Last Updated on April 27, 2022
Today, we’re going to be answering the question: are Chinese noodles gluten free? And taking a look at the best gluten-free noodle options, when it comes to Chinese food. And also seeing which dishes are traditionally gluten-free when it comes to Chinese takeout.
I have to be honest, Chinese takeout I’ve found the hardest to navigate since following a gluten-free diet. It seems almost impossible to find good-tasting Chinese food that doesn’t contain any gluten. However, we’re here to help! So are Chinese noodles gluten-free? Let’s take a look.
What Are Chinese Noodles?
In Chinese cuisine, noodles are a staple. And across the Western world, Chinese noodles are one of the most common dishes to enjoy in Chinese takeout. There is no singular “Chinese noodle”. In fact, there’s a huge selection of Chinese noodles! The ones you’re probably most used to seeing are the noodles used in Chow Mein – which are egg noodles.
Learn more about: Do Egg Noodles Have Gluten?
Ingredients In Chinese Noodles
If we take a closer look at egg noodles, they usually contain the following ingredients:
However, it’s always best to check as additional ingredients may be used. And remember, this is just for the noodles themselves; not for a dish like Chow Mein.
Nutritional Information Of Chinese Noodles
If you’re wondering what the nutritional value is when it comes to egg noodles, each serving usually contains the following nutrition:
- Calories: 205
- Fat: 3.8g
- Protein: 7g
- Carbs: 35g
- Dietary Fiber: 1.2g
- Sugar: 1g
Are Chinese Noodles Gluten Free?
While there are plenty of gluten-free Chinese noodles, unfortunately, egg noodles (which are typically used to make Chow Mein) are not gluten-free. The main ingredients in egg noodles are egg and wheat flour. Wheat is a gluten-containing grain and must be avoided when following a gluten-free diet.
However, there’s a huge selection of Chinese noodles that are gluten-free. They just might not be ones you’re very familiar with. But once you’ve taken a look at our list – they’ll be a whole new world of options for you to try.
Gluten Free Asian Noodles
Here are our top ten picks when it comes to Asian noodles that are gluten-free.
- Tapioca Noodles. These noodles are uncommon, but they are gluten-free. They’re from Southeast Asia and of course, are made using tapioca. These particular noodles work well in stir-fries or soups.
- Sweet Potato Vermicelli. I love sweet potatoes, so sweet potato noodles sound divine – and they are! These are from Korea and are a little flavorless and chewy, but work great in a stirfry.
- Soba Noodles. Soba noodles are usually made from buckwheat (which despite the name, is gluten-free). They’re a Japanese noodle that’s nutty and smooth.
- Shirataki. Another Japanese noodle. One that I’m not very keen on due to its fishy odor – but it definitely suits a particular palette.
- Kelp Noodles. These are made from seaweed and are very different from other noodles. They’re crunchy and don’t taste of much
- Acorn Noodles. These are either made with buckwheat (safe) or wheat flour (unsafe) – so always be sure to check. These have sweet undertones, which I love
- Glass Noodles. Another popular alternative which is relatively easy to find. These are another versatile type of noodle
- Buckwheat Vermicelli. These are chewy Korean noodles – which are usually made from buckwheat
- Harusame. Another Japanese noodle, which is usually made from potato or sweet potato
- Rice Noodles. The easiest gluten-free noodle substitute to find – and the tastiest, in my opinion. They can be skinny, or thick, which means they’re versatile and can work in many Chinese dishes
Read more about: Are Yakisoba Noodles Gluten-Free?
Gluten Free Chinese Food
If you’re ordering from a Chinese takeout, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but many dishes are not gluten-free. Most dishes contain gluten of some kind and will likely not supply many gluten-free items. Sweet Mandarin is a gluten-free restaurant in the UK which is a four drive from me, but it was worth it for a completely gluten-free Chinese meal!
The following items are usually gluten-free, but always be sure to check with your server:
- rice noodles
- glass noodles
- meat and vegetables with tamari
Unfortunately, unless you’re visiting a Chinese takeout that specializes in gluten-free, it’s unlikely they’ll be many other choices for you. For a more comprehensive guide, check out this post from Rachel Roemhmholdt on Gluten-Free Chinese Food.
I hope this post has helped to answer the question: are Chinese noodles gluten-free? While there aren’t many gluten-free Chinese dishes, we can hope that it changes in the future and that more options will become available for us. If you’re in the UK, Sweet Mandarin and The Sheldan Inn are two places I would highly recommend for gluten-free Chinese.
Do you know of any other gluten-free Chinese restaurants/takeouts? If so, please feel free to let me know in the comments below. Sharing is caring!
What are Gluten Free Chinese Foods?
There really aren't many Chinese foods which are typically gluten free. Apart from certain types of noodles (see a comprehensive noodle guide above) and plain meat and vegetables. Most dishes use wheat flour or include ingredients such as soy sauce, which is typically not gluten free.
Which Chinese Noodles are Gluten Free?
For a full guide on Chinese noodles, see above. But the most popular gluten free Chinese noodles include: glass noodles, rice noodles, soba noodles, kelp noodles and buckwheat vermicelli.
Can Celiacs Eat Chinese Food?
Unless the food is certified gluten free, or the restaurant/takeout is certified gluten free - I would suggest not eating Chinese food as a celiac. Even with foods that do not contain gluten, they're usually prepared in a kitchen that does contain gluten, which makes the risk of cross contact extremely high. It's simply not worth the risk it poses, in my opinion.