My fave is Salted Duck Eggs. I'll eat one yolk and a couple of the whites, nothing else. Super duper salty but my favorite chinese of all time. Second is bitter melon and long eggplant sauteed in garlic and black beans until really tender. Third is a dinner of steamed mullet and a vegetable on the side called Ung Choi, which is what we call "Chinese Spinach", sauteed lightly in soy sauce and garlic and some other chinese salty seasonings. Boy you guys are making me miss my childhood home life.
That stuff in chinese restaurants to me isn't all that great, kinda like what Taco Bell is to authentic daily Mexican food. Blech.
If you sat at my family dinner table, you'd find true, daily, authentic chinese is extremely healthy, lowfat, high in vegetables and low in saturated fat. Small servings of a variety of things- steamed white rice, broth and vegetable soups, cabbage mixed with small amounts of meat and steamed, fish topped with pickled vegetables and broth and steamed, steamed chinese cabbage- all served family style so everyone shares. Much lighter fare than what is served in chinese (or american/mexican/etc.) restaurants. And the absence of milk products means much less fat and cholesterol. But there is much less quantities of meat served at meals than the american diet (and bodybuilding diets).
You can see the traditional food that chinese people actually eat if you go to the restaurants and observe what the workers are sitting off to the side eating with vigor- none of the rich, fattening, overly-seasoned commercialized stuff, but rather broth soups, juk (gruehl), eggs, vegetables and rice.
A michigan transplant friend and his wife have a great idea. They visit chinatown weekly. Not only do they get meat, seafood and produce that is fresher and less costly, but they find neat new things in the little chinese grocery type shops, then they hook up with a chinese friend (often me) and ask how to prepare them. I turned them on to their salted duck egg habit but I don't think they're yet ready for the acquired taste of black herb jello, and they crack up at chicken feet. But their chinatown trecks are a ton of fun for them and a cultural adventure. They also get fresh jumbo shrimp and lobster for a fraction of what you'd find in Costco or the grocery stores and they're much fresher. Anyway, going to chinatown is a great way to get inexpensive protein and produce foods and as well learn about different kinds of asian foods. Also, the guys in the "Eating Organ Meats" forum would really go crazy at the chinese meat markets where organs (and whole animal heads, feet, tails, ears) cost next to nothing. Anyway, try chinatown sometime!