Wow. I went to Panda Express yesterday and only ate the fried rice. Well, I just looked on their website and in the FAQ section someone asked which foods are gluten-free? They replied "none of our foods are gluten free." Wow, just wow!! I can't accept it...boo hoo. that's just crazy if you ask me! I LOVE Panda Express. Now I wonder if ANY Chinese food is gluten-free?
11/19/10 diagnosed with Celiac disease after positive blood test
12/14/10 Biopsy positive for Celiac disease
The key problems with Chinese food are soy sauce and fish sauce, both of which often contain wheat. Be careful with those two things. The problem is that they tend to sneak into Chinese food in ways you wouldn't expect.
PF Chang's is relatively Celiac-friendly, as Monklady123 said.
The problem with fried rice is that it likely has soy sauce in it, and soy sauce usually has wheat. My guess is that Panda Express doesn't want to make guarantees it can't keep and then get into legal trouble when someone is made ill by cross-contamination.
Luckily, Thai food has many gluten-free offerings, and it's close enough to Chinese food that I don't miss it much. When I really DO miss it, I go to PF Chang's. They added more offerings to their gluten-free menu about six months ago. One of them was my previous favorite meal before I knew I had celiac, so I checked it out. Unfortunately, it was perfectly awful--I was told I was the first person to order it, and I think perhaps the item was so new, the cooks didn't know how to prepare it. Anyway, I complained to the corporate office (because I had originally written them a letter thanking them for expanding their menu), and they sent a letter of apology and asked me to return to the same PF Chang's to order the same dish. They promised that the problem had been straightened out. So...even though the thought of eating such awful food again made me queasy, I went back and ordered the same dish. I was surprised--it tasted exactly the way I remembered before my diagnosis! It was, quite simply, one of the best meals I'd eaten in years. I think the manager suspected I was the "complainer," and he was extremely solicitous--he must have asked me half a dozen times if I'd found my meal satisfactory. He looked extremely relieved when I assured him that I loved my meal and that I would let the corporate office know how wonderful the dish had turned out. I believe that PF Chang's is very dedicated to maintaining a safe and expansive attitude towards people with gluten sensitivity, and I was impressed with how quickly they resolved this mishap.
Kimbalou, fried rice ALWAYS has soy sauce. In commercial places, soy sauce pretty much always has wheat. AND Panda Express is most definitely NOT a place I would even attempt to eat. I know you're new at this, but a cardinal rule is that you check food BEFORE you eat it, not after.
About the only way to eat Chinese commercially is to avoid anything that has soy sauce or wheat noodles (sometimes dishes with a clear or white sauce), or to find a regular place where their English is good and they'll use your gluten-free soy sauce to make a dish. In practice, you really can't just walk into a Chinese restaurant and eat now. You have to arrange it ahead or go to a place like PF Chang's where they have a gluten-free menu.
40 year old former foodie on a quest to feel better!
-IgE to oats and rye -Diagnosed with Colitis via endoscopy/colonoscopy Oct '10 -Following FODMAP diet since June '10, Positve SIBO test, July '10 -Diagnosed non-celiac gluten intolerant June '10 (celiac in March '10, endocsocopy in Oct '10 shows no signs of celiac) -Osteopenia June '10 -Gluten free since July '09 & Soy free since December '09 -Dairy free since '06 -IBS & Sjogren's diagnosed '05 -RA diagnosed as a toddler
Whenever I crave Chinese food I make it myself, if I'm feeling like cooking alot I get a bottle of Teryiaki (spelled wrong I know, but my spell check can't find the word ) some chicken, peas, and I make it. If I'm feeling lazy I get a box of the new gluten-free Chicken Helper Fried Rice! (I add extra pea's to it though, there never seem to be enough) It tastes AMAZING and I just love it.
As for P.F Changs, I'll never eat there. The one time my Dad and I found one, we asked to look around before we decided to eat there,and there were plain wheat filled noodles EVERYWHERE, in all the other food containers, people were using the same tongs for all the foods, and it was chaos. I almost had nightmares about that place
When pf changes gets an allergy order, they get a clean pan from a different shelf to cook it in. They then put it on a special plate to keep track of the gluten-free food. Not sure, but I bet a lot of the noodles for regular food are rice. I have eaten at 2 different ones, when very busy, and done well. I
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I love PF Chang's. It's my special treat for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I'm the only Celiac in my family, but their gluten-free menu is so good, my whole family orders off of it when we go. Unfortunately, they cc'd my last birthday. Since my whole family orders gluten-free, it must have happened in the kitchen or on the way to our table. :-(
When I get cc'd, I'm sick for 7-10 days, so it's a big deal. But, but, but I'll def try PF Chang's again because they're great there - food and service for Celiacs. And I miss Chinese food SOOOO much. I wonder how hard it is to cook on my own?
It's not that hard. My mom took a Chinese cooking class a while back and showed me how. I learned a little more from a Chinese roommate. The trick is to lightly blanch the vegetables, use a really hot wok with peanut oil, and then you need decent recipes for the sauces. Americans don't tend to heat the wok up hot enough. Sauces are usually thickened with cornstarch so no gluten issues other than the soy sauce and you can use San J.
There's a Mongolian Barbecue-style restaurant in my town that I'm headed to tonight with a group for a work event. The cool thing is that when I called, they said they'd had a Celiac nutrition expert come through and evaluate their grill, ingredients, and sauces for gluten so that they could make their offerings more Celiac-friendly! And they always have gluten-free noodles available for whenever I want to stop in, kept in a separate part of the kitchen!
I was bowled over at how easy they made it seem. The jury's still out on the ingredient buffet (with the tongs and other diners' messiness and the possible cross-contamination) but so far, so very good.
This is all relevant because the place I'm going to is "pan-Asian", which in this case I think means somewhat similar to Chinese food perhaps.