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Eating At A Chinese Restaurant
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We have some new friends that are taking us out to eat at a Chinese restaurant of their choice (I think they are friends or family of the owner). I'm recently diagnosed gluten intolerant, and still trying to learn what is safe to eat or not. Is there anything on the menu that would be inherently gluten-free, or would I be better off asking for steamed vegetables and rice, and bringing my own soy sauce? I was thinking of sweet and sour chicken or something like that, but am open to other suggestions.

Next time we eat out with this other couple, it will be at a restaurant where I know I've had good luck before!

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We have some new friends that are taking us out to eat at a Chinese restaurant of their choice (I think they are friends or family of the owner). I'm recently diagnosed gluten intolerant, and still trying to learn what is safe to eat or not. Is there anything on the menu that would be inherently gluten-free, or would I be better off asking for steamed vegetables and rice, and bringing my own soy sauce? I was thinking of sweet and sour chicken or something like that, but am open to other suggestions.

Next time we eat out with this other couple, it will be at a restaurant where I know I've had good luck before!

Hi! I am going to go with no here, b/c if it is something that does not have soy sauce in the cooking phase, then it is breaded, or searved with noodles. I have been to one place (besided PF Changs) that did gluten-free, and they didn't do a very good job. They got confused a lot, and made a lot of mistakes. And this wasn't just one visit, this was a place that said "we can do gluten-free!" so I went several times, hoping they could figure it out. I would say CAUTION and only go if you know the people or feel super comfortable talking with them AT LEGNTH! But if it were me, I would pass......

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There are a few dishes you could consider. You need to make sure they don't add MSG--which can be from wheat, though not always.

Chicken or shrimp with cashews usually has no breading or soy sauce, probably has cornstarch. Sometimes the steamed fish but it can have soy sauce.

Sweet and sour sauce may have soy sauce or may not. You would have to ask.

You may have problem with cross contamination however.

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Isn't most sweet and sour chicken breaded? I'd also worry about cross-contamination, no matter what you order.

I know these are new friends, and you may not feel totally comfortable talking about your health issues with them, but it is far more important for you to stay healthy. So, if you truly want to go out to dinner with them, I'd say, talk to them about the problem. If they are close friends with the owners, they may even be able to talk to the owners about it prior to going.

If you'd rather not go into too much detail, you could just say that you've had some heath problems related to intolerance to various foods, and until you get your diet under control, you'd prefer to have them come over to eat at your house (or go to a restaurant you know is safe). Good luck.

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Hi, I can offer my one safe meal. My family LOVES chinese food. We eat out at the local place maybe once a week. I always order "Steamed chicken and veggies with white rice - NO SAUCE" They are used to me now. I bring a small container of sauce with me. Sometimes it is plain soy sauce, sometimes left over sweet and sour sauce, and sometimes BBQ. Basically any sauce is better than no sauce with this meal.

I have never gotten sick eating this meal. Obviously the noodles, fortune cookies, and most other items are questionable or contaminated.

If you feel the urge to try to eat something else at the chinese place, look up one of those translation cards and see if you can get anywhere with it. The language has always been the biggest barrier for me.

Best of luck

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I don't really go to Americanized Chinese restaurants, so this might not be true across the board, but (relatively) authentic chinese places make everything to order.

I've found that hu fun (or chow fun) (broad rice noodle), mei fun (thin rice noodle), and a lot of seafood dishes with "lobster sauce" or other white sauce should be fine (they usually use cornstarch). Just ask for it without soy sauce and MSG (and make sure that there are no other dark sauces like XO, oyster, or hoisin). Sometimes you can have peking duck without the pancakes (it seems like many places use vinegar, not soy sauce) and salt and pepper pork (or calamari) (they usually use cornstarch instead of flour).

Good luck!

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Thanks for all of the suggestions. I have no issue with mentioning to the new acquaintances about my gluten intolerance, although I don't want to make it the only topic of conversation. And I have enough good suggestions here on what to look for and what to avoid, as well as asking the waiter for help. I will have a solid backup plan---bringing my own sauce for steamed rice and veggies--if nothing else on the menu works out for me. So far, most people have bent over backwards to help me out, and especially if it means I will still eat there (and tip well).

Again, thanks for the help, and wish me luck!

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Sweet and sour chicken is breaded. I know some celiacs (though not the ones on this board LOL) who will order sweet and sour chicken or orange chicken, and ask for it to be breaded with corn starch. You'd have to know the restaurant well though and be comfortable communicating with them.

Sometimes dishes made with the white sauces are gluten-free (moo goo gai pan - sorry I butchered the spelling, but that's how it's pronounced - is sometimes an option).

If I have to order Chinese b/c of some social situation that requires me to do so, I get plain steamed veggies, or I go to PF Changs.

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Also there are many styles of Chinese food reflecting different areas of China. The same dish can be made differently in different areas. So don't assume it will be the same in two different restaurants. Several of the dishes mentioned here are Cantonese.

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The restaurant wound up being a buffet/Mongolian grill scenario, so I did alright with having items cooked special for me on a clean part of the grill, and using my own sauce. No ill effects!

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Hi! I have recently been diagnosed with celiac as well, so I've been doing a lot of research on this. I LOVE Chinese food, and I am unsure of whether or not I will be able to communicate with my favorite Chinese restaurant that I can't have ANYTHING with MSG or (wheat based) flour. From what I have researched so far is that Kikkoman soy sauce IS gluten-free. (http://surefoodsliving.com/2007/05/01/kikkoman-soy-sauce-claims-its-ok/) Maybe it would be easier to communicate to the owners that you can only have Kikkoman soy sauce? As I said, I'm still testing the waters. My next hurdle is going to be coping with eating at my Italian boyfriends house... :huh:

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From what I have researched so far is that Kikkoman soy sauce IS gluten-free.

My bottle of kikkoman has wheat listed as the 2nd or 3rd ingredient. So I bought my hubby la choy soy sauce.

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It's funny, but I was buying SAN-J Tamari wheat free soy sauce since before even the thought of having a gluten intolerance entered my mind. I came to a conclusion on my own, accurate or not, that they must put wheat in the cheap soy sauce, since it's just supposed to be soy sauce. I just wanted to buy the good stuff. :)

I've had good luck at Asian restaurants in general, except I had a different waiter during my last visit to one I frequent and I definitely got gluttened. There was no soy sauce, as I asked. It was vegetables, tofu, and made spicy..but SOMETHING had to be in it. Maybe MSG...

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I think it is important to speak with your friends about your gluten intolerance. Though, you may feel like you are burdening them there is an obligation among celiacs to spread the word and awareness of glulten intolerance and celiac disease. I know this sounds like a task and I cannot deny that it isn't a task. Your friends or yourself, should speak with the restaurant chefs and the owner about the importance of avoiding cross contamination. Clean surfaces, foil, safe surfaces, etc...you could get sick from even the smallest amount. Gluten intolerance is not just about eating wheat it could be from cross contamination. Be very careful or your condition will not improve.

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