roast pork with the crackling skin is super keto, and is one of my usual picks. Roast chicken or duck usually comes in a few different styles. Some of it can be found hot under a heat lamp, others are cooked, packaged and refrigerated, intended to be heated at home. The marinated chicken wings in the cold section are one of my favourite choices. Also, don’t write off things things that may sound weird, like pig ears or beef tongue. It’s cheap enough to try at least once, and you may find you’re a fan. Just bear in mind that a lot of the sauces and marinades in these meats will have some sugar, some more than others. Avoid the ones that are stickier in consistency, like honey garlic, teriyaki, etc. Roast meats with minimal sauce are your safest bets.

Pre-cooked, packaged take-out food section at T&T

3. Soy Products. You’ll find a variety of different kinds of cooked tofu/bean curd options in the refrigerated section. They options offered can vary, but I really like the four treasure bean curd, and you really can’t go wrong with edamame (steamed soy beans still in their shells).

4. Salads. I usually go to the Japanese side for cold keto-friendly salads. Gomae, a spinach salad with a sesame dressing, is my favourite with seaweed salad made with wakame a close second. Korean kimchi, a spicy picked Asian cabbage, is another great choice, chock full of probiotics.

Carving Your Own Keto Asian Takeout Path

This really only scratches the surface of the different options, just enough to get you started and open your mind to the variety of possibilities. Admittedly, cold food that you heat up yourself isn't going to be as good as food that is served hot, and it certainly isn't as convenient, but it is a great, low-budget option that still offers a lot of options for low-carbers. Personally, I love doing takeout to take home. It's just like I would used to do with my family growing up. It also makes it easier for me to make it a fuller meal by pairing the purchased foods with my low-carb options to make the most of the meal and still keep it keto. In a perfect world they would offer cooked cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, etc at the T&T, so you don’t necessarily have to bring it home, but for that time being, that’s not the world we live in. For now, head over to T&T and treat yourself to an easy, keto takeout meal that you don’t have to cook yourself (mostly).