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Dim Sum
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I am newly diagnosed and new to this site.

One of my favorite meals, although we only go every six weeks or so, is dim sum. I found several things on the internet that say there are good gluten free choices at dim sums, I just can't find specifics. Since I can't communicate well with the servers at the dim sum restaurant we go to (they don't understand my southern accent!)

I know to avoid soy sauce or any other sauce, and have been doing that for a few years because of the salt. And I know that I can't have the egg custard cups anymore (they have a pie crust type shell). The other things I enjoy that I think may be safe (because they are made with rice noodles) are:

shrimp dumplings

pork dumplings

shrimp noodles

sticky rice

golden (fried) dumplings

shrimp balls

sesame balls

I won't be able to tell if any of these effect me, as I have no symptoms of celiac. It was just by chance I was diagnosed. I was anemic and a colonoscopy was done to make sure I wasn't loosing blood somewhere. The GI doctor decided to do an endoscopy also since I had reflux issues a few years ago. My small intestine showed the scalloping of celiac. The doc took a biopsy and also did blood work, and they all came back positive for celiac. None of my doctors believed it, as I have no symptoms and I am overweight. They all said it was not necessary for me to do the diet since I had no symptoms. However, a new doctor has advised that I should be on the diet, as I have other medical issues and he thinks the celiac may be the underlying problem. I have been reading this site and this forum, and I have learned so much. Thank you to all of you!

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Could you go to the restaurant on a Sat afternoon when it's not busy? I am assuming this is a family run place. Around here, the teenagers of the owners work on weekends. I was thinking that they may speak better English and could help you get your questions answered.

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Communication is essential when eating out. I won't eat anywhere that I can't establish clear communication with the staff. For instance, are the fried dumplings fried in oil that that's used to fry something that isn't safe? Are you certain that the wraps or noodles used in the items you named rice and rice only?

As for celiac symptoms, you did indeed have one of the major and more dangerous symptoms of celiac -- anemia. The anemia means you weren't absorbing nutrients you need. Anemia and gas were my major symptoms, and I ended up with an 11-day trip to the hospital and 10 weeks off of work because I was so ill. I also had major heartburn or reflux that improved on the diet. Listen to your new doctor -- he or she is the one who knows what he or she is talking about. You never know, some people with celiac who are overweight before the diet even lose weight on the diet.

richard

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I don't know about the dim sum, but I want to encourage you to stay strictly on the diet! I don't understand why they say you don't have symptoms! You have anemia and visible damage to your intestinal wall. Those are symptoms of celiac.

Good luck and I hope you find some dim sum to enjoy!

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please just be really careful & triple check everything- because it's my understanding that most of those dumplings have wheat in the dough.

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please just be really careful & triple check everything- because it's my understanding that most of those dumplings have wheat in the dough.

And even if they are made with rice wrappers they are probably fried in the same oil as the wheat based dumplings.

I got glutened at a Thai place ordering crispy rice rolls and then having severe stomach problems that night, sadly :(

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You definitely need to stay on the diet. If you're anemic and have villous atrophy, you are not "asymptomatic". You have malabsorption and will be at risk for osteoporosis as well as the anemia. Celiacs who continue to eat wheat are also at elevated risk for some fairly nasty intestinal cancers because of all the abnormal lymphocytes in the intestinal mucosa. Your doctors should have told you all this.

No way would I eat in a Dim Sum restaurant that doesn't specifically maintain a gluten-free menu. Everything that's fried will be in oil that's got bits of wheat breading floating around in it, and boiled things will be strained in the same colanders as the wheat-containing dumplings.

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You may just have to learn to make your own Dim Sum. Most of the time they splash some soy sauce into the inside mixture. Lots of the wrappers are not just rice. And then the fryers are used for glutened items also.

There are dinning cards you can print to give to the restaurant. Or download the App for your iPhone. Find out what nationality the chefs are, then print a dinning card in their language for them to read. They can then let you know if they can make something for you to enjoy. Remember lots of time when eating out it's the cross contamination that will kill ya. Good luck and let us know how it goes. I'm off to make some spring rolls now! Your post gave me a craving.

http://www.celiactravel.com/restaurant-cards.html

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Hey, guys, please! I'm new at all this and I am just asking for information. I have only been doing this for a couple of weeks.

Yes, I know that it is very important to stick to the diet.

No, I am not cheating on the diet. No, I do not plan to cheat on the diet.

No, I have not eaten dim sum since being told I need to be on the diet, nor do I plan to eat dim sum until I research it thoroughly.

I am very motivated to do this. I am hoping it will improve some other medical problems I have. I can tell already that it has helped with my blood sugars.

Perhaps I didn't express myself clearly. I'm not saying that I don't have symptoms, I am syaing that I did not have any outward, "traditional" symptoms of celiac disease. Eating wheat has never made me sick. I had a couple of episodes of anemia that resolved with a short course of iron supplements. Nothing unusual for a woman. I had reflux, but it had improved and I hadn't needed to take anything for it in a couple of years. Then I had a check up and the blood work showed that I was significally anemic, but not horribly so, and certainly not enough to warrant hospitalization. Out of an abundance of caution, my family doctor suggested a colonoscopy (besides, he said, I was 54, so it was time). Because I had reflux a few years ago, the GI doctor decided to also do an endoscopy to make sure I didn't have any problems there. The GI doc was shocked by the results. Even he seemed reluctant to put me on the diet. Maybe he felt sorry for me because I already am on a low fat, low salt, and no sugar (diabetic) diet!

I'm doing the best I can.

I found information on the internet that said there are several good gluten free choices at dim sum, but wasn't specific about what those choices were. I just wondered if anyone knew.

The restaurant that we go to for dim sum is very big and very busy. However, thank you, you did give me an idea. There is a lady who worked with my husband who introduced us to dim sum probably 25 years ago. She recently retired. I think I can get in touch with her. Since she speaks Chinese, maybe she can find out for me what I need to know or help me make a card (don't have an iPhone). If not, I just won't go to dim sum.

Thanks, too, for the idea of making some dim sum items at home. Maybe I can get my noodle and dumpling fix that way!

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Sorry - nobody meant to put you on the defensive! There are people who get diagnosed and don't seem to want to stick to the diet, some of whom have eventually gotten into nasty health problems. :( I'm glad to hear it's helping with your blood sugars. It's genuinely surprising what nagging health problems go away with this diet.

We've all gotten sick so many times at various "mom and pop" ethnic restaurants that you sort of got a collective "EEK!" at the thought of eating in a dim sum restaurant. You'll have to ask an awful lot of questions to be sure things that are naturally gluten-free aren't cross-contaminated when they are cooked. Maybe if you can find ones that are cooked in the bamboo steamers with rice wrappers and a safe filling? Seems like a tall order.

Maybe your friend knows a store that has some rice flour dim sum you can cook for yourself or has some recipes to share. I know about noodle fixes. Mine's usually the Singapore street noodles at P.F. Chang.

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The restaurant that we go to for dim sum is very big and very busy. However, thank you, you did give me an idea. There is a lady who worked with my husband who introduced us to dim sum probably 25 years ago. She recently retired. I think I can get in touch with her. Since she speaks Chinese, maybe she can find out for me what I need to know or help me make a card (don't have an iPhone).

You do no need an iPhone to print out the cards. There is a Chinese card I believe on the site. But having someone with an "in" at the restaurant is even better!

Once when we were in NYC (long long ago) we are walking around at night wondering where to eat. This lady who had just walked past us, turns around telling us she will show us a good place to eat. She takes us down alleys, up and down several sets of stairs and into this Chinese restaurant, hails a waiter and leaves us with him. Was the best food I've eaten. Have no idea of what it was that we ate since we were the only English speaking people in the place and the menu wasn't in English. I'd love to have gone back the next night but we had no idea of how to get to the place again.

Enjoy your adventures in gluten free eating.

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Because of this posting, tonight I made salad wraps and turkey wraps. Both of them wrapped in Spring Roll wraps but not fried. Was delightful.

Here's a shrimp ball recipe:

http://glutenfree.wordpress.com/2006/11/15/shrimp-balls-a-la-dim-sum-yum/

Skinless Potstickers. I make these, freeze them before cooking, then just grab a few to cook for a meal. I love how the kids are playing at his feet.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/skinless-gyoza-with-special-dipping-sauce/

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we have been going to Dim Sum since my son could eat rice.  He learned to use chopsticks by the time he was 3.  We cannot take him there anymore because he was diagnosed celiac when he was 11.  There really is nothing you can eat.  The kitchen is contaminated.  They use the same tongs to put things on the cart that are non gluten and gluten.  The egg cream buns are usually homemade and there is flour everywhere.  Even if you stuck to just rice and steamed veggies, there is just too much room for cross contamination.  Sorry.

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I agree that with others that this sounds way too risky.  My husband wanted to order Chinese last night and said "It looks like there are a lot of things on the menu that are Gluten Free, I'm sure they'd be ok."  Then when he was ordering his he asked 'do you have anything Gluten Free', and they asked 'what is Gluten Free?'  That was enough for him to believe me when I said I couldn't trust it.

 

Why not make a special event of a monthly dim sum that you host in your home -- invite some friends, plan a menu and cook everything yourself.   Might be fun.  For the short term, I found some good gluten-free chicken dumplings in the frozen foods section of gluten-free NYC.  If you're not in NY, you might want to call them and ask what brand they were.

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I think Dim Sum is really a triple threat to the Celiac.  First the dumpling part is made of wheat.  Secondly, even if you can find some 100% rice dumplings, they're likely going to be fried in the same fryer as the wheat ones. Third, the soy sauce is very likely to have wheat, unless they carry tamari soy sauce.  I adored Dim Sum prior to my diagnosis, but haven't touched it since going gluten-free.

 

Chinese food in general is hard if you're celiac.  A lot of the sauces use flour and/or soy sauce.  A lot of the stuff is fried.  Luckily we have one place near me that has one dish that I can eat.  If you're looking for asian food, I've found it easier to eat at Thai and Vietnamese places - more rice noodles, less soy sauce, less frying.  Or make it at home.  I found some great rice wrappers at my grocery and have been making my own spring rolls. I bake them instead of frying, so they're healthier.

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