No More PF Chang's for this Celiac


And another one bites the dust.

I have now added PF Chang’s to the list of restaurants I can no longer eat at. And yes, I’m quite sad about it.

First…a little PF Chang’s history. After my celiac diagnosis in 2007, I did not go out to eat for a few months. It was simply too difficult. And then I heard that PF Chang’s, which has a location just a few miles from my house at the time, had a gluten-free menu. I love Asian food. I missed eating out. It seemed like a match made in heaven.

I still have vivid memories of that first evening out…

I remember waiting for a table, very anxious about the ordeal. And my little Dudette put her hand on my knee and said “It’s ok Daddy. At least you don’t have cancer.” Little did she know at the time. Mrs. Dude and I had to contain ourselves from breaking out in ironic laughter.

I remember ordering and giving my big celiac speech for the first time.

I remember having my first, and last, Red Bridge beer.

I remember really enjoying the food, my family and the atmosphere and feeling almost normal.

And I remember thanking the waitress profusely when the meal was over, telling her it was my first time out since my diagnosis and actually tearing up as I was talking to her. To me, it was an emotional experience. She probably thought I was nuts.

The next few times I visited PF Chang’s, it was all good. I felt safe (from a gluten point of view), the service was always exceptional, as was the food.

But then little things started happening.

One time, my food came out on the wrong plate. For those who don’t understand this, PF Chang’s has a different plate for their gluten-free dishes, which I love. But my food did not come out on that plate. So naturally, I questioned my server, who assured me it was gluten-free and was a tad put off that I asked her to go back in the kitchen and verify. It left a poor taste in my mouth.

And then, whenever I’d eat there, I’d start to feel like crap afterwards. I’m not saying I was being glutened (I’m not saying I wasn’t either) but I just didn’t feel well.

I know a lot of their dishes are high in fat and very high in salt, but it shouldn’t make me feel this bad.

My visits became less and less frequent and Mrs. Dude suggested I stay away from them permanently, which I have.

Until yesterday.

I had a meeting in northern Jersey and was headed back to the Dude Ranch at about 2 in the afternoon. I passed by a PF Chang’s and decided to give it a shot. It’s amazing how hunger can cloud your judgement.

I ordered the gluten-free chicken and broccoli dish with brown rice and told the waitress I was a “severe celiac”. I always use the word “severe” when I eat out, hoping it gets them to take me a bit more serious.

My dish came out. Looked good. Took a bite. Tasted fine. But it was really spicy?!?

The chicken and broccoli dish is not supposed to be spicy. I asked the waitress about it and she said they put the wrong sauce on it.

You’ve gotta be kidding me!!

She assured me the sauce was indeed gluten-free and came back a few minutes later with the correct meal.

Should I have eaten it at this point? I don’t know. But again, I was starving, I was already there and for the most part, I know they take the whole gluten-free thing pretty seriously, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

To make a long story short, I ate my lunch and enjoyed the heck out of it.

But as soon as I got in the car, I can’t begin to tell you how much my stomach hurt. Beyond painful. And not in a sour stomach kind of way, but in an “alien ready to explode out of my gut” kind of way. The pressure and the tightness was unbearable for the 20 minute drive home.

As soon as I got home, I had to lie down and I ended up sleeping for three hours.

I haven’t eaten since yesterday’s lunch.

And this morning, I feel out of it and Mrs. Dude says I look “pasty” (how’s that for a visual??)

Now this just shouldn’t happen after a lunch out.

So to you PF Chang’s…you had me but you lost me.

I sincerely appreciate the effort you put in for all celiacs, but our relationship has now come to an end.

I’m not sure what the PF stands for in your name, but for me it now means Painful Food.

(If you’ve had any good or bad experiences at PF Chang’s, would love to hear about it.)

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270 thoughts on “No More PF Chang's for this Celiac”

  1. Im sorry GF Dude. That is a total bummer. My daughter and I both have CD, and PF is the only chinese place to eat. So far we have had good experiences and I know they just put some new items on the menu. Maybe, if you can try again, always go in and speak to the manager and tell them what happened. I am sure they will be more helpful if you do it that way!!! πŸ™ Rox

    1. The Gluten Dude

      Yea…I just can’t go back though. It was just ungodly painful yesterday, so something just isn’t right. I’m not saying all celiacs should avoid it. Just me.

      1. You may have an egg allergy

        All PF’d proteins are shipped to them in an egg marinate.

        I cannot eat there because of that

        I need to be GF and egg free, but every time I ate there my stomach hurt,

        Wrote their corporate office and found out about egg. So no more.

  2. Sure hope you recover from the Painful Food episode quickly! You are not alone in your search for ‘normalcy’ when dining out. I’ve checked the PF menu but it had too many variables, so I’ve passed on it for now. My diet is not only GF, but I cannot tolerate many other ‘chemicals’ (a/k/a seasonings, dyes, and preservatives). Also diagnosed in 2007, the hunt was on for a public place to eat so we could meet with family and friends. Outback Steakhouse had a GF menu so we scoured the offerings and over the past few years, I have eaten their plain steak or chicken breast, baked potato, and broccoli meals without issue. When we traveled we even checked their website for locations along the trip. On Valentines Day this year, sweetie brought their GF take-out home as a treat. ONE BITE of the steak and I could tell it was NOT going to ‘agree’ with me. It had more flavor then usual and it was either aged beef (can’t do Angus because of the processing) or highly marinated/seasoned. It was delicious and I went ahead and finished it – what kind of fool am I?? That ended Valentines for us! My recovery from the ten-minutes-of-Heaven-on-a-plate took a full week! Haven’t eaten anything from Outback since then! So as you wait patiently for your fantastic ‘Dude digestion’ to return, take comfort that you are not alone in the arena of TRIAL AND ERROR (mostly error when it comes to public restaurants). Best Wishes to you and yours! …MeOverHere

    1. Amy -The Quirky Gluten Free Runner

      While dining there with my family and niece who is legume allergic, we learned that the sweet potato is “wrapped in foil and THEN has oil applied to it” this made Hubby realize that they MUST deep fry the sweet potatoes. . . and after no longer eating the sweet potatoes there, my food experience has been kicked up several notches.

      Though I don’t understand why Outback just doesn’t have a GF button o their computer. . . instead, the person ordering has to say, “no seasoning, no croutons, no___” etc.

      I’m sorry you had a horrible Vday experience!

      1. I can answer that

        Its because all that stuff comes to each restaurant preseasoned preportioned etc. There is no actual cooking per se in each outlet.

        Its what they call in the industry “consistency”

  3. That is sad to hear! I’ve always had good experiences with PF Chang’s, although the last time I went, our waitress didn’t make up the “special mix” of sauces for me after I told her I was GF.

    That’s scary that they put the wrong sauce on your first meal. I wonder if that was the problem. Anyhow, I’m sorry it ended up that way for you. If you ever consider going back again, maybe you should ask for a manager every time.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      Thanks Julie. But just won’t be going back. I’ll stick to my one meal at my one local restaurant.

      1. If you don’t mind my asking, what is the local restaurant where you feel safe? (Since we live in the same area) πŸ™‚

        1. I have a non-celiac gluten intolerance that cause me psycological issues, and went to eat to PF Chang, and I noticed something weird on my shrimp, I thougt it was my idea, but that very afternoon I want es to kill myself.

      2. Same experience!
        Ate at PF Changs yesterday. Ordered the Chicken in ginger sauce with brocolli. Experienced hives on ny face and then got really sick. Won’t go back.

    2. Two times I have eaten the pork dumplings at PF Changs and developed severe hives up the legs within an hour. Later I also became short of breath, and had diarrhea. The hives were extremely itchy, lumpy and painful and lasted for several days. The strange thing is, other times I have eaten the dumplings there and I was fine. This leads me to believe that I may be allergic to lemongrass. It is the only ingredient in their menu that I normally don’t eat. I eat shellfish-both mollusks and crustaceans- with no reaction. Therefore, my reaction is not being caused by dumplings coming into contact with shellfish. But maybe they were prepared on a counter where lemongrass was cut up, etc… So basically, you may be having a problem not only with incorrect sauces, but cross-contamination. I love their food, but I really don’t want to take any more chances because I am afraid the allergic reaction could become even worse and I might stop breathing. So bottom line, you’re not the only one having a problem with PF Changs food, and I do sympathize with you.

      1. If you are Celiac, you might want to look into Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH), which is the Celiac rash. Unfortunately, I have it. All DH people are Celiac but luckily not all Celiacs get DH. For those that don’t, thank your lucky stars.

        1. Yes, “thank your lucky stars” is right. OMG. There is no pain like it. I’m so sorry you have it. I’d rather someone smash my thumb with a sledge hammer. It would be less painful I think.

  4. GD,

    This probably won’t boost your spirits, but I RARELY eat out and if I do, it’s only at 1 or 2 places that I’m 95% sure the chefs are on top of creating a GF dish. I’m a nutritionist, I’ve been on my GF journey in one way or another for over a decade, I’m convinced celiac disease can lead to all kinds of negative health problems (including death), so I just don’t mess with it too much. I know what you mean about wanting to go out and be “normal,” but this is my normal, so such is life. When I travel, I take one check-on bag that has enough food (including my “hot” pot, etc.) to keep me healthy for several days if need be. After PF Chang’s came out with their GF menu, I spoke with one of the head chefs (main head chefs), checked it out and blah, blah, blah. I tried it a couple of times and got sick each time. Oh well. Scratch that one off the list. The bottom line is — you can’t trust restaurants that mix having GF with gluten-filled dishes. And, the folks who are serving, cooking, etc. usually don’t “get” the serious nature of this disease. Again, such is life. I’ve taken a new (several years ago) interest in cooking and have fun creating my own fine dining meals. =) Last night was roasted endive with herbs and an amazing brown rice mixture (sorry, but with golden beets, etc.).

    Anyway, my heart goes out to you, GD. Hang in there.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      Thanks Melissa. In a perfect healthy world, I honestly just wouldn’t go out to eat. Or I’d bring my own food. But it’s just not realistic (or fun!)

    2. Melissa, what hot pot do you use and what do you bring in your check on bag? I haven’t braved traveling since dx last year and have no idea how to do it GF (and properly to avoid any cc at my destination).

  5. Oh no! Was it just that one P.F. Chang’s? I’ve eaten at the one in PMM and the one down 309 many times and haven’t had any problems. So far they’ve always brought out the gfree sauces and have used the special plates. The Jersey one sounds like their kitchen effed up in general. If it were me, I’d write them a letter about it, they need to know. >:(

    1. The Gluten Dude

      At first, I thought you said you’ve been to PF Chang’s 309 times and I was like “Wow…she counts how many times she goes there…that’s odd.”

      Hopefully, they’ll see this blog post and that will serve as my letter to them.

      1. They vary tremendously. The one in San Jose, CA is terrible! But, the Palo Alto, CA location is ok. The Emeryville, CA has a crowded, fast food, and not-for-me atmosphere.

  6. Well, I too had a not so good PF Chang experience just last week. They make an awesome flourless GF chocolate cake that is fabulous. SO I treat myself to this over priced mound of heaven everynow and then. It even has raspberry dipping sauce and berries on the side. Well last week I was starving so decided to order a to go entree. I am vegetarian as well as celiac GF so my options are a tad limited. I ordered a veggie dish. I got half way home and then checked my food while I was stopped at another location. Noticed my veggie dish was lacking its tofu and then there was no side of rice. I just paid $10 for a dish of heavily over sauced, seasoned and salted broccoli and carrots. So I turned around and brought it back- at the height of rush hour. I asked for a refund since I did not have time to wait for them to remake it. It was so salty that I wouldn’t have been able to eat it anyway. I showed the manager the 3 fortune cookies that had been put in my GF take out bag- WTH? The manager refunded my entire meal price- even for my dessert and then gave me a gift card to come back. I’ve never had a good experience there. There is always something not right. I’ll stick to my special dessert as take out only from here on out.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      Yep…no matter how good “corporate’s” intentions are, it comes down to the 19 year old kids making your food.

      1. I’m having your quote embroidered on a pillow for my hubby. He is much more trusting than I am (having been the 19 year old snot in the past before I was the wife and mom of Celiacs.)

      2. My nephew works in a chain restaurant. When they did his kitchen training they did nothing as far as gluten safety. Other food allergies yes, gluten, no. This, despite having items marked on their menu as gluten free. After he was done his training, he called me up and asked me to walk him through kitchen safety for celiacs so that he could be sure nobody gets “poisoned” (his word) on his shifts. Now he’s in charge of training new kitchen staff at his restaurant and he makes sure to include a unit on gluten safety.

  7. Wow, Dude, I’m really sorry to hear that the Chang’s wronged you like that. Maybe it depends on the individual location? My closest PF Chang’s has been nothing short of awesome to me, so far. I think you should have a little chat with the manager, even if you don’t plan on eating there again, just so they know they are doing something unsafe. Knowledge is power, or something to that effect.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      I hear you Alissa, but I gotta pick my celiac battles, and this is one I just don’t have time for. There’s always SUSHI!!

      1. I had to share this because I thought the timing was just so weird – not two days after I posted here, extolling the awesome that is my local PF Chang’s, my sis and I went to dinner there. All was fine until I got to the bottom of my appetizer salad and found a noodle.

        No one could tell me if it was a gluten-y noodle or a non-gluten-y noodle, so I spent the rest of the night *just waiting* to get sick. I was fine, but it burned me that they were so careless. And after the stink I made, they didn’t even take the offending salad off the bill. Grrrr.

        1. Amy -The Quirky Gluten Free Runner

          Ugh, sometimes it’s not even that I want a free dinner, it’s that I want them to REALLY acknowledge that they messed up!

          Gluten Dude, I have yet to find a sushi place that automatically uses real crab meat. Instead, I have to pay $2 extra to have them used canned crab meat. ugh.

      2. You mention sushi a lot, GD. What do you get? My daughter loves California rolls, but it’s almost impossible to find them (at least in Ohio!)made made without artificial crab meat, which contains wheat. Any suggestions??

        1. Forget the california roll. I would say almost all of them using the imitation crab…which is a big no-no.

          I stick to Salmon/Avocado or Tuna/Avocado rolls.

          Just make sure the rice is not precooked in a soy sauce. I’ve run into this a few times.

          Good luck…

          1. Thanks! Never have heard that about that the rice. It truly takes a community to learn everything needed to navigate the GF world. Love your blog!

          2. I get ill from tempura, soy, sushi vinegar, imitation crab. I have yet to find ANY sushi place that gets it right, and the language barrier makes things tough. There are a lot of added ingredients in things like eel and row, so I just pass on any sushi place.

          3. And some Chinese restaurants put flour in their rice to make it more sticky. I pretty much avoid all Chinese restaurants PEROID. I always get sick.

      3. Just be careful of sushi. Some places now put panko in their sushi for “crunch”. I have NEVER been so sick in my life.

        1. Sushi guidelines: avoid california rolls (imitation crab), avoid anything with panko or tempura/crunchy rolls, avoid eel sauce (soy based), no miso, no soy sauce (tamari or liquid aminos are GF alternatives), no spicy tuna (made from mayo), no dynamite (made with mayo), no Teriyaki (has soy in it). Sashimi platters are good options, Sashimi salad is good (no soy or soy based dressings), Nigiri sushi is generally okay but make sure the rice is prepared gluten free.

  8. What part of jersey are you in? I’ve always had a horrid experience at the Atlantic city PF Changs. Even found a noodle at the bottom of my chicken and broccoli once. Have had better luck at the one in Marlton, though. I’m beginning to believe eating out safely with Celiac is just impossible…..feel better.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      There is indeed an inherent risk any time we eat out. It’s just a celiac’s life. The PF Changs I went to is the one in Princeton.

    2. I do not believe its impossible for Celiacs safely eat out. I do however find it strange how many Celiacs just wanna go to a big chain restaurant and feel like they give a Damm. Or expect that a chain restaurant offers some kind of automatic safety.

      I do however believe the answer to this evergrowing “issue” is to get into those small places near by. The mom and pops places, Independant restaurants get to know them and I mean the menus, the kitchen, the people handling the food,

      Perhaps by building relationships and knowing those and being known by those preparing your food you could finally stop worrying so much about the food itself and be able to relax and enjoy.

      I know some of you are going to scoff, but yes I am strongly suggesting that each Celiac take some responsibilty and action towards ensuring that the food experinces you have while eating out are fun and positive instead of stress filled events to be avoided!!!

      A but about myself, I too am a Chef (last name not Cook) who willl
      always recommmend people take responsibility for their own dietary well being!!! To this end I left my well positioned job in order to follow my dream of working in a environment that does not make me ill, from going to work instead I am in the midst of opening a Deadicated GF eatery. I add this just as a little background on the depth of my comitment.


      1. I disagree that people with celiac should be responsible for investing a great deal of time and maybe money into sorting out whether restaurants are safe or only pretend to be to attract new customers. Asking all the right questions of the owner or manager is no guarantee that any restaurant will in the end provide you with food that won’t make you sick.

        1. I apologize but this response really confuses me. Wouldn’t it be great if there were dedicated GF restaurants all over the place….but there aren’t. So I can’t see any other way to eat out than by taking the time and the responsibility to try determine whether a restaurant is safe for me to eat or not.

          1. Asian Box, Zest Bakery, Pica Pica, and Grease Box in the Bay Area are all dedicated, caring, welcoming, and on a mission. If we demand better and stop “cheating,” then the incentive will be for companies to up their game.

      2. I love the idea of this, but it is just not practical. Can I just go hang out in the restaurant and get to know the food and the menu, without actually eating anything? I’m working on building relationships with some of the restaurants around me, but honestly, it’s not worth it. If there is a chain that consistently and safely prepares something that can be eaten, I think I’ll have to stick with that in a pinch.

  9. Since going GF, over two years ago, I’ve eaten at PF Changs about 4 times. The first time was great. The second time I got really, really sick. I called and talked with the manager. The next two times have been fine. But, EVERY time I eat out anywhere (that’s like three places) I always worry whether I will be sick. It makes it almost not even worth it. Almost. I think eating out is one of the things I miss the most. The freedom of just running by and grabbing something or sitting down to enjoy a meal that I don’t have to prepare or clean-up. The manager of the PF Changs here has a mother who is Celiac, but, like you said, it’s the people who are making it and most often they don’t even care that you have a food allergy and/or disease.

    Hope you recover soon.

  10. I noticed there are 2 Julie’s, this is the one way out in the Pacific. I changed my name to distinguish us. Sorry to hear about your experience Gluten Dude. I never made it to Ruth Chris Steakhouse the other night, and I am relieved actually. It has been 2 weeks since my last “glutened” episode at a Mexican Rest. and I am really anxious about going out to eat. I have some gift cards for RC, so my husband said to contact the chef and see if he can assure me a GF non-contaminated meal. I checked out their website for the location here and e-mailed him yesterday, haven’t heard back yet. HIs last name is Cook, “Dear Chef Cook”. Is that a hoot. and his assistant is Emily Herb. (just kidding, but the chef’s name is cook!)

    I visited with a friend yesterday and she said, “Jules, you are not going to be able to eat out, period”. As much as I hate to hear that, I think she may be right. We went to lunch and I did not order anything, b/c even after eating a salad there on a few occasions, I had to hit the bathroom immediately and i think it was from cross contamination. The owner has even let me bring my own GF bread so I could have a sandwich, but I would get glutened somehow. I did not bring my own lunch b/c this cafe needs the business and thought it would be rude. This can get depressing if I allow it to, I can’t allow it to, I just can’t and I won’t. When I got home hubby said, next time bring your own lunch and give the owner 5 bucks like a corkage fee. hmmm, I think that might work. I would never consider this in any big chain rest. but this is in a rural area, small town kinda place, I think that will work.

    Anyhoo, GD, I’ll send you some aloha vibes right now.


    1. The Gluten Dude

      I like your husband’s idea. Not sure how a restaurant would react.

      Chef Cook…that is funny.

      1. Hi Gluten Dude,

        I’m enjoying your site – thanks!

        My daughter, who is really sensitive to cross-contamination, actually brought her own dinner to a fancy local restaurant for her sister’s birthday. We just bit the bullet, called ahead and told them she has severe food allergies and we were bringing her food and did it. She’s only really sensitive to gluten, but feels awful for days if she eats it and most restaurants just can’t handle it. The waitress looked surprised, but she said ok – good for you for being proactive! Of course, there were 4 other people who all ordered food and drinks. So not as fun for my daughter, but she brought a lovely salad with grilled salmon from home, and enjoyed not worrying all night about getting sick! we gave an extra big tip and went home not worrying!

        so it can happen. We’ve also done it at a small town restaurant in the middle of upstate NY on a road trip. We KNEW they couldn’t handle it and I think the waitress was relieved. again, we tipped well.

        Those are the only two times we’ve done it, but they were both successful so we might try again.

        good luck with dining! I think we’ll give P F Chang’s a skip…

      2. I just discovered your blog and am enjoying it so far. Great info here.
        My mother has been bringing her own meals out to restaurant dates with friends for years and usually has good experiences. She explains she has multiple food allergies and is on a special food regimine. She orders a beverage from the restaurant menu to drink with her meal. She always leaves a generous tip for the server and makes a point to thank management for the opportunity to enjoy her visit with her friends. It gives her an opportunity to put in a plug for gluten free dining options, as well. Some restaurants have even offered to plate her meal or heat it up for her. Some have charged her an extra plate fee similar to ones restaurants may charge if two people share a single meal, but it doesn’t happen that often.

        All you can do is ask, hope for the best and be prepared for the worst. πŸ™‚

  11. So get what you mean about once “burned” like that and being so ill ~ much easier and a whole lot safer just to avoid the place … As Celiacs I have found that we seem to face so many “small” battles everyday so really do have to choose which ones are the ones we put our energy into. I am sure as many of us have been – I have been there where we make an unwise choice because of hunger, or peer or family pressure … I hope your guts start to feel better soon … and the rest of you because we know it affects everything.

    We went to P.F. Changs when we visited Vegas … and though we didn’t seem to have any gluten reactions we were certainly happy that there are bathroom facilities everywhere along the Vegas Strip ha ha … not sure what it was and silly enough did not stop us from eating there more than once during the week we were there.

    Sending you “feel better” wishes … Sherri

    1. The Gluten Dude

      Mrs. Dude and I always say to each other “pick your battles” with the kids. I agree…same with celiac.

    2. Amy -The Quirky Gluten Free Runner

      I hit up the PF Changs that is on the strip with my also celiac siblings. . . WE had a great experience and an awesome waiter who knew that our happiness was making his tips πŸ™‚

      but I try to avoid soy now as I realize it’s also a trigger for me. πŸ™

      1. The Managers of the PF Changs in Metairie La. have become our friends and family. I have never gotten sick from eating there! When we had a death in our family, they were there for us with complimentary meals and TLC. Michael, Aaron, Patrick and Tim are wonderful guys! So sorry, some of you have had bad experiences!
        Remember, not all soy sauce is gluten free!

        Gluten free since mid 1960’s!

  12. So sorry, kiddo.:(

    I have only eaten in a TOTALLY dedicated GF restaurant and bakery (it’s called Sherry Lynn’s in Latham, NY) and like you, I cried when I realized I could eat there and be safe. I did chance a Bonefish Grille twice while in Florida recently and had a good experience. I did have another not-so-great one when a snarky waiter rolled his eyes and sighed heavily when I asked for a GF menu,declaring “oh please, my friend thinks she has a gluten allergy. C’mon, everyone gets sleepy after a big bowl of pasta!”….I felt my hubs and friends take a collective breath in as I summoned the calm I would need to tell this kid why he was wrong on about 5 different levels. Gluten ALLERGY?! …oy

    I am a “quick responder”–meaning, if there is trace gluten, I’ll know it very soon. Not just stomach stuff, but neuro misery and so, eating out to me is like playing Russian Roulette.

    I got stung once by a “GF flourless cake” at an upscale restaurant when I ventured out on our anniversary just past one year after my DX. They assured me it was GF.
    And when I spoke to the chef a few days later, he fell all over himself apologizing.” We take GF and all allergies very seriously”…. The first question I asked was “did you make this or was it made somewhere else?”. Turns out, yeah, there’s no flour in it, but it was made in a factory where they make hundreds of gluteny cakes, pies and breads every day.

    I gave him an education on why he simply cannot label it GF. He was so upset, having designated a special area in his kitchen for the preparation of the entrees, but failed to consider that the baked item that was not made in-house was cc’ed like mad. He wants me to come back and see his kitchen and let him cook for me. Maybe someday.

    They “get it”…. but they don’t.
    It’s not about the INGREDIENTS—- it is about the PREPARATION. (Which is why the amber label is wrong wrong wrong.) And we have come full circle in our discussion haven’t we?

    Hope you feel better soon, G-dude.Drink lots of water.

    Hey, if you and your family ever come up this way, I’ll meet you at Sherry Lynn’s and introduce you to Sherry (a fellow celiac) and her hubs, Howie. Their establishment is 100% GF–new equipment that has never touched a grain of gluten. Nothing is allowed in and their staff is well-trained and knows why GF is serious business.

    WE need more of THESE places!!!

  13. Hope you are feeling less foggy and looking less pasty soon.

    Eating out sucks. I have very few places I trust. I will go to PF Chang’s in Winter Park, Fl and have this far had goo experiences. I usually am a nervous wreck eating any where, but PF Chang’s is one I feel sort of safe at. I am not a huge fan of their dishes, but love that I have not gotten sick from there.

    I have had similar experiences with other chains and supposed good gfree habits. One I will never go back to is BJ’s Restaurant due to a similar experience. I was sick by the time I got in my car. My daughter swears the Pazookie was not gfree … “tasted too good”.

      1. It’s a big cookie. They just so happen to have a Gf one and a not gf one….an accident waiting to happen??

        It’s been a while – think it was topped with ice cream and yes, the supposedly gfree Pazookie was awesome.

        1. Yes, the gluten-free Pizookie from BJ”s Brewery Restaurant. It is amazing. It is basically a “pizza cookie” – hence the name, “Pizookie”. It’s a thick chocolate chip cookie (made in its own pan – and served in it’s own pan….therefore greatly reducing contamination error) served hot with ice cream on top. Only had one so far…. wasn’t glutened. πŸ™‚

  14. Yikes, what a bummer.
    I love PF Changs, but I will say I’ve had way better experiences with their lunch menu than their dinner menu. On two occasions, I’ve gotten the wrong dish – I ordered broccoli beef but got Mongolian beef, or I ordered ginger lemon chicken but for the chicken lettuce wraps. Thankfully, both times they were gluten-free and the servers have been so apologetic about it. But it is a little suspicious that it’s happened to me twice …

  15. I’m with you on this one Dude . I went 3 times total , first time was great no issues , seconde time well I’m not sure what happend but I got sick , by the third time I gave them the benfit of a doubt … I went back they accidentally gave me the wrong sauce ! They really didnt seem to think it was a big deal!, but i did because I almost ate it ! So what I did was I sent it back when the waiter asked why I said because now I don’t feel safe it eating and I dont want to get sick . I got a blank look from the waiter and he walked away . I didn’t eat anything that night I just had water .. I’m done with them lol

  16. I think I’ve eaten PF Chang’s 3 times since my diagnosis. The first time I was SEVERELY bloated afterwards. The next two times were fine (one was takout). We get takeout from Pei Wei once in a while and I do fine with their food. Sometimes I think ordering online and pressing the “gluten-free” button makes it safer because it’s right in front of their faces on the order, I don’t have to worry about someone messing it up. But maybe that’s just how I make myself feel better about it πŸ™‚

    I know that painful feeling you were talking about, that happened to me one night at my parent’s house. They had taken every precaution (they thought) to make sure I was safe to eat at their house. After that night, they totally reevaluated, made some more changes, and I have been safe at their house ever since.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      Yeah…I’m not sure if it’s gluten or just real unhealthy and our bodies are reacting to that.

      1. Amy -The Quirky Gluten Free Runner

        entirely possible it’s that, at least for the hubby and myself, we eat so much more healthy, that having basic american junk food (and PF Changs would fall into that category, with all the sodium and fat in the preparation) that I wonder if it’s just out bodies are saying “quit contaminating me with this gunk!”

  17. I feel ya on the PF Changs thing. While I haven’t had a severe reaction, the last few times I’ve visited, I left with the “I just don’t feel well” thing – I’d be out of it, have heartburn, etc. – like maybe I was “lightly glutened” or something.
    I hate when you first visit a restaurant, explain the whole “severe celiac” thing, and they take excellent care of you. The next time, it’s good, but the time after that? And after that? It gets worse, in spite of the fact that you explain your story the same each time. This has happened several times to me, and finally it’s ended with me being ill for 2 weeks and vowing never to eat there again. It definitely keeps the list of “acceptable” restaurants very short.
    I much prefer eating my own food whenever I can, but I know that’s not always possible.
    Hope you feel better soon. Might I suggest lots of ginger tea and making some homemade chicken or beef bone stock? Those two things seem to be key to making my gut feel a bit closer to normal.

  18. Yikes, I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I’ve eaten at PF Changs in several cities: Chicago, Knoxville and Indianapolis. However, I do not get sick if I get glutened so I have no way of telling when I accidentally eat gluten.
    I used to eat out a lot more but have really scaled it down since my antibodies were highly elevated for nearly 1 1/2 years since going gluten-free. I’ve just started to heal in the last 6 months or so.
    Anyway, I always have to ask my Celiac friends if they can tolerate a restaurant without getting sick so I know if it’s ok for me or not.
    But all it takes is one person to screw something up or one “harmless” mistake. Not very reassuring.
    Well, one thing for sure, I’ll never eat at the one in Princeton, NJ!

    1. Rachel, I have talked with a few of you special celiacs who do not have a GI issue post glutening, so it makes it impossible to tell if you’ve been hit. LOVETOTRAVEL on is one, She was going along with her life,no GI distress whatsoever, only getting tested because someone in the family had it and she had totally flat villi. She had no clue. Another was Jim who did not know until they ran a test after he tested positive for prostate cancer and he was anemic. (a rare, smart doc that was!)

      As much as I hate the symptoms I suffer, I imagine this presents you with the added difficulty of wondering where it lurks.

      If only gluten glowed bright orange or something.

      You can gauge it by always dining out with GF and celiac friends, I guess, sort of like having a canary in a coal mine.

      I am thinking of the ancient royals who used to have “tasters” for their food in case of attempted treason by poisoning.

      You really do have to be extra vigilant.

      I think I may be in the minority, but I am down and out for weeks after a minor CC. I call gluten my “kryptonite” and Supergirl can’t fly with that around.

      1. yes, not getting sick if I get glutened is a definite problem for me. I mean, it’s great that I don’t get sick. But, it took nearly 1 1/2 years for my antibodies to start going down and for my symptoms of extreme fatigue (among many others, but not GI) to go away. Since having numerous blood tests to check my antibody levels and 2 endoscopies, I’ve really gotten much more strict about what I eat and am eating out much less. I used to just eat out at certain Mexican and Asian restaurants and not really think twice (as long as I didn’t order burritos or eggrolls, I thought I was fine). Dumb move. Anyway, I have had to change my eating habits drastically because the antibodies and symptoms just wouldn’t go away. I often do consult with my other Celiac friends who do get sick and that gives me a better gauge as to whether a place might be safe for me to eat out at.

      2. “If only gluten glowed bright orange or something.” – that would honestly be so awesome and I would definitely eat out more often!! πŸ™‚

        Even if we could use specials glasses that worked like heat seekers that could pick up gluten anywhere.

        Sigh… a girl can dream :).

  19. Wow. I directed to your blog from my twitter feed at work (yep, I work at PF Chang’s…)

    At my location they have the managers bring out the gluten free food, as well as any food that is allergy-related (they all come on those different plates.) They inspect them first too. I always thought that was a severe step…until I read this. I’m just reallly sorry. I wouldn’t come back either.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      That’s interesting. I do believe they take it seriously here, but I have never had a manager get involved in my order. That’s cool.

    2. Amy -The Quirky Gluten Free Runner

      Dee, that is awesome that a manager is involved in that way.

      I have been at the PF Chang’s in Iowa (yes, sadly there is only one) and of the less than a handful of times I’ve eaten there at least once (I am wondering if it might have been twice) my food was brought out on a non-special plate, the wait staff said it was fine and then the manager swoops in and takes the offending plate away. Great the manager is on top of things, too bad the cooks apparently aren’t?

  20. Ahh I’m sorry that happened. I actually went to PF Changs a few weeks ago and was surprised at how great they were with gluten free. I felt fine eating it, but I DID get stomach pain afterwards. I was surprised, but there was nothing I could do about it after the fact.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      The question is…why did your stomach hurt? Not saying it was gluten, but it seems to be a pretty common theme here.

  21. My wife does not have CD but my daughter does. So when she goes to Changs she breaks out in hives for at least a week. She has gone to diffrent stores and diffrent menu items. And P. F.’s web site touts them as alergy frendly. My wife has no (known) food alergies.

        1. I know PF Chang’s is supposed to cut all their produce fresh each day, but does the restaurant you ate at dip the produce in a sulfite water bath, like “Veggie Fresh”, to keep it from browning over the course of the day? I have worked in the Food Service industry for more than 30 years and this is a common practice where an establishment uses a large amount of prepped fresh produce, but has limited staff to prepare it over the course of the day. Just a thought……

  22. I feel terrible for you. As others have mentioned, I do not have the immediate reaction so I second guess where I ate what that is making me feel icky and often “try again.” I’m overly optimistic and it doesn’t always pay off. It usually takes 2-4 days to get over the effects.

    “Fortunately” I have other food allergies so many of the g/f options available to you are off limits to me anyway. (No Pei Wei unless I want plain rice and broccoli, but I do go for an ice tea sometimes!) It also means that I have to question ingredients when ordering off a g/f menu, and can’t believe some of the info I get sometimes! (Ex: I asked a waitress at Macayo’s about the seasoning on the salmon for the tacos on the g/f menu; is there soy or yeast? She came back and said I couldn’t have it because it has wheat in it. WTH!)

    I have found that the more questions I ask that they either can’t answer or can’t answer well, the less likely they are to balk at me bringing my own food. My friends love going for Mexican because I can eat with them; *they* ask for an extra bowl of salsa so I have my own and I bring my own chips. πŸ™‚ My husband thinks I get screwed cause I pay the same but get less food. I also take my own food in the containers I will eat it in when I go to my in-laws’ house. Enough said, I’m sure. πŸ˜‰

    I do NOT get takeout anywhere. I think there is too much that can go wrong when they start packaging your food for you. For the local Phoenix people: True Food and Nourish, always safe. I’ve had great luck at Babbos and Yardhouse too. I’m looking for more places that rock–our social groups eat out often and that Larabar in my purse doesn’t always go with the wine!

  23. Marcia K in Chicago

    If anyone comes to the Chicagoland area, a wonderful, safe place to eat is DaLuciano’s in River Grove, IL. They have a fabulous, full Italian menu, served out of two (2) yes, I said TWO, kitchens. One kitchen is exclusively for gluten free food. This is NOT eating by subtraction. They serve us everything, from soup to nuts, including fresh baked garlic bread. Yum!

  24. The Gluten Dude

    PF Chang’s update…

    The corporate office contacted me via Twitter and we spoke on the phone today. They handled it well, apologized profusely, and said they’d contact the Princeton NJ location that messed me up. It’s all I can ask for.

    I suggested they leave a comment on this post to tell their side a bit, but not sure if they’ll follow up on that.

    Oh well…there’s always sushi.

  25. Hello,

    My name is Tiffany Hamby and I am the Guest Relations Manager for P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. Per my conversation with Gluten Dude yesterday, I wanted to reach out to the forum on behalf of P.F. Chang’s.

    P.F. Chang’s takes great pride in offering a Gluten Free menu and the safety of our Guests is our number one priority. I wanted to share a few of the procedures that we have in place when preparing Gluten Free dishes.

    1) Our servers ring in the dish as Gluten Free which prints on the kitchen ticket and alerts the staff that the dish has an allergy associated
    2)The first point of contact in the kitchen prepares the protein, etc on a RED PLATE to alert the cook line of the allergy
    3) We keep all of our Gluten Free Sauces, etc in a separate compartment of the kitchen. The sauces, ladles, etc.
    4)The dish is cooked in a Gluten Free Wok
    5)The dish is then put on a P.F. Chang’s logo plate so that the server is aware that the dish is Gluten Free

    In regards to the recent experience in Princeton, this is certainly not something we take lightly. We have alerted our Director of Culinary as well as our Regional Vice President in the area. The incident will be addressed with our entire staff and the restaurant is being audited on their Gluten Free procedures today.

    I hope this information is helpful in restoring your confidence in P.F. Chang’s. We are committed to serving Gluten Free menu items and recognize how many individuals are affected by Celiac Disease each year. We will do everything possible to correct the situation so that our Gluten Free Guests can continue to enjoy the P.F. Chang’s experience. Our sincerest apologies to Gluten Dude.

  26. I’m glad they take it so seriously and that they will go back and re-train but I’m a little disappointed that such a large chain didn’t do more for you. This is why I always tell people just because it says it’s gluten-free doesn’t mean it is and why eating out can always lead to potential issues. I’m shocked they didn’t invite you back on them to get your confidence back???

    1. The Gluten Dude

      Well…in all fairness, I said I wouldn’t be going back. But I agree that they should have done something. I was hoping for a gift card that I could give away or something. Oh well.

      1. Please message me your mailing address. It would be my pleasure to send you a couple of gift cards. We will do everything possible to make amends. I feel terrible about not offering an invitation back. Honestly, I did not want to offend you in any way. Of course we realize that a giftcard will not remove the situation but I also understand that it is certainly a nice gesture and it’s the least we could do. Please email your address to and I will follow up as promised. I look forward to hearing from you.

  27. I just came across your blog via twitter, and have to say, I too was diagnosed with Celiac in 2007. PF Changs was my first gf restaurant to eat at. But….I have not eaten there in 4 years, both times left me sick, the 2ND time was horrific and a feeling I will never forget. Sorry dude, but I understand exactly where you’re coming from.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      Nice to electronically meet you Heidi. It seems a lot of celiacs simply cannot handle their food. Is it gluten? Who knows….

  28. I am so sorry you had an issue PF Changs. I only found out about 6 mos. ago that I have “severe” Celiac Disease. The doctor said I was just treated incorrectly over the years. When I first heard about PF Changs I was thrilled. My first 2 times at PF Changs was wonderful no issues and a wonderful waiter. However, this past weekend my family went there again and this time the waitress was not as friendly or helpful. My meal did come on the correct plate however, she has all of the meal on the same tray (Gluten/Gluten Free). I didn’t think too much of it at the time until the meal was over and I had the worst stomach pains before we reached the car. My husband went back to complain was assured that there was no way any gluten was in my food. Well, since that was the only place we had been and I was fine all day it had to something they did. Like you I will no longer visit PF Changs it just isn’t worth it.

  29. It’s a shame, but eating out is honestly my biggest fear. I ate at PF Changs, after speaking to the manager, and basically fibbing a little to make it seem like I’ll have an immediate omg-call-911 moment that will put their restaurant in the spotlight if they mess up. I also know all the different types of asian sauces that are hidden ingredients in other sauces. None of them are gluten free. If there is someone with little experience in the kitchen of a particular location, I wouldn’t trust my meal to come out unless a manager and head chef knew about my problem and oversee it in the kitchen.

    I was diagnosed in 1997 though… I feel that by now I know what to ask, whether or not they know what I’m talking about. Now a days most people ask if I’m eating Gluten Free to lose weight, or manage health problems. They don’t know about Celiac, nor can they even comprehend the type of damage done to the body. If they know a little I would be afraid of any misinformation they were given down the line that will make any Celiac sick. (I’ve run into numerous problems with trusting the restaurant to know GF and I didn’t double check their every move.)

    Not saying I walk into a restaurant and I’m a whirlwind of Advocacy and bitchiness to get what I want, but in a society where very few people take one another seriously, I will not allow something as serious as Celiac Disease to be overlooked. (Especially if it’s going to make me hate my life for the next few days.)

    Maybe I’m just a little bitter that we’ve been fighting the government about labeling laws for over 15 years, but if everything worked out right, the government would have out backs and we wouldn’t have to walk into a restaurant with our hackles up baring our teeth protecting ourselves.

    All I can say is I feel you about never eating there again. I’ve sworn off so many chains at this point, I had to read what you said about it when I saw it on twitter. I sure do hope you recover soon!!!

    1. ” Not saying I walk into a restaurant and I’m a whirlwind of Advocacy and bitchiness to get what I want, but in a society where very few people take one another seriously, I will not allow something as serious as Celiac Disease to be overlooked.”

      all I can add is….Thank you and AMEN, SISTER!! :>)

    2. Amy -The Quirky Gluten Free Runner

      Sometimes I wish the Congress underwent celiac testing to see how many of those airheads are celiac and then how frustrating it is to eat a certain way not because it’s a ‘fad’ but because it’s life.

  30. One thing I’ve noticed through the years, the quality of service at PF Changs varies GREATLY by location. Back at the one closest to my parents’ house which I’ve eaten at for years (at least 50+ times) my husband and I have never gotten sick at, however there are several others that are in the regions I travel to for work that I know better to even go to because the staff does not do as good of a job preparing gluten-free items. I’ve also found that calling and discussing with the manager after you get sick really helps, it gives them a heads up that they need to be watching their line cooks a bit more and that it might also be time for a fresh round of employee training on how to handle gluten-free items.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      And therein lies the problem with chain restaurants. It ‘s next to impossible to get consistency. And consistency is one thing we need.

      1. yes and this sums up the discussion on today’s thread, too, doesn’t it G-Dude?
        (And the Domino’s one as well)

        Those Kitchen “GF” varying policies (from restaurant to restaurant) means inconsistency.

        Leaves us vulnerable.

  31. I’ve eaten multiple times at Changs in downtown Chicago & never had a problem. I’m sure the meals I ordered were indeed GF because I’m one of the “fortunate” ones; I also have DH so if get even a small amount of gluten I’ll have a DH breakout within 48 to 72 hours. The servers there seemed very aware and immediately when my friend (a fellow celiac) and I asked for the GF menu he whisked the soy sauce away as if it would attack the diners. However, I’m well aware that not all locations in a chain are equal. I don’t eat out often. But one big advantage I have is that we have a large and very active support group here, headed by an RN who has celiac disease, which also works with various restaurants and grocers in the area. So, if i could give one bit of advice–if you don’t have a support group in your area, start one! there is strength in numbers!

  32. Gluten Dude, I’m sorry PF Changs made you sick! I’ve had similar experiences with PFChangs, and don’t go there anymore either as a result. Then again, my sensitivity to cross contamination and gluten parts per million has gotten so sky high that I do not eat out anymore, anywhere, period. It is sad, and for work and similar reasons, quite difficult. As for PF Changs, I was once given the cucumber salad off the “GF menu” covered in soy sauce, and did not realize it until I had eaten more than half of it. It took 2-3 weeks before I felt “normal” again. Like you, Gluten Dude, I was very hungry, did not have my GF food kit with me, and hunger clouded my judgement. I hope you feel better soon!

    1. The Gluten Dude

      Sorry to hear. Again, no matter how great a restaurant’s “policies” may be, your putting your health in the hands of a kid usually.

  33. I think their food is very greasy and rich so that may be the reason why some of you get a stomach ache. The calories and fat content of some of these dishes is unbelievable- some are nearly 2000 calories! That’s more calories than most people need to eat in a day. Check out “Eat This, Not That!” books on the nutritional content of various chain restaurants. It will shock you!

  34. Amy -The Quirky Gluten Free Runner


    I have had the wrong plate at PF Chang’s before and been told by the waitress that “it’s fine” only to pause another minute, hubby telling me “not to eat it if I don’t feel it’s right” and then manager SCURRYING over to me and being relieved I had not eaten the gluten poison I was served!

    I am now always leery of eating there. . . actually, I had no qualms eating there the time my whole family ate there. My siblings all eat GF too, so as we were all ordering GF food it seems there would be less risk of contamination.

    Forward a couple years though, and I have figured out soy gives me problems, so now I just stay away from PF Changs b/c of that and the worry of Gluten contamination.

    I feel your pain.

    Every time I see the PF Chang’s frozen food entree commercial on TV I just want to yell “WHY CAN”T YOU MAKE A GLUTEN FREE PRODUCT” for freezer/home consumption!

  35. PF Chang’s is a no go for me-I have a shellfish allergy and am gluten sensitive. Most of their sauces contain oyster sauce. The couple of times I have eaten there they have asked if anyone at the table has any food allergies.-Love that, I wish more restaurants would ask upfront. Turns out there are only two things on their entire menu I can safely eat.

  36. What a terrible ordeal! I’m so sorry to hear that this happened. I’ve been wanting to try PF Chang’s for a long time, but I’m always wary of chain restaurants. So I guess I might have to continue to steer clear. I wonder though, could you eaten soy? Soy affects me right away and it is very uncomfortable. Many celiacs have secondary food sensitivities, so its a possibility. But not one you want to experiment with again!

    1. The Gluten Dude

      I do think the soy is part of it Heather. I gave up soy a year ago or so, but will still dabble in it once in awhile. I pay the price.

  37. I’m with you, Dude. I can’t eat there anymore either. Not saying I ingested gluten but every time I go there and to Pei Wei I get incredibily sick and it’s not worth the risk. I wonder what’s going on there (I haven’t read eveyone’s comments yet) and why some people get sick and others don’t. I just know that restaurant is off my list.

    *Nice Spaceballs reference πŸ˜‰

    1. The Gluten Dude

      Yep…not saying it’s the gluten either. Could be the salt…or the fat. Hey, maybe it’s a good thing we can’t eat there.

  38. My experience is just like yours. I seemed to, at first, have no trouble with PF Changs, but did have trouble with all Pei Weis with the exception of 1 location. After probably 3 or 4 times of going to PFs and always ordering the same thing I knew what the food was supposed to look like. We had an instance of receiving a gluten free chicken dish that had coated chicken, like some kind of breading, but even the gluten version does not have breading on it. There was another instance where we got it to go and they had no gluten free soy sauce packets so they said they put some in a little container. I got sick after that one. I imagine they put regular soy sauce. The few spaced out times I have eaten there since, it seems they don’t take gluten free seriously anymore, they don’t seem to have that special treatment attitude they had at first. Each time I have eaten there in the past year prob 4 times, I have not felt well afterward. It could be due to the fact I also noticed a decline in the service generally as well. Last time that we ate at our “safe” location, it was the worst experience, the dishes literally had food stuck to them, they got all our dishes wrong and when we got the right ones were very different than we had been ordering over the years. It tasted horrible.

  39. Very good to hear all of this feedback. I eat out at PF Changs a couple times a month. I was not symptomatic when I was diagnosed so I really would have no idea if I was being glutened there or not. Are there any national restaurants where you do feel safe? I eat at Chipotle a few times a week & feel pretty safe there. Would love any opinions on that one as well.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      We don’t have any Chipotle’s near me but I’ve heard good and not so good things about them. I stay away from chains. Except Domino’s of course πŸ™‚

  40. Thanks again for the feedback. I’m not a picky eater; & I don’t mean that in the Celiac sense I just mean that having to eat just salad or a bland chicken breast is fine with me as long as I get to go out. The more I read though the more I feel like I shouldn’t go out at all.

  41. I have eaten at Chipotle and gotten sick, you have to be careful of cross contamination. Don’t get the cheese or lettuce at the end of the line because they all use their hands to get it out, so even if the person getting your food has clean gloves everybody else has already touched it. Also if you get the salad they don’t always use tongs either to get it out of the bin. These have all been problems for me, so I only get the crunchy tacos or rice bowl and don’t get anything else they have to touch with their hands.

    1. Amy -The Quirky Gluten Free Runner

      We’ve only eaten here twice. Last year when we were passing through a specific time and again this year, same location.

      Last year we thought the steak was very spicy–and my hubby can handle spice, but he thought so as well. . A manager came out as we dining and he said the pork was the least spicy. . .

      This year, I pulled up the allergen menu on my smart phone as we were walking in. We both went with the pork this time, not because it was less spicy, but because it is the only meat without soy in it as well. Hubby eats things with soy in them and he doesn’t have too much of a problem, but when he eats things cooked in soy oil he has a problem. I have one with most soy (except, I’m happy to say, the soy lecithin in chocolate, phew!).

      I got a little rice, but only because I knew it had no wheat in it (other places have wheat in rice, I know “WHAT?”! , that it had soy in it somewhere bothered my mind, but I needed something other than meat and sauce πŸ˜‰

  42. Very glad to hear that others have eaten there (Chipotle) without a problem. Since I have no outward symptoms myself I have to rely on others experiences to know whether it’s safe or not. I only eat the rice, chicken, beans and mild tomato salsa, in a bowl of course. I avoid everything else because they use their hands to grab it. My family really enjoys the social aspect of eating out so we go there really often. Thanks for the feedback; I appreciate it so much.

  43. Regarding PFChangs, I agree that everyone who had a bad experience should contact them. The UMD Celiac Center had them as a part of their expo last month so they are definitely marketing themselves as being safe for Celiacs. Maybe our voices would help them to be more safe….definitely worth a try πŸ™‚

  44. I am sad to read that so many people have had such bad experiences at P.F. Chang’s. It is my godsend – I don’t know what I would do without it. Maybe I just lucked out and live near a location that is more aware of the cross contamination issues. As much as I want to be absolutely sure that all P.F. Chang’s follow strict guidelines when it comes to gluten-free dishes….my fear is that the more people who have problems with it – they may decide to pull the gluten-free menu entirely. (Kind of like what California Pizza Kitchen has done with their gluten-free pizza.) From my experience, P.F. Chang’s seemed to have it down and appeared to understand (with the different plates for serving gluten-free meals and as soon as I say I’m ordering off the gluten-free menu – they take away the soy sauce on the table and bring the gluten-free soy and pot sticker sauce). They also always ask if I want the fortune cookies and remind me they are not gluten-free (as if I didn’t know – but I appreciate the awareness). I just hope they are strong and re-educate the locations that are doing poorly (again – more of a reason for those who are glutened to contact P.F. Chang’s and let them know) – so, that the entire Celiac community can benefit from what they are ‘trying’ to do for us. I just don’t want to lose the one place where I feel like a normal patron – not a weirdo, picky, fad-diet eater trying to make the waiter and chef’s lives miserable. But, by all means – if they are glutening you…. let ’em have it!!! πŸ˜‰

  45. Wow, I’m so surprised. My PFChangs is so sensitive to it, they’ll even take you back to see the kitchens and watch your food being prepared. Same with my Pei Wei.

    I guess I assume something is going to get screwed up at some point. That’s why we all have to be such hawks and complain if something does get screwed up. I was at Pei Wei one time and the food didn’t taste right (likely the potato starch on the chicken was actually flour). I insisted that I get a new plate with fresh food on it that was gf. My dining partner, also gf, insisted I was crazy and didn’t get a fresh plate. She got sick. I didn’t.

    Its a pain, this celiac thing, but I’m glad there are so many vocal advocates to making sure there’s a great experience for everyone.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      “Its a pain, this celiac thing, but I’m glad there are so many vocal advocates to making sure there’s a great experience for everyone.”

      Indeed Concetta…indeed.

      And I loved your contest entry…thanks!

      1. You know, my cousin JUST mentioned Pei Wei to me…. I had never heard of it and had no idea it was affiliated with P.F. Changs. She was just biopsied for Celiac this week and it’s looking promising that she is going to be diagnosed – so, she’s freaking out right now. She works in the L.A. area frequently – so knowing she can eat at the Pei Wei locations is very comforting to her. There aren’t any Pei Wei’s where I live in CA – but knowing there are a few more options out there when I travel is great news.

        1. The Gluten Dude

          Hi Kristin. I know it’s tough, but suggest to your cousin that she not eat out anywhere for a few weeks/months if she can help it. Since she was just diagnosed, she needs to give her body some time to heal.

          1. I agree, but she wanted to know that she will have options when she has to travel again (which may not be for several months). She likes to plan ahead – so just knowing there is something out there that she should be able to eat is comforting to her. Also, she happens to be one of the ‘lucky’ Celiacs who doesn’t have any symptoms…. she doesn’t feel bad at all. Good for her every day life – bad, I guess for ever knowing if she’s getting glutened or not though.

  46. I’m actually one of those asymptomatic Celiacs. It’s so tough. Doc told me I was an unlucky one. I could repeatedly be eating something bad and never know it until someone else tells me. Tell her to hang in there though — it get’s easier & at some point she will just have to try her very, very best but not stress about it. I feel fortunate that at least I have a disease that while not curable is treatable.

    1. I guess I saw it as ‘lucky’ because if I get glutened, I am sick for quite awhile and even though I have been gluten-free for 10 years I don’t feel 100% – so, being asymptomatic seemed like a nice thought to me. But, you’re absolutely right that there is no way to know if you could potentially be harming yourself by eating something bad. I have just tried to give her as many tips as I can for eating gluten-free safely.

  47. Oh my gosh I’m so sorry; I wasn’t at all trying to contradict what you said. I just wish I had some way of knowing if the things I eat often were safe. If I got sick then I would know never to eat it again. Your cousin is very lucky to have you to give advice. I wish I had known someone who could have helped show me the way πŸ™

    1. No worries at all, Kris!! πŸ™‚ I also wish I had someone to guide me along the way when I was first diagnosed. Symptoms or not – it’s very helpful having someone who has already dealt with this to guide you. I just want to help by passing on what I’ve learned.

  48. Cornelia Dibell

    We ate at PF Chang’s today….in Washington DC inside Tyson’s mall. It was my second time there and I ordered the egg drop soup and had the ginger chicken….all GF. The waiter knew about Gluten free and assured me everything he served me was cooked in a separate station and was gluten free. I ate and enjoyed it, felt very full on the drive home….but then I got the familiar “I ate gluten” feeling” I barely made it inside the house….my stomach was upset and everything I ate was flushed down the toilet…sorry…. TMI …..but I just don’t know what it was. I will have to call the restaurant and ask some questions. Probably won’t go there again.

    1. We used to eat at this location a couple years ago, but I never got sick and we had always gotten it to go. I was only getting the GF MOO GOO GAI PAN at that point and I think it is normally gluten free anyway. I had a really hard time with the Pei Weis in that area the only one I could eat at that was safe was Dullas/Herndon and I even got sick there once.

  49. Thank you so much for posting this. I eat at that location very regularly and since I’m asymptomatic I have continued to eat there based on how knowledgeable they have seemed. Now I’m really second guessing it. Please call the restaurant and let them know. Alerting the establishments that are trying to be gf really does help all of us.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      The corporate office took the initiative and met with the local restaurant. It’s a bummer. I really liked the place.

  50. I just stumbled across this because my mom and I are Celiac. We always go to PF Changs and do fine. But tonight, we went and were both sick half way through our meal. Now Im really sick. Gluten sick. I was definatly Glutenized at PF Changs. Ugh.

    1. Whenever you’ve got kids in the kitchen and kids serving your meal, you run a risk. It’s a risk I just refuse to take anymore.

      Feel better…

  51. Oh guys I have laughed and cried reading your posts. I thought I was the only one grovelling with tears in my eyes as the waiter says ‘yes we can do super crunchy fries for you – all gluten free’
    Here in cairns am yet to find a good Chinese. I remember being in western Australia and ringing my fav Chinese take away. Me ‘hi, what do you have that’s gluten free?’ lady on phone ‘gruten?’ ‘no gluten, like wheat. ‘. Lady, being beautiful and helpful. ‘oh just a little but of wee. We can help you.’ when you say the word gluten and you get the glassy eyed stare you best keep going. Do not eat there. Oooorrrr this one. Go to a local pub for dinner. I asked what was on the menu that was gluten free. ‘oh we have loads’ was the chirpy reply. My heart soared. ‘like what can you suggest?’ I offered not believing my ears. ‘well, ALL our pasta sauces are gluten free.’. At this point I was salivating in anticipation of a great marinara. I greedily ordered and sat down excitedly. My meal comes out. It is indeed magnificent. A beautiful dish. Presented well and the smell was divine. I took a mouthful of heaven. Bit down and tasted the pasta. There was no way that was gf pasta. I welled up with tears. Ended up with a green salad with half a quarter of a tomato and no dressing. Devastating.

  52. I so appreciate PF Chang’s for making a GF menu and trying to accomidate us gluten free people. It is one of the very few places I will go but it is still a risk. I too have had meals brought on the wrong plate and my husband always insists they go back because he has seen me suffer even if a naive waiter says its GF. The separate plates are one thing that gives me a little peace because without them you would have no idea. I did have bad stomach pains one time immediately while eating at PF Chang’s. The waiter immediately had the manager come out and explain how careful they are not to have cross contamination. He was very nice but I still don’t know what the stabbing pain was from. I also suspect they don’t use good oil.
    Eating out is such a huge risk.

  53. Eating out is definitely a risk. Is there anything that you guys find that is a safe order when out? Like a plain salad or plain chicken breast? It’s so very difficult to avoid eating out altogether without becoming completely unsocial.

    1. When I need to order a GF meal at a restaurant that doesn’t have a GF menu, I order a steak, baked potato and a salad. For dressing I ask them to slice up a lemon which I then squeeze onto the salad.

      If they have Heinz ketchup I’ll put that on the steak.

      When ordering I tell them I have a food allergy and ask them to please pan fry the steak and to please clean the utensils before hand. I’ve had pretty good luck with this approach.

  54. from the pf chang menu:

    “The following ingredients are used in P.F. Chang’s gluten free sauces: chicken broth, oyster sauce, rice wine, sugar, water, wheat free soy sauce and white pepper.”

    Three potentially problematic ingredients, as you all probably know are rice wine, oyster sauce, and soy sauce. I find that not all restaurants understand that these ingredients are problematic and don’t disclose their use to the gluten-free. At least PF Chang’s discloses. Also, I just don’t trust soy sauce, whether or not it says gluten free. Whenever I see these ingredients, I don’t eat the dish. Not worth the chance that someone doesn’t understand.

  55. Some context for my reply: In my mind “potentially problematic” sauces or liquids are those that can be easily misunderstood by the general public or most commonly contain gluten ingredients. I don’t trust sauce ingredients such as these unless I know the brand and can see the ingredient list. I simply don’t trust restaurants to always be on top of their suppliers or recheck labels over time. I’ve been burned by trusting “gluten free” dish labeling, especially at Asian restaurants using such ingredients. Sounds paranoid, I know, but it keeps me well.

    I think my philosophy about eating out has gotten more and more conservative over time. I’ve been burned too many times. Additionally, I think re-learning what to eat is a personal and unscientific process. What is “problematic” for one person sometimes isn’t for another. So, interpret my comments with this in mind.

    Oyster sauce: Not sure why. Nutritionist said to avoid. Based on internet searches, it usually has soy sauce and a thickener (starch…).

    Soy Sauce: Don’t know the long explanation. Nutritionist says to avoid all soy sauce, unless specifically labeled gluten free (see context above on why I avoid at restaurants). Also, as a side note, some gluten intolerant people have problems with soy sauce as I understand things (not an expert here).

    Rice wine: I misread earlier. I thought it said rice wine vinegar, which makes me sick. Not sure how that works, but I have to avoid sushi because of this. I’m guessing rice wine is okay (not sure)??

    1. TheQuirkyGlutenFreeRunner/Amy

      I don’t trust a lot of chicken broths or other broths. Many of them have other ingredients in them than just straight water and the broth of that item.

      I’ve had problems at my state’s only PF Chang’s. I’ve had okay experiences there too. . . sometimes my food is brought out on regular plates and not the special plates. I had NO idea we could get that ‘trinity’ plate, the one with soy sauce and sauces to mix, until my family went to a PF Chang’s in Chicago and they brought it out with a red dish, to signify it was special GF soy sauce. The “local” PF Chang’s has no clue what I’m referring to with that.

  56. PF Chang has always been good for me. Ours is located at Lakeside shopping center in Metairie LA. One of the four Managers is right there in the kitchen to see every thing is done properly. The servers are well informed. I wish everyone could have my good service. The
    ONLY place I can eat with no problems! I have been a Celiac since the early 1960’s.

  57. Really hope you feel better Gluten dude :).

    It always sucks when you get disappointed by a restuarant that you thought was your saving grace. But as you always encourage everyone, don’t let it get you down too much and don’t let this fear of eating out control your life.

    I’m sure you’ll find somewhere better soon :).

    Good luck.

  58. It’s not about pf changs, it’s about each and very one of us individually and how our distinctly unique body’s deal with celiac disease . Recognizing the signs of celiac and understanding that going gluten free does not fix everyone and every symptom associated with the disease. Symptoms don’t always mean that you ingested gluten. Painful but true. It means that you have an autoimmune disease and should consider treating the entire issue. I can attest to this fact, and more people, doctors, bloggers etc should realize this. If it were as simple as eating gluten free, there would be no need for all the talk.

  59. I am so happy you wrote this. I, also, got contaminated from PF Chang’s. The first time, I called, complained about the many many things they did wrong…putting gluten on my plate, giving me the sauces and NOT giving me the GF plates. On top of the waitress seeming like she knew nothing at all. I called the manager and he was just as clueless. So I came home, sick, and called corporate and emailed my story (over several pages long). No later than a week I had over $200.00 in gift cards from them. My husband and I decided to give it another try, but a different location. The.same.thing.happened. I was sick for about a week. I learned my lesson. Free meals and extreme hunger CAN cloud your thought process…I’m resorting to never, ever eating out ever again…I’ve been contaminated by so many places. The Melting Pot (GIG certified) most recently for me and my husband’s 1 year anniversary…I didn’t make it to dessert. TMI: but needless to say we had to rush back to our hotel so I could change my underpants. I’ll never eat there again.

  60. Thanks for sharing this story and experience. After a a whirlwind battle with Malaria in East Africa 2010, I came home never feeling the same. Newly diagnosed with Celiacs last May, PF Changs was one of the first places I ventured out to a few months into this new life as well…. only to have a similar experience as you. I ‘ve eaten at several different locations here in Portland and each time left knowing something wasn’t right. My friends are always so considerate to choose a safe place for me and because of their menu and advertising Changs is likely one of the top few choices. Til now I’ve forced myself to keep my lips zipped not wanting to be the one who complicates things w/ saying even ‘gluten free’ safe menu isn’t enough for my system! Especially, about a place many of my friends and family praise and love bc of their dedication to the GF menu! Now, that I’ve heard another, voice the same complaints and experiences, I’m confident it’s not just in my mind and will joyfully own my stance on it not being a good choice for this celiac!
    Thanks for all you do and share with us. Recently finding your blog has been a blessing of encouragement and knowledge!

  61. I have had problems a couple of times when they are really busy – the servers/cooks get more careless, so I try not to go at peak times, and always double check everything…!

  62. I am truly enjoying a website dedicated to the few, the proud, the gluten free. According to a 2010 study by a council of Europian doctors, around one in a million people have celiac disease, but amazingly enough around 5 million people in the U.S. have it. We all know that our health care is far superior to theirs, so we know that no one in the U.S. is ever misdiagnosed (restless leg syndrome anyone?). See I truly enjoy this site.

  63. Just back from my first overseas trip since cd 2years. It’s a10 hour flight to Honolulu and when I got there I thought what am I going to eat. I found P.F Changs in Waikiki and it was great . I ate there 3times with out any symptoms at all . Found a GF sandwich shop called Ruffage Natural Foods very good . Will try travelling again.

  64. My daughter (14) was diagnosed last year and we were very excited to visit PF Changs bc they just opened in Toronto, Ontairo. Sadly, she was terribly ill 30 min after her meal. So, we too, will not be going back, and had a good laugh at your suggestion for what PF stands for. I called the restaurant the next day and spoke at length to the manager, and he was upset bc they take their gluten menu very seriously and offered to send me some coupons. A month later I have yet to receive anything!

  65. I’ve never had a problem with PF Changs, luckily. I have only ordered singapore street noodles or fried rice. It was also one of the first restaurants I went to that had a gluten free menu. I believe I almost cried as well. The first time I ate at a dedicated GF cafe/bakery I did cry. It is hard to explain the anticipation and anxiety that you constantly hold every time you eat, and the relief of actually enjoying food and feeling safe washes over you unexpectedly. The other time I cried in a restaurant, it was my birthday and we were at a restaurant that had a gluten free menu and other celiacs had reported it was good, and after asking about food prep I found out that the entire GF menu is prepared on the same surfaces and cookware as the gluten. I had already ordered appetizers and was stuck. I tried really hard to hold it together, but eventually tears started tumbling down my cheeks. There’s something defeating and humiliating about situations like that.

    My husband designed a restaurant warning/info card and had it printed on business cards. I keep a stack of them and after my monologue about food prep, I hand it to the waiter and tell them that it needs to stay with whoever is preparing my food so even if it switches hands, the alert stays with it. This works well to drive home my point of this being serious and to keep staff aware.

    I was still getting sick after 2 years gluten free, and also having intense pain in my gallbladder and getting sick all the time. I saw a new GI doctor, and she had me cut cow dairy and limit my fat intake a lot. Also, strangely, drinking warm water + juice of one lemon + honey in the morning before anything else actually helped. She said the acid helps to get your digestive tract moving and helps with digestion. I’m not big on natural healing stuff, but it was easy enough to implement and made a significant difference. I also take a digestive enzyme when I eat meals or big snacks, which cuts down on the digestive problems that result from not being able to properly digest food. Way too much work to be able to eat and feel okay, but what can you do?

  66. well, drat. one of my bosses gave me a P.F. Chang’s gift card. maybe i should just pass it on, or let my husband take some of his work friends to lunch.

  67. Ok, I couldn’t resist, I’m back after a few months. All of you new celiac people need to understand that we (officially diagnosed Celiac people) unlike the Gluten sensitive people, have to learn to take care of ourselves, no matter what! No one else will. You have to learn to be persistent and ask all the questions , and yes explain the differences of the two ailments. The majority of people only understand “gluten free”. Which is by all or most accountss is a fad diet craze that is necessary for some but not absolute for most. We Celiacs don’t alway show immediate symptoms and if we do its weeks or months after ingesting, and it does real damage that we generally cannot relate to a restaurant cross contaminating or meal because “gluten free people are a dime a dozen”. We have to learn to be persistent in explaining and questioning everything. Educating the places that we want to dine at is mandatory to avoid a slow inconspicuous poisoning. Many of us show no notable symptoms. An upset tummy is the leastof it. Be adamant and persistent, educate people about the real disease. It’s worth it for yourself and the rest of us. I have personally changed several restaurants that I frequent, it can be done. Good luck, continue to educate yourself about this “not so fun” but manageable ailment.

  68. I don’t have Celiac’s, but I am Gluten intolerant. I used to go to PF changs about once a month…I stopped in there for lunch one day and they were not busy at all…I ordered off the Gluten Free menu, but my waiter decided to give me the lunch price off the regular menu. It came in the correct plate, except that it tasted different. I asked the waiter 3 different times is this gluten free and he said yes because its on the correct plate. Well when I got the check it said nothing but being gluten free and was sick 5 minutes later. The last time I went back the hostess tried to sit me in the guys section again and I refused and with ton of open tables they said it would be a 10 minute wait which turned longer and I left. I haven’t been back since….Waiters should be taught if someone is ordering off the Gluten free menu they are willing to pay the higher prices so they don’t get sick…I am going to take someones advice next time I go there and ask for the manager and if that doesn’t work. I get the wrong food because it taste different I will refuse to eat till I can talk to the chef if that doesn’t work I will never go back.

  69. I’ve had very good luck with PF Chang here in Pittsburgh.

    I ask everyone in my party to order from the GF menu, which really helps. I also ask the waitstaff to please remove all the items containing gluten from the table so there’s no possibility I’ll be accidentally contaminated.

  70. That is SO disappointing. Going out to eat and feeling normal is such a rare treat. I just ate at a PF Changs in Northern Virginia a few weeks ago and was excited that it was “safe.” Sounds very hit or miss. Will watch it carefully from now on.

    If you’re ever in the Washington DC metro area, check out the Clyde’s Restaurant Group. They do special training for their whole staff and take all food allergies very seriously. I’ve been to 2 of their restaurants multiple times and have had excellent experiences.

  71. wow–this has been interesting. I’m supposed to meet some friends at Changs tonight and just went online to find out whether they have gluten free options….and found this thread! I’m newly diagnosed and worried about eating out. I don’t know my tolerance level yet. maybe I’ll check back in and let you know what happens! πŸ™‚ I’m in Charlotte, NC.

  72. Ok I’m back less than 24 hours later to say DON’T TRUST CHANGS!!! I ordered a glass of wine; changs spicy chicken and brown rice. It was on the right plates (I asked, although they weren’t red, except for the sauce). I have an upset stomach this morning…the first since I started the gluten-free diet six weeks ago. I have eaten out other places and simply ordered food that was not likely to have gluten (salad; bare burger, etc) and never a problem, so clearly Changs is being careless or they don’t understand. The waitress seemed to, but there were non-English speaking chefs in the kitchen–maybe that’s what went wrong. Like the OP, I will not be back.

    It’s one thing just to leave it up to the Celiac to make decisions about the menu—but entirely another when a place boasts to have a gluten-free menu, and misleads the public. Shame on them.

    1. Thanks for the update Jill. Although it’s very possible you got glutened, it’s also possible you are reacting to other things in their dishes, many of which are very high in salt and/or fat. But still…listen to your gut. I hope you feel better.

    2. TheQuirky Gluten Free Runner/Amy

      I use to love PF Chang’s but it didn’t love me back. I have mentioned I have had the wrong plates/dishes brought out. In the last few years I realized I also have a reaction to soy which is actually more immediate /noticeable than the gluten reaction.

      There’s only one thing I can have at PF Changs now. Philips Lemon Chicken. I’ve been there once since I’ve been soy free too and it was a success. . . maybe because it has the fewest ingredients in it?

  73. If we decided to try PF Changs again, we both always regret it. Lately we have been going to The Counter, I tried the GF bun a few times, now I just get my burger on the salad. I have never had a problem with them until this weekend, when I noticed that my burger had something on the bottom, when I turned it over it had blue cheese on it! Not only did I not order any cheese but, the blue cheese is not gluten free and they obviously knew they made a mistake because the burger was turned over to hide the fact.

  74. I am always scared at restaurants even though they have a GF menu – doesn’t mean the people in the kitchen understand cross contamination. Had a great experience eating GF at Disney World recently / there the manager or chef meets with you, takes your order and explain what they do in the kitchen to prevent cross contamination. Wish all establishments were like that.

  75. I have never tried PF Changs because I am also intolerant to soy. Personally have had bad luck with restaurants that claim to have a GF Menu- I am severe celiac and always explain in detail what I need.. even when the manager came out and personally took my order, then assured me everything was very safe I still got sick 99% of the time and at many different places. I don’t know what is up with that – seriously, it is baffling to me If they go as far to have a GF Menu, they should by all reasoning be the safer options out there- for me unforunately this has not been the case .. I do not trust it when they say GF.. Period! The one exception was at Red Robin Nicholasville, KY location- when I ordered a burger with a GF Bun- that one time I did not get sick and my kiddos have eaten there multiple times with my sil . They had burgers with gluten free buns and the fries without incident- they are the only place I am comfortable saying by name! When I eat out and that is rare now..eating away from home has become less desirable over the last few months ..I can’t see paying 3 times as much for bland and boring food that might or might not make me feel horrible for weeks.. Not worth the risk besides I make better meals at home or a quick trip a grocery store to grab natural lunch meat, baby carrots and an apple keeps me safe and and fills the hump lol.. However on the occasion that I find myself at a restaurant I do better ordering plain burgers and steamed vegetables – no sauces or seasoning, Grilled steaks with salad no dressing, Breakfast is easy -realitively speaking- though we all know when we eat anything we did not prepare ourselves we take a risk..but anyway – I usually order fried eggs, sausage or bacon and fruit. I stick with these options when I go out- and have done pretty well at staying safe this way- Of course I always tell them how careful I need them to be ,and my husband expands on it even farther to the point he almost becomes aggressive about it- He has seen what happens when I even get a tiny bit of exposure.

  76. I am GF too and got a food sensitivity test done which shows a lot of sensitivity to foods I never thought cause any problem…
    I suggest to everybody to get that done.
    Could be the soy in the sauces, a spice or a vegetable you reacted to like that!

  77. I was sorry to hear about Gluten Dude’s experience at PF Chang’s. I live in NE Ohio and there is only one PF Chang’s in the area – Beachwood. I go there infrequently but have never had a reaction. It seems to be true that all PF Chang’s are not created equal. I have had reactions occasionally at other chain restaurants that have gluten-free menus (First Watch, for example) probably from contamination issues, but not usually.

    I’ve known that I have CD since 1997 and believe me, things are a whole lot easier now than they were then. The labeling is much better, more manufacturers have modified their products to make them GF and there are LOTS more restaurants with GF menus or menu items.

    I realize that some of you have lots more sensitivities than just CD and my heart goes out to you. Keeping a 100% GF diet is difficult enough. I don’t know how you do it.

    Some day ask me about my adventures with “minimally processed” chicken! LOL!

  78. Im sorry you had a bad experience. We recently went to a PF Changs for my birthday and I thought it was great. I am very severe-I can’t even eat foods that have the ‘processed in the same plant as….’ warning. They were very accommodating, everything was on the correct plate and the server and manager were very attentive. At the end they apologized that I couldn’t eat any of there desserts (since I am also dairy free). So they brought me out a HUGE bowl of berries. Not the same as cake but a great statement. I think for restaurants its different it just varies by place. I went at peak busy hours, on a weekend with a large group and they still were great and I never got sick. I had the ginger salmon and lettuce cups.

  79. OMG, you guys!!!

    The ‘gf’ potsticker sauce has white vinegar in it… and that’s totally *legal* by the new FDA rules.

    Just use the tamari, and avoid that potsticker sauce like it’s gluten — because it is.

  80. OMG same thing just happened to me at the PFs near Quakertown, PA. My daughter (4) and I both are celiac and I was VERY VERY VERY clear that we needed GF. I was assured. The food came out on a “regular plate” so I questioned it. I haven’t been there in a while, so I didn’t remember which plate was which – but I said to the waiter: “gee, no one said GF when this was delivered and this isn’t on a different plate are you SURE it’s ok because I will get VERY sick.” He said it was fine and I ate it. Later another plate came out on a GF plate and that is when they realized the mistake. REALLY? I was sooo cautious and asked again and the guy didn’t even check. Anyway the dinner was free and I did not get sick, but it was SCARY. Now, that is not the first time I have eaten Kikoman regular soy sauce and not gotten sick. For some strange reason, I don’t get any reaction to soy sauce even though I hear others do. I am very sensitive, one bite of bread – which I recently ingested by accident – and I was vomiting for hours and could NOT stand up! BE CAREFUL eating out anywhere. People just do not get it!

    1. Kim – I would certainly bring your experience to the attention of at least the manager of the restaurant, and even better, to the corporate level. As I’ve said before, not all PF Chang’s are created equal and if they advertise GF menu items and are making mistakes, I’m sure the corporate staff would want to know.

    1. Some vinegars are ok, like apple cider or rice vinegar made in a dedicated facility, dedicated equipment. I react to white vinegar, like I react to grain vodka, and some will have their iGg levels spike with white vinegar without any noticeable symptoms at all.

  81. Just wanted to add to everyone else who suspects PF Changs might not always make their “gluten free” food really gluten free! I started eating there a couple of years ago because I discovered their gluten free menu – I was overjoyed! When I felt like treating myself at lunch once a week, I would go and order lemon chicken, egg drop soup and other things…funnily enough, like you and other people on this thread, I was fine the first couple of times, but soon began to notice I didn’t feel so great when I went there after that, and I wondered why? The bloating was incredible – my clothes got really tight and I had to go back and work around other people, feeling really uncomfortable and embarrassed. I just didn’t feel well at all. I never knew about the special plate they are supposed to use… Anyway, I just don’t go there at the moment, and possibly never again : ( I really don’t trust that they will give me the correct food.
    I think you are quite right to never go there again either, having had very similar experiences.
    PS: to those who were questioning vinegar – malt vinegar is not gluten free, due the malt, which has gluten in it! Beer: Heineken is alright. Soy sauce – not gluten free…

  82. I know that exact feeling after (or sometimes during) a PF Chang’s meal, so my heart goes out to you! I may know the source of our cc agony. A local GF restaurant owner in my area inquired with the chef at the Westchester Mall PF Changs in New York, and discovered that they may use separate plates for GF dishes but they use the same cookware to make GF dishes as they use to cook regular dishes. Sensitive celiacs would certainly react to this amount of cc, especially if they don’t wash them thoroughly which, as a former waitress, I know most places never do! Dedicated cookware would help big time.

  83. As I’ve said before, not all PF Chang’s are created equal. Seems that it would be cheap enough for them to buy a dedicated GF wok. I have never had a problem with the PF Chang’s in Beachwood, OH. Maybe you could call them and ask if they have a dedicated GF wok. It might give them a hint.

    BTW, since I last posted, I’ve been to the Red Robin chain numerous times. Not only do they have GF buns for hamburgers, but they also have GF French fries (cooked in a dedicated fryer). All you need to do is request no seasoning on the fries. This is a real treat for me!

  84. I had been eating at home for week prior, a dedicated facility.

    I was BADLY cross-contaminated with gluten at their Austin location downtown. It is disrupting my life, and I will be sick for about three weeks.

    I know they are using white vinegar in your “GF” potsticker sauce – which is a big problem. I avoided that.

    I had the GF Beet Salad, GF Chang’s Spicy Chicken, and GF egg drop soup. I had white rice.

    I’m so disappointed!!!

  85. So, I took a leap of faith and tried P F Chang’s in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. The hubs loves Chinese food (I prefer Thai) but I thought I would see how they handle the food and the many questions I would have about food prep so he could enjoy this cuisine once more. (neither of us has had Chinese good in 3 years since my DX).

    From the moment I walked through the door, I felt comfortable that they understand the serious nature of celiac. All the sauces that are GF are brought to the table in a RED cup. (This is designated for GF diners.)

    The server was very knowledgeable and she related her husband’s story of serious illness with UC and how they are GF too. She took good care of us. The GF meals we ordered were on their designated GF plates, the food was very good and I had no issues whatsoever. When the manager learned it was my first time there, he came over and introduced himself and gave me a gift card. Nice touch!

    I had a great experience at P F Chang’s. I even went back a few weeks later. Still okay! πŸ™‚

    Perhaps the careful food prep varies from location to location,(although I am not sure how because they have a definite protocol they follow. Maybe someone got sloppy?)
    or perhaps some of you have other food intolerances? (I sure do) or perhaps some of you just cannot handle spicy foods because you are still healing? OTHER things can give us grief besides gluten.
    I never would have tried such spicy food the first year after diagnosis because my GI tract was a mess.

    Eating out can be risky, of course, but I just wanted to relate my positive experience for anyone still reading the thread.

    And for the record, I agree with a previous poster–all vinegar, except malt vinegar is safe for celiacs.

    1. Awesome. And just to be clear, I never stated I was getting glutened at PF Changs…just that I felt like crap afterwards and that they did drop the ball a few times. I miss the place…but not enough to go back.

      1. I know, hon! I knew that way back when you posted it and I never said that you that I said that (follow that)? πŸ™‚

        I was just commenting in the positive and covering all bases.

  86. IrishHeart: I’m glad you posted a positive comment about PF Changs, and you’re right – some of the sites are better than others. The one I go to in Beachwood, OH is very careful, just like the one you described in FL.

    I have another revelation. There is a company called Chebe which makes a fantastic GF focaccia bread mix. It is becoming a staple of mine. They also make pizza crust mix, dinner roll mix, and sandwich roll mix. Check it out.

  87. Hi,
    I went to one of changs last night. Within 5 minutes of starting on my gf lettuce wraps I experienced the same symptoms. My stomach felt like someone stabbed me with a knife, then came the bloating and now today I can’t get out of bed. I’m convinced they are using some Chinese sauce that has msg or some gluten derived chemical in it and they are simply NOT aware of it.

    1. MSG is monosodium glutamate (and has nothing to do with gluten)
      Many people (and I am one of them) cannot tolerate MSG.
      Maybe that gave you a stomach ache and illness today. Hope you feel better.

      A “gluten-derived chemical”–would be what exactly?
      This is something I am unfamiliar with and would appreciate knowing
      what you think this could be.

      1. The chemical could be sulfiting agents. Years ago they were used in Alabama on salad greens on salad bars to keep lettuce from turning brown. My reaction was to have my stomach blow up like a balloon about to explode. I called the health department, sure they were trying to poison me. They figured it out. Told me to try another restaurant where they knew sulfiting agents weren’t used. I did, no problems. A few months later the state said a warning HAD to be posted on the salad bar for sulfites. Later the state banned them. Since you had something with lettuce, sulfite was my first thought. It’s also in processed meats and lots of other things that have no wheat.

        Also, please, please all you GF people, grab a bottle of soy sauce. Read it. Most “soy sauce” has wheat listed as the first ingredient. Since I react to both wheat and soy, unfortunately Chinese is pretty much “out” for me. Every time I eat Chinese food, no matter how careful I am, I get brain fog. I explain it to friends that “Chinese food makes me stupid.” Wheat makes my joints swell and hurt, soy makes me cry for no reason. It’s an 8-10 hour delayed reaction. It’s much harder to eliminate soy than wheat. Lot of GF products contain soy.

        I really don’t like most of the GF rice and corn noodles. However, most Chinese stores have mung bean noodles/bean threads. Just be sure to read the ingredient list. These noodles are excellent, and I use them with my spaghetti. Even my friends who aren’t GF like them, and like the idea that they are protein rather than starch. Easy to cook, too. Boil water, turn it off, add noodles and let soak 4 minutes. Done.

        Going to my new favorite cafe in Hoover, Alabama – Organic Harvest. They have a GF hot bar! I can eat everything on the hot bar. One of their workers has Celiac and I’m sure helps monitor the food on the bar. They are very, very aware of which of their foods in the deli have gluten, dairy, and soy so I feel safe eating there.

    2. i use to have the same problem, and then I realized that I ALSO have a soy intolerance/allergy. Once I eliminated soy from my diet I don’t have any issue eating at PF Chang’s. . . might also be the fact that there is really only one main dish that is Gluten and Soy free.

      *(yes, I seem to be able to have soy lecithin, although many with soy allergies/intolerances cannot). I get hot flashes and dumping syndrome from soy oil, soy protein (tofu), raw soy beans (edamame), and “non allergen” soy oil, that chipotle uses (even if I order the GF menu items at that place, I still have issues)

  88. I stumbled across this post. I actually am an employee at PF Changs and have been for several years. Just to clear some things up with some people that obviously have no idea: there is absolutely no MSG in any of our food. Our food is not pre packaged. Everything is fresh and cut daily. Gluten Free dishes all have their own set of sauces and own woks to be cooked in. Everything GF is labeled and marked as so. If it’s not labeled when you get it then simply don’t eat it. I don’t know why you get painful cramps after eating. Maybe there’s something else you’re allergic to and don’t know about. Soy perhaps?

    1. Thanks, name.:)
      I would never have been able to eat anything there if they were dosing foods with MSG. I have an intolerance to it and it makes me very ill and causes migraines. I have had 3 great dining experiences there so far and I cannot say enough about how gracious & knowledgeable the staff is (again, this is the Palm Beach Gardens, FL location)

  89. To the comments of my original post: I get painful stomach cramps whenever I consume gluten. I knew I consumed gluten at pf Changs because of my symptoms after eating the food and then the symptoms I endured days following. I appreciate all the effort that PF Chang’s takes in preparing and delivering gluten free products, however there is something going array in the process that is for a fact depositing gluten into the GF dishes. Our small organization has helped restaurants in the past, in our city of Nashville TN, to help find these kinks when we’ve discovered them. Even restaurants that are GIG certified, we’ve found and corrected minor mistakes in the prepping process or in the manufacturer’s packing that was causing cross contamination. For example: One of our members discovered that the cashews being used on O’charleys gf salad selection were processed in a facility that also processed wheat and that’s what was causing the problem. We also discovered that a peanut sauce at a Thai restaurant had traces of wheat that were not listed by the manufacturer. We’ve also discovered that many Chinese brand “rice” wines or vinegars (commonly used in Chinese cooking) are also made with wheat or manufactured in barrels with wheat paste and many times unlisted in the ingredients if manufactured outside of the US. PF Chang’s needs to Understand that somewhere and somehow there is gluten getting in their gf dishes and we hope they contact GIG or do further research on their ingredients and/or cooking practices to discover and remedy the problem.

    1. But, in all fairness,
      wouldn’t that be an issue for the specific restaurant you ate in, not the entire chain? if the company policy regarding GF is enforced and many people eat there all over the country without a “gluten reaction”, how can you say the entire corporation is not doing the right thing.

      I am sorry, but that just makes no sense to me.

  90. No I agree with you completely. It cold very well in fact simply be a isolated occurrence(s). However, since I have been glutinated at PF Chang’s twice, in two different locations, spoken to others with similar experiences, as well as, read the other comments on this blog as to their experiences at other locations across the country, I am simply gathering a hypotheses that the problem may be on a corporate or distribution level as opposed to a solitary isolated experience due to cross contamination. It is of my opinion, now knowing others have experienced the same or similar problems, that this very well could be an oversight of gluten in one if the ingredients used in many if not all of the chains.

    1. But, a few isolated incidents is simply not a large enough number for anyone to conclude “this very well could be an oversight of gluten in one if the ingredients used in many if not all of the chains”.

      That would never be my conclusion because it does not make sense.

      Anecodotal evidence is not proof of a “corporate or distribution level” oversight that is somehow glutening people in ALL the PF Chang restaurants.

      I do not mean to argue with you, hon, but there is simply no solid proof of a corporate-wide mass glutening of diners because of some “hidden gluten ingredients.”

      Could people be inadvertently glutened? yes, I suppose it is possible. It’s possible ANYWHERE. But given the incredibly good protocols put in place by this company, it is just extremely remote.
      I mean, wouldn’t I have also reported a “glutening” to you all if this were the case?

      I have a problem with all-encompassing company -bashing on any level when the company has done everything possible to accommodate gluten- free diners in a safe manner .

      Here’s what going to happen: soon, no one will want to bother to put those protocols in place… and we’ll be left with no place to go.

  91. You are 100% missing the point: consistency and reliability within the brand.

    Also, you employer will probably fire you for getting into a lame comment war. Good luck with that, and read your social media policy.

  92. That unfortunately is already happening. What good is “gluten-free” if it’s not really gluten free, isolated or not? You still get SICK. Let’s face it, “gluten-free” is a FAD right now. Just like paleo, south beach, atkins and the many diets that have come and gone… “Gluten-free” to the general public is defined as a healthy lifestyle change and trending diet: not a life changing auto immune disease that few of us (in comparison to the masses) suffer from. Everyone with Celiac disease is going to have to accept the fact that many restaurants and food manufacturers are going to capitalize off of the gluten free trend right now to increase profits not to enrich the lives of celiacs. Sorry but that’s how the world turns. Not sure how long you’ve been diagnosed but I’ve been for almost 20 years now and trust me, 20 years ago, no restaurant could even pronounce the word gluten let alone be able to buy anything you need off a grocery shelf-wow what luxury we live in now! THE ONLY WAY TO KEEP TRUE “GLUTEN FREE” IN RESTAURANTS IS TO BE STRICT AND DEMAND HIGHER STANDARDS OF THEM. If not, and to dispute your statement, you’re right…they won’t bother. They’ll keep making dishes gluten free that aren’t really gluten free because they can charge a premium and keep the masses believing they’re eating healthier while us with the real problem really will have NO where safe to go. This is already happening. If I get sick at a restaurant, or one of my family members, and that restaurant claims to be that careful in their kitchen practices, then I have a BIG problem with it. If a “few isolated incidences” also happen in other cities and to other people then I have an even bigger problem. It’s unacceptable, and if we have to keep our mouths closed in fear of, “soon, no one will want to bother to put those protocols in place… and we’ll be left with no place to go” then buckle up, because you’ll get your wish: everywhere, including all the restaurants we always wished would, will claim to be “gluten free” and be anything but. We have to set the standard. WE, the celiac sufferers, have to raise the bar, and most importantly, take a stand when the standard is not being met.

    1. Why should I believe a couple of people posting on the internet that they think they were “glutened” by a restaurant with a great gf protocol? I have no clue why you didn’t feel well after eating? Did you drink too much? Have an issue with something in the wine? Have a problem with soy? Eat too much? Ate something sketchy earlier or after that caused it? Are a disgruntled employee trashing the place? Someone with any number of other reasons, real or imagined to feel “glutened” or want to slam a company? Someone with a service to sell to restaurants?

      I have had great luck with several different locations of PF Changs. I don’t see how my experiences are any less valid than any other stranger on the internet.

  93. Angela – you are SO right. I found that I had celiac disease in 1997 – so it hasn’t quite been 20 years. There was next to nothing that was GF then. The labeling law was very helpful, but they still don’t label barley and rye.

    People with CD just have to be very diligent label readers and very discriminatory about what some restaurants advertise as being GF when it really isn’t.

    I, personally, am enjoying the GF fad, as most of the national restaurant chains in the US seem to now have GF menu items. I can again go out to eat with my friends who do not have CD if I am careful. The key word here is careful. Ask questions (in a friendly way, of course). Find out where and how food is prepared, and if it seems iffy, give it a miss. But it’s still a lot better than it was.

  94. And perhaps some of you are missing my point. πŸ™‚
    I’ll try one last time, then I am going to the beach. lol

    There are many places that ARE following the GF protocols put in place for safe kitchen practices and safe dining. From everything I have read about the company and from my own experience (and many other celiacs who report good experiences there on PF Chang’s is one of them. For every person you say “got glutened”, there are just as many who say they ate without incident. So, we’ll call that a draw. All anecdotal.

    So, what can we do? boycott the place? bash it until they decide to withdraw the GF menu all together? or accept the fact that perhaps through human error, accidents will happen?

    Even the Dude, who wrote the article is saying he does not know that it was gluten that made him ill. He admits that.

    Let’s be real here:
    The only TRULY safe place is a dedicated GF restaurant and bakery where NO gluten has ever been utilized. There are not as many of those as we would like, for sure.

    But, the reality is…it is not cost-effective. I know. I have a friend who struggles to keep hers open because invariably, only GF people eat there. EVERYTHING DEDICATED COSTS MORE: flours, starches, pastas, etc. You cannot imagine what she has gone through to keep it running, sacrificing herself in ways that are truly heroic. You know what she gets in return many times?
    I have witnessed Gee Effers who bitch and whine when there are not enough donuts in the pastry case or if she ran out of the pasta special (so, eat something else, you ungrateful sod?)

    People always expect and want more, but they never think about what it takes to produce the GF items.

    We are not “owed anything” because we have celiac.
    You are all expecting something that is even difficult for celiacs who co-exist in a shared household to achieve: you want a sterile environment so that cross-contamination can be avoided.

    That’s just not going to happen!! The risk for CC is ALWAYS going to be there when you dine out. Period.

    Here’s another sad reality we all need to face. We live in one giant shared facility–the planet Earth. And sometimes, we get bitten on the ass, despite all our efforts. I have a few times, too–even though I vetted the place like the gestapo. πŸ™‚

    Do I wish it were different? Of course! I wish I could eat wherever the hell I want, just like I used to. But that’s just not the way it is and I just can’t waste any more time grieving that idea. I am happy whenever I find a place that does it right and I can eat out and enjoy myself.

    And, as for this statement:
    “WE, the celiac sufferers, have to raise the bar, and most importantly, take a stand when the standard is not being met.”

    I assure you, I would never use this term to describe myself. I am not a “celiac sufferer”. Suffering is a strong word implying no relief from pain or hardship. It means victimization.

    I have celiac disease, but I do not suffer any longer, now that I am not dying from the disease process. Your very choice of words suggest that you are in a different place than I am.

    At some point, reason has to rule the battles we choose for the “cause”. Mine is in raising awareness about CD so that people get diagnosed properly so they can stop dying a slow death and get back to living. And be damn happy they are alive.

    Best wishes to all. As always, offered IMHO–feel free to ignore.

  95. Bravo, IrishHeart, bravo! Brilliant post, as usual. There are too many Celiac victims but to each his own. I am too busy enjoying life as a recovered Celiac to trash restaurants that are doing a good job trying to serve the gf public. And I don’t even like P.F.Changs all that much but it isn’t for gluten reasons. I was never glutened there, ever, but as a SjΓΆgren’s Syndrome person, I found their food a bit too salty for me. Salt wreaks havoc with Sjogren’s. I might even go back and ask them to do minimal salt next time, if possible. But I have never gotten sick there and I am very sensitive.

  96. I just want to clarify for the record here…I am not insinuating that I ever got glutened at a PF Changs. I simply felt like doody most times after eating there. Could have been a hundred other things. It was a personal choice on my end to stop eating there. Everyone else needs to make their own choice.

    1. I agree with you and trying to get to the bottom of it, because I love pf Chang’s and have eaten there a million times over the years (i travel a lot and it or chipotle are my go tos!) but the last three times I ate there (different locations nationwide) I felt sick afterward and that never used to happen! It was a different sick than gluten for me, so I think there is a preservative, petroleum product, or something new…

  97. I just found this and am adding my experience to this. Before diagnosis of Celiac I ate at PF Changs so often. Then, the bottom fell out and I thought I had eaten there for the last time. And, for a while that was the case. My husband and I got an email … we now have a gluten free menu. So, a new Changs opened near where we had moved and was so exited. I went through my first visit and am extremely nervous speech. No worries I hear …. we are trained and have separate cooking and prep area. Things are labeled … special dishes etc. Well, I ordered from the GF menu and ended up ill. Spoke to management on ride home and so sorry … see me when you return. Foolishly we did return. Not once but a couple more times. Each time (2) same thing. I was told on one visit the lettuce wrap sauce they mix when you are seated was gluten free if in red bowl. Well, kitchen mixed up the soy sauce and gave me one with gluten. The waitress was rude about this … not willing to listen that there IS a difference. One time they use oyster sauce in my dish that did not call for it. An error on the chef I was told …. so sorry and then told but there isn’t MUCH gluten in it. We no longer visit any PF Changs and that is so sad. So much potential with the great GF menu but …. other places are at least attentive to the issue and so the other places get our money. Shame on Changs …. and it was just one location.

  98. You are SO right John! All of a sudden there are all sorts of chain restaurants that have GF menu items. And to be honest, I get slight reactions almost every time I go. But to me, it’s worth it to be able to out to eat again with friends.

    And you know what? Sometimes I even get slight reactions when I cook at home. It’s just the nature of the beast! πŸ˜‰


  99. I too had to give up PF Changs after being glutened at both north atlanta locations πŸ™ The second time my son (also a celiac) shared an order of gf shrimp fried rice, and both of us could barely make it home. We were so happy to live in a house with more than one bathroom!!! Ick. I spoke with the mgr of both locations, and they were somewhat polite but basically told me if we are “that sensitive” to gluten there isn’t a restaurant in existence that can safely serve us. Gee thanks!

  100. Totally feeling the “alien about to explode from my gut.” One of my first meals out tonight (after being on the Fasano Diet for over 6 months)! Went to PF Changs and not 5 minutes later, I feel like crap. Arg.

  101. I LOVE PF Changs! That’s my safe place to go out to eat. I have been there more than a handful of times since my diagnosis and I’ve never gotten sick. Sorry to those individuals that have had bad experiences. Maybe you should visit Minnesota and try PF Changs one more time!

  102. I am so very sorry to hear you went through this even though it was a couple years ago! I am self-diagnosed, and have been craving Chinese food for the longest time. I am filipina and can not eat Mom’s cooking because of soy sauce, and she REFUSES to use any other brand but her beloved Filipino soy sauce! A couple of weeks ago, excited to go, my husband and I ate at P.F. Changs and ordered completely off their GF menu. That night, I did NOT feel well at all and for the whole week following. My husband and I will not be eating there again. Ever. I had not felt that cruddy in such a long time! Reading your blog has assured me that it wasn’t just me.
    God bless,

    1. Sorry to hear. My gut feeling is that so much of their food is just not that healthy…or just doesn’t agree with many of us for a variety of reasons. I’d like to think it has nothing to do with gluten.

  103. My first trip to PF Chang’s seemed okay and every trip after I felt a bit odd gut and skin. Then one day at another state’s PF Chang I happened to really, really READ the gluten free menu section and what they stated…..cannot remember it word for word but something along the line that they use WHEAT FREE SOY SAUCE. It didn’t say GLUTEN FREE SOY SAUCE. I know San J makes both wheat free AND gluten free soy sauce so I can only assume that there is a difference not sure what extra component is involved.

    So perhaps it is this minute difference that causes some of us very sensitive types to react while at PF Changs.

    The manager asked me how my gluten free meal was I mentioned that I was alarmed that the menu said the soy sauce was only wheat free and he said it was too expensive for PF Changs to purchase gluten free soy sauce. I told him then PF Chang should not be stating they are gluten free!

    So perhaps it is time for there to be not only FDA ruling on gluten free in foods, but also rulings on some measure of how to monitor restaurants claiming gluten free AND medications.

  104. Chang’s Gluten Free menu is Gluten Free, BUT if any of the commenters are having stomach issues after eating there, you may have an EGG allergy.

    ALL of the proteins served at Chang’s come from their food processor in a marinade that contains EGG.

    I know this because I emailed their corporate headquarters. They like Chipotle’s, Outback, Olive Garden, etc, have their meats (proteins) packaged and seasoned by large processors. Unlike local restaurants that do it on premise.

    Every time I ate there my stomach killed me. (I am allergic to eggs)
    I went back and did the GF rice but only with vegetables no meat and low and behold, ZERO stomach issues.

    Best advice, stay away from chain restaurants.

  105. Chang’s Gluten Free menu is Gluten Free, BUT if any of the commenters are having stomach issues after eating there, you may have an EGG allergy.

    ALL of the proteins served at Chang’s come from their food processor in a marinade that contains EGG.

    I know this because I emailed their corporate headquarters. They like Chipotle’s, Outback, Olive Garden, etc, have their meats (proteins) packaged and seasoned by large processors. Unlike local restaurants that do it on premise.

    Every time I ate there my stomach killed me. (I am allergic to eggs)
    I went back and did the GF rice but only with vegetables no meat and low and behold, ZERO stomach issues.

  106. Here is the response I just received:

    Thank you for your note! Regular soy sauce usually only contains gluten in the form of wheat. The soy sauce that is used in P.F. Chang’s gluten free recipes is certified gluten free. Only β€œwheat free” was called out in the description, because wheat is typically the only form of gluten found in soy sauce.

    Warm Regards,

    Caitlyn Miller
    Guest Relations
    P.F. Chang’s China Bistro

  107. Thanks Kristin I got the same response from them just today!

    I informed them that it would be best for them to actually say their soy sauce is gluten free provided that it is certified gluten free rather than to say “usually” and “typically”.

  108. Ah yes. Pei Wei and PF Changs are owned by the same people and both have GF options which made my heart soar. However, I’ve had bad experiences with both. Once my roommate & I ordered Pei Wei to go. She ordered regular spicy chicken and I ordered the GF sweet & sour. They marked one box GF and so naturally that’s the one I ate. You can guess what happened… they marked the wrong box GF. I called the manager and he apologized and refunded my money, but still… People don’t take Celiac seriously and all restaurant employees need some education on different food allergies/intolerances/diseases.

  109. pippy longstocking

    Warning: Gluten =TMI

    Hemorrhoids! Each time I get G’d, I get more H’s. Anyone else who can admit to this? I never hear ANYONE discussing the H word. Anyone have solutions besides Prep-H?

  110. About 6 months after my 12 yr old son was diagnosed with CD we tried PF Changs. After 2 years of celiac related illness he is SO thin and asian foods are one of the few things he loves to eat. He was so excited to eat out and you could tell he felt sort of special that a restaurant cared enough to have a GF menu. He’d just gotten to the point where he was experiencing hunger again after years of nausea. This location is in a big mall. About 1 hour after we ate, he had to run to the bathroom. He didn’t make it. He proceeded to stay in the bathroom for about 45 minutes. Soiled all his clothes and shoes. Luckily there was a kids Gap nearby and I got him some new clothes to change into. He was so humiliated by the experience. And there was something about that false hope, that maybe it would be OK and he would be able to eat out like other kids.. I’m sure PF Changs is fine sometimes. But you never know. Maybe it had a good result because my son is now SO careful and has gotten really good about reading labels, etc. But we won’t be back to PF Changs anytime soon.

    1. Although I am not surprised, I am sooo sorry to hear that your son suffered. As a mom I feel your pain too. I still do not go out, it is a terribly isolating disease. We need more 100% gluten free restaurants that are fast food so we feel less isolated. Kids need them!!!

      Petition to young folks to open up GF restaurants!!!

  111. Transocean has gluten free artificial crab meat. It’s never given me any issue when eating. However, yes! sushi can be very dangerous! Between the tempura, soy, and other wheat products it is a cross contamination nightmare. I’m also allergic to avocado so this makes my sushi fever even more difficult and annoying to the chefs. πŸ™ My husband tries to be understanding but he’s not usually supportive. When I get upset trying to explain he gets very very impatient and immature and replies with let’s just not go out ever then. My family is completely unsupportive and refuses to change anything. I’ve had to buy a skillet and cook my food in the backyard because they tell me I’m crazy and that I’ll be fine because there’s no bread. (Umm sorry for the yelling that’s about to happen) GLUTEN ISN’T JUST BREAD!!!!! OMG! Fine here have some pasta or a wrap. Sorry again but I can’t. It’s also gluten. I can print out some literature (again) with what I can and can’t eat. Oh you’re just finding something wrong with everything as usual. Fine. Since you’re being a pain in the ass, I’ll BBQ you something. That’s okay Dad I’m fine. I can’t eat off your BBQ. Why the hell not? What’s wrong with my BBQ? You just create gluten everywhere don’t you? *sigh*

    At this point I usually walk away hungry and in tears because they call out nasty comments as I go outside.

    I hate my celiac life lol

    1. Ps I’ve also never asked them to make me food. I’ve never even tried. They don’t get it so why waste the energy? They just see me continue to get skinnier and try to force feed me.

      Hmm I wonder why I can’t retain weight – it couldn’t be their constant cross contamination, ignorance, or verbal abuse over my disease could it?!! πŸ˜±πŸ™„πŸ˜‚

    2. I left everyone in my life that was not able to show me respect. I am SOOO glad I am single when I hear sh** like this, what a bunch of #1 &(%#*&!!!! Sounds like they will never change, two against one mentality. I hope you can get out of there. I had to walk away from just about everyone who was not able to be supportive. I can’t imagine having to live with people who are so completely disrespectful, uncaring, rude, cruel . . . you tell’m I said so too! Aholes! i am sorry.
      What sadness you must be feeling.

      Are you in any kind of support group? If not can you start one? There is a forum called “Patients”, have you heard of it? It is huge and world wide. It is a great support system for me, being that I am alone most of the time. It is better that way.

      It says a lot about a person or people who have no empathy or compassion for their loved one’s ills. Sad for them, when they get sick, i wonder how many will run to their side. Hopefully they will come to you later and apologize, I have had one person do that. It felt great and we are now best buds.

      Be strong and check out the other forum.

      1. Hi Dee,

        Thank you for responding. <3<3<3 You're the first person I've come across that has been supportive from the get. Your post was so awesome it made me cry. I finally felt heard and accepted. Thank you for so so much for that. I didn't realize I needed to read those words so badly. <3

        It's very sad, lonely, and I feel like I'm slowly losing my sanity on most days. If I didn't do hours of meditation and watch way too many life coaching YouTube videos, I'd probably not have retained it. Both my parents are borderline/narcissist. I'm their codependent scapegoat. So yes I take care of them constantly and they treat me like crap once they feel better. They make my husband and I's life a living hell. So much so my hubby has depression now and is starting to pick up their bad behavior. :.( oh the joys of trying to have boundaries in this house… πŸ˜‚

        But anyways I digress because anything further in that topic will make me want to pay you cash for the therapy. Lmao

        No, I'm not in any support group at the moment. I think stumbling across this site as I view through comments with tears is my first step to finding support. I'm going to check out the site you suggested.

        Thank you Gluten Dude and Dee for making my day. May your day be as bright and hopeful as mine is feeling right now.

        1. Kristin,

          Please find a support group and maybe a therapist. I say this lovingly – because I too have experienced the abuse from a narcissist and it’s very difficult to overcome. Add to that Celiac disease and a family that’s not supportive – ICK! There are others out there like you – in more ways than one. Reach out! (First off – I would try to get the negativity out of your life. Narcissists will NEVER allow you to be happy…)

          I wish you all the best!

          1. Hi Jessica,

            Yes, on both. Lol just don’t have the funds or insurance to see a therapist at the moment. It’s why I try to spend so much time doing as much personal free therapy as possible. Haha

            Due to those financial reasons are also why I’m at home. Neither my husband and I are working at the moment. I was laid off during my health crisis and diagnosis. :/ All of my savings have gone to buying gf restaurant food, ways to function when they don’t let us use amenities with or without abuse, and doctors appointments while I had my insurance. My hubby and I are trying to move in the next month or so because it’s unbearable. Like not allowed to cook inside the house ever or shower more than once or twice a week when they aren’t home.

            Thank you for the site info <3. I stumbled across that one awhile back but never went through and purchased the book. I think your posting is life telling me to check that out again and read the book finally. πŸ™‚

            Also if you're interested check out Lisa A Romano on YouTube. She's a life coach and I think if you like the daughters or narcissistic mothers site you will really like her as well. Love her videos. They're helping me disengage and detach.

            Thank you again ladies from the bottom of my heart. Its the most unconditional love and support I've received in two years. Blessings to you both ❀️❀️

          2. that is sooo true, they want you to be UNhappy, it gives them power. The only thing you can really do is leave and save yourself. So heartbreaking.

        2. Gosh, now you made me cry! I would love to give you my advise, but I think you already know what I will say . . .so i will refrain.
          I had the same relationship with my family as you do yours, I stopped helping them because I am very ill with two other diseases.

          I hope I see you on the Patients. It is based in the UK and there are many, at least 100 I’d guess, maybe more, health subjects you can choose from. It is an amazing place and extremely supportive. And it can be instant if you are on line at the same time.

          You have to follow the rules though, people from around the world go there and their laws have to be respected. For instance, you cannot send websites, they will boot it off fast and give you a stern warning. There have been times when I have been chatting with others and suddenly they are gone because they sent me a website and they’v been told not to. And there are “trolls” don’t share too much, it is very creepy closely monitored.

          But it is fun to talk to folks from the Baharan, UK, US, Portugal and more. The site is very easy to use too. I hope to see you on the Celiac forum! I am in muscle diseases as well, and menopause from time to time. I’m using the same name, followed by numbers. You will see me.

          Hang in there, you can figure it out, don’t be afraid to ROAR LIKE A LION!!! Make them respect you!Or I might have to come give them what 4, 5 and 6!!! ROAR!!!!

  112. Received a gift card for Christmas. I am allergic to shellfish, found out that almost all of their food contains oyster sauce. The have a special menu for people with this allergy ; but there is only one chicken dish and a two page list of veggies.

  113. Hey Dude,
    I’m in Utah and can’t eat at out PF Chang’s either. The last time I was there, a year ago, I watched servers drip gluten filled sauces all over “gluten free” plates at my table, same as they did at every other table. They actually dropped sauce all over my friend’s white jacket. If they do this in front of customers I can only imagine what happens in the kitchen.
    They were good for maybe the first night after training. Now? Best practice is complete avoidance. I even told them that when they showed up at our GF Expo. No one cared. Really pissed me off too! Don’t be promoting your business to celiacs if you don’t care enough to follow your own training people!!!

    1. Fake post.
      1) GF soy sauce comes in a red ramekin. You have to ask for it or they just bring the regular soy.
      2) Why did you let a server “drip” the sauce? They shouldn’t touch it.

      If you were that concerned, you should have asked for a manager or just got up and left.
      It’s your own fault for not speaking up

  114. Hello Dude,
    I have Celiac Disease too. I have been gluten free for over 10 years. I decided to eat at a PF Changs (social pressure) for the first time since my diagnosis. The staff gave me a lot of reassurances, ate egg drop soup, brown rice, spinach and garlic. Guess what, I got sick. I won’t try that again!

  115. This is an old post … and yet so current. I’ve been eating at P. F. Chang’s for the past ten years since I went gluten free. The longer I am off gluten, the more severe my reactions to it. So for my birthday, I made reservations for the family at the closest (40 minutes away) Chang’s. I enjoyed my meal: egg drop soup, noodles and my birthday cake and berries. My daughter, who is also gluten sensitive, had my noodles and had the same dessert as me. Our only difference was the egg drop soup (which I will add was brought out by a runner and not our server who was excellent).

    I barely got home in time and spent the next 8 1/2 hours in the bathroom. Excrutiatingly painful. I called P. F. Chang’s the next day to report the problem. They were incredibly apologetic many times over. They kept asking what can they do to make it better. Not much. So like you, Gluten Dude, another one bites the dust.

  116. I didn’t eat at PF Chang’s often, but I always felt safe there. I recently developed an extremely severe and sensitive allergy to any and all, including trace amounts, dairy. Most of their entrees have some form of dairy where it cannot be made without it. I won’t eat there now because I no longer have any choices. There is one entree I can eat.

  117. I have eaten at P.F.Chang’s only twice, several years apart. Both times I had the same reaction you describe. They are now completely off my list.

    The only truly gluten-free beer available in this area (York-Lancaster-Harrisburg, PA) is Redbridge. All the other beers are gluten reduced beers. I ask distributors for more choice, but they say gluten-free beer goes bad, because they don’t sell enough. They have quite a few ciders, but they are not the same–too cloying. The same choices are the same in restaurants.

  118. I’m from Canada. I ate at P.F. Chang’s while visiting my sister in Utah in April. I did my due diligence, researching reviews from people with Celiac who may have eaten at the location. I gave them the Celiac shpeal and they brought everything out on their GF plates. I was in heaven, devouring the food, as it’d been 3 years since my diagnosis and eating out at an Asian Cuisine restaurant. I was deathly ill the next day. For me, it usually takes 12-24 hours for my body to reject gluten, and I mean REJECT it. Everything is coming out at light speed and with EXTREME pain. It was a short-lived relationship. I won’t be eating at P.F. Chang’s again.

    1. You may have an egg sensitivity. All their proteins come from their processor marinating in sauces that contain egg.
      I got ill twice from eating there but then I found out from their headquarters about the egg. I am highly sensitive to eggs so I cannot eat Udi’s, Glutinos or any other GF breads that have egg. I went back to PF and ordered the GF rice but with only vegetables, no meat, and had NO problems. FYI, the Chocolate Dome is loaded with eggs.

      1. Nope, I eat eggs regularly. The only dietary problem I have is that I’m Celiac. I also know when I’m glutened, and this was definitely one of those times.

  119. I ate there once, got a carry out on New Years Eve. They were ridiculously busy. I had something like a shrimp fried rice. I am not allergic to any fish or spices, yet broke out in hives.

    They would release the ingredients only to my Dr. Never quite figured out what it was, but needless to say, I gave away the $40 customer satisfaction coupon they sent, and never ate there again. I was really sick, and couldn’t differentiate the symptoms to say if any were specifically gluten-related.

  120. I have to agree with you blog about PF Changs and those of us with Celiac Sprue.

    Three years ago, when we move to our home in Southeast Florida, I decided that I am DONE with eating out unless they are dedicated facilities, and this is why. For about two months prior to us moving our belongings into our I spent my time eating breakfast, lunch and dinner from just three locations around our new home. Two of the locations were dedicated GF facilities, and the other was PF Changs. After a long days work, I wanted the “treat myself” to a meal that wasn’t leftovers or out of a Styrofoam box. So off I went, checked-in with the manager and server, told them about my Celiac, and was giving the all to familiar, “don’t worry, we will keep your food safe”. For me, ,my reactions start about 12-24 hours later, and sure enough, around dinner time I started getting that migraine that aspirin could never help. I thought it was the dust from all the work, then I thought maybe I was hungry. Well, neither were the case and after eating I spent the entire night throwing up.

    It was then, after my not so formal, nor planned experiment, I decided that I will no longe put my health, well being and serenity in the hands. Since then, my health has improved greatly and I am forever grateful.

    Thanks for the work you do in the Celiac Community!

  121. Egg actually mimics gluten, as do corn and oats. And anyone with Celiac should not be going to restaurants that serve anything gluten or any carb that claims to be GF since the FDA allows up to 2.5% gluten in products labeled “certified gluten free.” I’m surprised someone who claims to know so much about Celiac as “gluten dude” doesn’t know these very important facts.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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