Four Tips for Eating Gluten-Free at a Chinese Restaurant

Posted on: 25 July 2016

Chinese cuisine is delicious, but a trip to a Chinese restaurant can be stressful for someone who lives a gluten-free lifestyle. While some Chinese restaurants feature a gluten-free menu, there is a good chance that you may end up visiting a Chinese restaurant that does not have specific gluten-free dishes. Use the following tips to enjoy a Chinese meal while avoiding gluten.

Say No to Brown Sauces

A number of Chinese dishes feature brown sauces, and these are typically made with a substantial amount of soy sauce. Avoid any dish with a brown sauce if you do not want to accidentally ingest gluten during your meal. Look for items that are made with a Chinese white sauce; these sauces are usually thickened with cornstarch instead of flour, so they should be safe to eat. But when ordering a meal with a white sauce, don't forget to ask the restaurant manager or chef about the ingredients to ensure that there is no hidden gluten.

Bring Your Own Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a staple in Chinese cooking, but it can be difficult to find gluten-free soy sauce when dining out at restaurants. It is in your best interest to bring your own soy sauce to help flavor your food when eating at a restaurant. Gluten-free soy sauce packets can be purchased online and are easy to transport when going out to eat.

Avoid Eating Family Style

Chinese dishes are often served family style so everyone can enjoy a variety of food, but when you're eating gluten-free, you may want to avoid this practice. If a serving spoon for a dish that contains gluten is accidentally used in a dish that is gluten-free, the gluten-free dish can become contaminated. It is much safer to order your own dish so you can make sure that there is no cross contamination.

Consider Ordering Rice Dishes

Common Chinese dishes, such as chow fun and mei fun, are made with rice noodles, which are typically gluten-free. You can also enjoy eating fried rice at a Chinese restaurant if you request that your dish is made without the use of any soy sauce or oyster sauce. It is easy to season fried rice or rice noodle dishes yourself with gluten-free soy sauce at the table.

Steamed white rice and brown rice are also typically safe to eat if you are on a strict gluten-free diet. If you're having a hard time finding something safe to order, plain steamed rice with steamed vegetables and plain grilled meat is always an option. 

Eating gluten free doesn't have to mean not eating Chinese food. Check out a local restaurant such as Empress Express to test out these tips.