Which Asian Noodles Are Gluten Free – And Which Are Not?

I’m sure you have the same problem I have at Asian restaurants: which noodles can I eat and which have wheat? I hate looking at all those lovely noodle dishes on the menu and deciding not to have any, just to be on the safe side. So I’ve compiled a checklist of the most common types of noodles found in Asian restaurants.

Yes = rice noodles, meaning wheat allergy sufferers can eat them!
No = wheat noodles, meaning wheat allergy sufferers cannot eat them.

Chow Fun: Sometimes – see comments section below. If you can’t be sure, don’t take a chance on these.
Chow Mein: No
Egg Noodles/Dan Mien: No
Ho Fun/Lai Fen: Yes
Hokkein Noodles: No
Hong Kong Noodles: No
Lo Mein: No
Lo Shee Fun: Yes
Mei Fei: Yes
Ramen: No
Sha He Fan: Yes
Shanghai Noodles: No
Soba Noodles: No
Udon: No
Vermicelli Sheets: Yes
Wonton: No

You can use these resources to check out the full list, complete with Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and other names for each noodle type. The list also includes how to make these noodles, where they are most popular, and what you can substitute for them:

Rice Noodles: http://www.foodsubs.com/NoodlesRice.html
Wheat Noodles: http://www.foodsubs.com/NoodlesWheat.html

And when you’re eating all these lovely noodles, make sure to watch In The Mood For Love, a movie where many noodles are bought and eaten 🙂 Great movie review and brief summary here: http://foreignfilmsfrenzy.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/in-the-mood-for-love/

Or read Family by Pa Chin, which has no noodles, but is the epitome of excellent Asian literature.


14 responses to this post.

  1. It is always hard to find well-informed people on this subject topic, you sound like you are aware of exactly what you are talking about! Bless you


  2. Hey, I hopped over to your web site from mixx. It’s not something I would normally read, but I liked your spin on it. Thank you for making something worth reading


  3. Well I truly enjoyed reading this. This tip procured by you is very constructive for good planning.


  4. Is it okay to place part of this in my personal blog if I post a reference point to this site?


  5. Posted by Debbie Porter on January 24, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Chow Fun noodles are not necessarily made only with rice flour…they are known to be rice noodles to Asians. However, as My intestines painfully learned this week through my own research of it’s ingredient label…the Chow Fun noodle is often made with the addition of wheat cake flour so that the noodles hold their shape and firmness. Ouch!


  6. Posted by Jiro on December 2, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Shanghai noodles are rice noodle, why would they have gluten?


    • Thanks for that question, Jiro! In all my research, I have found that Shanghai-style noodles are wheat-based noodles, although the Shanghai noodle dish can be made with rice noodles like mdi fun.


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