Gluten Free Chinese Food: What Can I Eat? - Bread (2023)

As my gluten-free friends know, restaurants are tricky.

Not being able to eat what you want, especially when everything looks so tempting, is sometimes really frustrating! But it helps if you start with a game plan.

So in this article, let's talk about gluten-free Chinese food, specifically what to order and what to avoid.

Gluten Free Chinese Food: What Can I Eat? - Bread (1)

From ordering ideas to popular restaurants with gluten-free options, below you'll find everything you need to know to safely satisfy your Chinese food cravings.

Use the table of contents to quickly find what you're looking for!


Is Chinese food gluten free?

Many traditional Chinese dishes are made with soy sauce, which contains gluten, and wheat flour is often used to prepare various products. this can make it very difficult to find gluten-free entrees.

However, hope is not lost!

Many delicious gluten-free options are still available at most Chinese restaurants.

One of the safest ways is to stick to rice-based foods. Fried rice, plain white rice, and even lo mein can usually be made gluten-free upon request, and most Chinese restaurants offer gluten-free soy sauce.

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If not, you can bring your own and add it to the dish after serving, or ask the chef to use it when preparing your food.

As always, be aware of cross-contamination when dining out. If you're particularly sensitive to gluten, it's best to avoid Chinese buffets, as gluten-containing items may come into contact with gluten-free items.

Do you feel a little overwhelmed? I totally understand. Here are some popular entrees that are generally safe on a gluten-free diet. However, always ask your server as every restaurant is different.

✅ My tip

Before we delve into the subject, I want to share my best suggestion for eating Chinese safely while on a gluten-free diet.

There is an app and website for people with celiac disease/gluten sensitivity calledFind Me Gluten Free. I seriously use this site all the time!

On this page, you can search for your city and find restaurants that meet your dietary requirements. Plus, it has reviews from other people who can't eat gluten, so you can see what their experiences have been like. They also have all kinds of restaurants!

So my first suggestion would be to look into thisFind Me Gluten Freeand choose a Chinese restaurant with good reviews in your city.

What is worth ordering on the spot?

Look at.

What to order?

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The good news is that if you know what to look for, there are plenty of gluten-free Chinese dishes to choose from.

Many classic Chinese dishes are naturally gluten-free, such as steamed vegetables, rice, and tofu.

If you're craving something spicy, fried chicken or beef with vegetables is a good choice.

And of course, no meal is complete without soup - try hot soup or egg drop soup for a delicious option.

With these simple suggestions, you're sure to find the perfect dish to satisfy your hunger.


  • white rice
  • Rice noodles - specifically chow fun (wide rice noodles) or mei fun (thin rice noodles)


Steamed chicken or shrimp


Vegetables are fine, but be careful with the sauce they come in and avoid dark sauces as they are often made with soy sauce.

Maya nice

Gluten free pasta?! It seems too good to be true! Mei fun is a thin noodle from Taiwan, commonly used in Chinese cuisine. They are made of rice that makes themgluten free.

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Egg Soup

A staple of any Chinese restaurant, this soup is usually good, but ask what kind of thickener is used. Corn starch or potato starch is fine!

What to avoid?

As with any restaurant, there are Chinese dishes that should be avoided on a gluten-free diet.

For example, many Chinese restaurants use soy sauce for many things, and wheat flour is also common in sauces. Dishes likeGeneral Tso's Chickeni sknow and sour porkare unfortunately out of reach.

Other menu items to avoid include:loempia(which are usually made of wheat paper),pierogi(which are usually made from wheat flour dough) andnoodles for wheat soup.

Soy sauce and other dark sauces

As I mentioned above, soy sauce is very common in Chinese dishes and contains gluten. Be sure to call ahead to see if the restaurant offers a gluten-free option.

Everything breaded or fried

Look for these words in descriptions of main dishes and common adjectives such as crispy or crispy.

wheat noodles

If you've been on a gluten-free diet for a while, it seems pretty obvious to me that pasta should be avoided. However, there are different types of rice-based noodles available in Chinese dishes. Be sure to stay away from lo mein or chow mein as they are made from wheat.

Stir fried rice

The fried rice is made with soy sauce, so if a gluten-free option is not available, it's best to avoid it.

All Teriyakis

Again, the problem with teriyaki is the soy sauce, which is a bit more difficult for the chef to substitute because the sauce is made in advance. It is best to avoid teriyaki altogether.

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Sweet and sour soup

This soup is generally not gluten-free due to, you guessed it, soy sauce. However, it is entirely possible to make it gluten-free with a simple ingredient swap.

Mongolian beef

Mongolian beef sauce is usually made from a combination of soy sauce, brown sugar, Asian sweet chili sauce, rice wine, hoisin, pepper, sriracha, and cornstarch. Due to the soy sauce, it is also better to avoid it.

Kung Pao-kip

Soy sauce is back in action! Kung Pao chicken consists of a mixture of spices, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Unfortunately it is not gluten free.

Gluten free Chinese restaurant options

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Now that I've disappointed you with all the things you can't eat, I want to share some good news with you! Many domestic Chinese restaurant chains now have gluten-free options! I looked at Pei Wei's menu last week and saw that they have an entire gluten free menu. There is a gluten-free option for virtually all of their most popular dishes! Be happy!

Pei Wei gluten free menu

Here are some items from the new GF menu. Note - these dishes are specially prepared and are not the same recipes found on their regular menu.

  • Chopped Asian Salad
  • Beef and Broccoli
  • Chicken And Broccoli
  • Chicken Fried Rice
  • Kung Pao prawns
  • Kung Pao-kip
  • Flow through Mongolia
  • Mongolian chicken
  • Original Pei Wei Shrimp
  • Sweet and sour chicken

Ended up ordering the GF sweet and sour chicken and it was delicious! Plus no stomach upsets so that's always a good sign 🙂

PF Chang gluten free menu

PF Chang's also has a nice list of dishes on their GF menu. There's even dessert!

  • Egg Soup
  • Mongolian beef
  • Chang's Spicy Chicken
  • Beef with broccoli
  • Pad Thai with Chicken
  • Singaporean street noodles
  • baked rice
  • Stuffed chocolates

Chinese food at home

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If you prefer to skip the restaurant altogether, try making one of these delicious gluten-free Chinese dishes at home!

Delicious gluten-free Ramen noodles

Gluten-free Chinese chicken with honey

Gluten Free Chicken Lo Mein


Well, you got it! I hope this article helps you enjoy Chinese food in a gluten-free way! With a little knowledge and planning, you can enjoy a delicious gluten-free meal at your favorite Chinese restaurant.

Need extra help in the restaurant?

Eating out is one of the hardest and most frustrating parts of living with celiac disease or following a gluten-free diet. To make things a little easier, I've put together some restaurant guides. Check them out below.

The Sushi Guide

Guide to Mexican Cuisine

Culver's Gluten Free Guide

Gluten Free Chinese Food: What Can I Eat? - Bread (8)
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