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gluten-free Sesame Balls And Other Chinese - Chinese Food

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I was diagnosed last December with Celiac Disease and have been 98% Gluten Free since then. I lived in China for about 4 months and love legitimate Chinese Food, (read: not general tsao's and other Americanized Chinese food).

Tonight I went to Chinatown in Boston to get veggies for a stir fry and suckered for a Sesame Ball (round ball w/ sesame seeds on it... supposedly made with glutinous rice flour and stuffed with sweentened red bean). They are delicious, but I still haven't figured out if my stomach hates them/ if they have gluten in them. All the recipes I've seen call for brown candy (aka sugar and water), red bean (sugar, water and mashed up red bean), glutinous rice flour (this is gluten free - it's just a starchy rice), sesame seeds and oil for frying.

Does anyone have experience with this? Especially in Boston?

Also, I've been using Tamari (wheat free soy sauce), rice wine vinegar in a lot of my stir frys. Are there other chinese sauces we can use? I have some fish sauce that has no gluten ingrediants in it and I was wondering about oyster sauce too. Apparently there is a brand called "wok Mei" that is gltuen free. Has anyone tried it?

Last, while at the Chinese grocery store I noticed Potato Starch, Tapioca Starch and other gluten starches for sale for less than $1. Has anyone had experience with buying them from a chinese grocery store/ are there contamination issues. I was super tempted to buy it, but was afraid they would be contaminated in processing.

Any feed back

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Hi B Gluten-Free,

I'm only gluten-intolerant, so I don't know if I'm the best guide or not, but the below are some things I've found that are fine.

1) the bbq/satay sauce in the silver metal cans (you'll know what I mean when you go into the store) - the brand = bullhead.

2) Lee Kum Kee:


(including oyster sauce!)

The last time I looked at Lee Kum Kee and did my major shopping spree, one thing that was tricky was that you had to make sure that something really WAS from the US or Hong Kong. I.e. they sometimes have different ingredients for the different versions.

3) Lan Chi makes a few sauces -- "Chinese Salad Dressing" (which is just sesame paste, good for sesame noodles, yum!) and "Black Bean Sauce with Chili" (which tastes a bit off to me since I grew up on the w/ soy sauce version, but isn't bad as a make-do)

I haven't been able to find "real" traditional-tasting hoisin sauce, but I use Dynasty.

The Super 88/Hong Kong Supermarket in Allston/Brighton has these dumplings that are Vietnamese, I think, that are gluten-free; they're a bit glutinous (in the sticky sense) but otherwise quite good.

As for restaurants in Boston, I've found that the trick is to order things that are normally gluten-free anyway and make doubly-sure that there's no soy sauce or other sauce. I haven't had any terrible experiences anywhere that way.

Other than the obvious (chow fun, mei fun, things in lobster sauce, mochi), I've found that peking duck is often gluten-free (since it's traditionally made with vinegar instead of soy sauce) and so is salt & pepper fried stuff, since it's usually made with cornstarch (but I haven't asked about CC). I also think that the oyster pancake in Taiwanese restaurants (Jo Jo Taipei in Brighton and Gourmet Dumpling House (ignore the name! it's really quite good)) are gluten-free without the sauce. You can also go to any of the hot pot restaurants, and just bring the bbq/satay sauce in #1.

I've been fine with the Chinese flours, but tend to use the "general rule of thumb" applicable to most Asian groceries I buy -- i.e. brands from Taiwan/Japan first, then Hong Kong, and only then vietnam/thailand/the mainland, since I think the mainland doesn't always use the best "quality control" when it comes to listing ingredients.

Good luck!


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