Eating Gluten-Free At A Chinese Restaurant

6 January 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Increasingly, more people are being diagnosed with celiac disease and told to stay away from gluten. If you are one of these individuals, you know that eating gluten-free is a difficult diet to follow while still enjoying many of the foods you love, like Chinese food. But don't give up just yet! Order wisely and you will still be able to savor a meal at your favorite Chinese restaurant.

Stay Away From

Soy Sauce - Soy sauce contains gluten because it is brewed with wheat and includes caramel color. Since it is a basic ingredient to many Chinese dishes, it makes ordering food in a Chinese restaurant tricky.

Brown Sauces – It is wise to avoid any brown sauces because they may contain soy sauce.

Chicken – Many Chinese restaurants use chicken that is combined with textured vegetable protein which is usually not gluten free. Do not order chicken unless you are sure it is purely chicken.

Fried Vegetables or Meat – The breading on fried vegetables and meat is often made with wheat flour or bread crumbs that contain gluten.

Egg Rolls and Crab Rangoon – These fried appetizers are also likely to contain gluten because they are made with wheat flour.


Rice – Both brown and white rice are gluten-free. Brown rice contains beneficial fiber while steamed white rice is low in calories and fat. Try vegetable fried rice as a gluten-free option. You can also have shrimp with your fried rice.

Steamed Vegetables – In addition to being gluten-free, vegetables add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your diet. Buddha's feast, a dish of steamed vegetables served over steamed rice, is a good option.

Steamed Meat – Steamed or sauteed shrimp and crab are low in calories and high in protein. Sauteed beef, pork, and chicken (as long as it's real) are also gluten-free. Make sure to ask if the meat is marinated, though, as the marinade may contain gluten.

Rice Noodles – Rice noodles are naturally gluten-free. Chow Fun (wide rice noodles) and Mei Fun (thin rice noodles) are made with steamed vegetables. Just ask for these noodles to be prepared with a white sauce using cornstarch instead of soy sauce.

Spring Rolls – The wrapping on a spring roll is usually made with rice flour. This is a good choice if you want to order an appetizer for your meal.

Gluten-Free Soy Sauce – There are a few gluten-free soy sauces on the market. Bring some packets with you to flavor your meals or call ahead and ask the restaurant if they have these products available.

Additional Safe Foods

There are many other ingredients traditionally used in Chinese foods that are gluten-free. The following are all safe to have in your meal:

  • rice wine

  • rice vinegar

  • dried mushrooms

  • cornstarch

  • garlic

  • ginger root

  • spring onions

  • oyster sauce

  • sesame oil

  • chili paste

  • tofu

When ordering any food, remember not to take chances. If you don't know what's in the meal or whether a particular ingredient contains gluten, then skip it. Also, not all Chinese restaurants prepare their meals in the same way with the same ingredients. Ask lots of questions and order something that you know is safe so you can enjoy your Chinese meal without worry.

For more information, contact Ginger Beef Restaurants Coach Hill or a similar location.