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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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I just came back from a work lunch at a Chinese restaurant I'd never been to before. I ordered the shrimp with garlic, salt and pepper. I heard the waiter explain to someone else in our group that the chicken with garlic, salt and pepper was dry - no sauce. And I thought "ok - the corresponding shrimp should be fine with white rice." It would have been. Except the waiter put a shrimp dish with a clear sauce in front of me. I was a bit puzzled, but thought maybe this was the dish, I took a few bites, and then realized with horror that MY lunch (the shrimp I ordered) had arrived at the far end of the table and was now being passed around for everyone to share. By the time it got to me, there was nothing left. It doesn't matter how many times I try to explain, people just don't get it. It's like asking someone who's confined to a wheelchair to run up a set of stairs in which there just might be land mines embedded. I hope I don't react, but we'll see. This is after being glutened in a restaurant in New York last week (which ruined the whole trip). All I want is steamed or roasted veggies with rice. Is that so much to ask????

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Restaurant dining and the staff knowledge is frustrating. I already know that they know nothing, lol. They think they do - but they don't. They think that if they aren't dumping flour on it, then it must be gluten free.

I have a couple places in town that I eat, and get the same thing. About the Chinese food, I order a special plate of veggie fried rice and veggie only chop suey, and not eat from the buffet. Happy to report that this worked.

I get gluten free pizza at a national chain, and they too are careful with having a separate cutting board and knife. The owner had previously checked into each ingredient to be sure, ie: the black olives were safe in a non-grain vinegar.

The resort I work at, they have dropped their guard in being strict about contamination due to the gluten free guests that were not Celiac, just choosing gluten free. So we would be careful about breakfast, make a special lunch, then they are scarfing down the breaded chicken at dinner. Plus there is a high turnover of staff, so that learning curve starts all over again. Even me being Celiac, it took a while, especially while in denial mode, to learn it all.

 

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1 hour ago, Courtney33 said:

guests that were not Celiac, just choosing gluten free

Those people have a tendency to ruin it for everyone.

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i am curious how this is possible bc my gi said soy sauce culprit! i passed up dinner w friends tho the place they go prob wouldnt ever be doable

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22 minutes ago, Lorjenn22 said:

i am curious how this is possible bc my gi said soy sauce culprit! i passed up dinner w friends tho the place they go prob wouldnt ever be doable

I am not sure which post you are are referring to.  But soy sauce usually contains wheat.  There are a few , sometimes called tamri sauce, that do not .  You might also find that a restaurant could make food without any soy sauce or soy sauce based sauces.

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5 hours ago, Lorjenn22 said:

i am curious how this is possible bc my gi said soy sauce culprit! i passed up dinner w friends tho the place they go prob wouldnt ever be doable

How what is possible? Sorry I'm not entirely clear on what you are referring to.

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8 hours ago, Lorjenn22 said:

i am curious how this is possible bc my gi said soy sauce culprit! i passed up dinner w friends tho the place they go prob wouldnt ever be doable

Take it your referring to soy sauce being made with wheat. Yes since it is used almost everywhere eating at a chinese restaurant is almost impossible to avoid CC. the Grill and and most cooked food is off limits. In High end places the sushi is fixed separately and not with soy sauce in the prep. The sushi rice uses mirin and rice vinegar not soy sauce or wheat based products and salads MIGHT be Ok but I would be iffy on anything chopped or cut.

Many places are changing over or have the option for Tamari sauce which is a gluten free soy sauce of higher quality not made with wheat.

When cooking at home I suggest getting Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos and using it in place of soy sauce. It works just the same in any recipe is and gluten and soy free. They also make a teriyaki sauce that is wonderful in stir fries and as a marinade.

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2 hours ago, Ennis_TX said:

or have the option for Tamari sauce

Tamari is super delicious.

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    • I think the prevalence much higher too. It seems like a lot of our friends are celiac and at least a few families we know have more than one affected member. My husband is celiac (diagnosed several decades ago) and I am pretty sure some of our kids are as well, even though the spouse doesn't want to admit it or have them screened because of our tight budget and the cost of gluten free food. But if celiacs seem to be everywhere, why do celiac organizations say that 1% are affected and 80% of them are undiagnosed?
    • My lowest ferritin was a 2, but I typically always reponded to iron supplements.  Enough to make many doctors happy.    My periodic bouts with low iron was attributed to heavy periods, but what did I know?  I would take the iron, be fine and then eventually my iron would drop.  I processed iron but did not absorb enough to store it.   My hemoglobin though remained normal (at least for me) since have Thalassemia (a genetic anemia).  My hemoglobin is usually just out of range.  It really dropped when I started into menopause.  Low iron, Thals, and 30 day periods can make you very anemic.  No amount of iron then could catch me up like it did in the past.  My GYN wanted to do a hysterectomy, but I declined.  My PCP blamed my Thals.  When I hit 50, I asked for a cancer screening colonoscopy (like all my friends were getting!).  My new GI looked at my chart and told me that I probably had celiac disease.  I scoffed.  I had no GI issues.  Besides, I did not want celiac disease.  My hubby had been gluten free for 12 years and I knew exactly what it was like.  Ugh!  But my blood test was positive as was my biopsy and the rest is history.  My anemia resolved within months of being gluten free and I stopped those 30 day killer periods.  If only the hot flashes would cease!   Keep advocating!  Do the research and show your PCP (or one of the GPS who do same day appointments), but follow-up in writing.  Kaiser will respond to written requests.  Be nice!  If push comes to shove, go outside of Kaiser and get the blood tests.  Some states allow you to go to the lab directly.  If that is not an option, ask a friend to refer you to their physician who will order the tests.   I do not think it will come to that.  I think that many PCPs really are not knowledgeable about celiac disease.  My own PCP has only two other celiac patients who are not gluten-free compliant.  (She must think I am OCD about gluten).  She deals with some 2,000 patients.  I do not know how she keeps up.  My old PCP was Korean and never even suspected celiac disease.   He also monitored me for the first few years after my diagnosis and ordered all my follow-up testing based on data I gave him (some doctors are willing to learn).   Got to go!  I hope this helps and that I did not ramble on.  
    • Dang, Gemini.    I have to stand corrected about anticholinergics (e.g. Benadryl). A new study released states that only certain types of anticholinergics might cause dementia.   https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321632.php Sigh.  So hard to keep up and I am not even trained in anything medical (except for CPR and First Aid!)  
    • Thank you so much for your very well thought out answer.  You're right, I'm just going wait 12 weeks because although I feel like crap, it is not horrible like I know it is for some people. How anemic were you? I ask because I have had low iron on and off 12 ferritin (22+ normal) 37 iron (normal 50 and above), and 10 transferrin saturation (14 is normal) have been my lowest.  I know this is not crazy low and what happens is I do respond to iron pills. After a year of taking iron my levels became normal again, so the dr. advised me to stop taking the pills and within 6 months my levels dropped below normal again.   I had to start taking  iron again and now my levels are back to normal. The doctor said she would do an endoscopy if I didn't respond to the iron and clearly I have.  But the thing is I know if I quit taking the iron again my levels will just drop. This has been going on for two years lol and Kaiser doesn't really think it's abnormal. I guess my question is would someone with celiac even respond to iron pills, or would it just stay low?  Thanks so much!  I've been kind of a  lurker on here for awhile and have noticed you are always so helpful!! 
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