What It's Like to be Gluten Free in Shanghai

Lexi Kelley
March 21, 2018
A group of us out to lunch near the Fudan University campus

After being in Shanghai for only a few weeks, I have started to get the hang of the food situation.  However having an allergy in a place where few to no people have dietary restrictions is quite challenging.  After visiting my family in Italy this past summer, a place full of pasta, pizza, bread, and pastries filled with gluten, I thought that being in China and being gluten-free would be no problem.  Viewing China as a mostly rice-based culture, I was comforted to know that I would be able to eat a lot of different things.  After arriving, I learned that gluten is a lot more common here than I thought.  Dumplings, noodles, 包子 (buns), 煎饼 (Chinese breakfast crepe), and more are very gluten full.  Asking whether certain 菜 (dishes) contain gluten has become one of my most used phrases.  这个里面有没有面粉 ? Does this dish have gluten?  Thankfully, my RA helped me write some phrases to show the 服务员 (waiter/waitress) incase they cannot understand me.

麸质过敏 - Gluten allergy

小麦过敏 - Wheat allergy

面粉过敏 - Flour allergy

食物务必不能含以上! Food must not contain any of this!

可以吃的 - Edible

米饭可以吃 - Rice can be eaten

玉米可以吃 - Corn can be eaten

蔬菜可以(沙拉等)- Vegetables can be eaten (salad, etc.)

肉类可以 - Meat can be eaten

Luckily, I have been able to find lots of delicious meat, rice, and vegetable dishes here in Shanghai.  I have tried many different dishes and cuisines since being here including hot pot, Peking duck, chicken feet, 炒饭 (fried rice), 菠菜 (spinach), 干煸豆角 (green beans), 鸡肉 (chicken), 橘肉 (pork), and more!  It’s interesting to compare Americanized Chinese food to authentic Shanghai food and try new and interesting foods.  Sometimes we are not exactly sure what’s in the food we’ve ordered, but everything here tastes amazing.

I bought egg noodles at the store, along with marinara sauce, olive oil, salt, and pepper and made some pasta with frozen peas and corn for dinner.  I also found nuts and dried fruit to make trail mix and stocked up on fresh apples and bananas to have with peanut butter in the morning.  My suitemates and I also hard-boiled some eggs for protein or a quick snack!  The eggs here are super small and aren’t refrigerated.  At first, my suitemate and I couldn’t tell if the date written on the carton was the sell by date or the packaging date and had to check to make sure the eggs were still good!

All in all, my spice tolerance and my food curiosity have increased, and as much as I could really go for a nice juicy burger at the Ellacoya Barn & Grill by my house in New Hampshire, I’m really enjoying the different cuisine here and cannot wait to try more foods over the course of my semester!

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Lexi Kelley

<p>Ever since I was a child, my life has always been linked to helping other people. I founded Kids Helping Kids when I was in sixth grade after I was in a serious car accident. While in the hospital, I heavily relied on the support of my friends and family as I had recovered. As I reflected on my accident and the serious injuries I had suffered, I saw the incredible power that I was shown as everyone came together to help me heal. The idea to start KHK was inspired by the small acts of kindness I witnessed from so many. I was so moved by the generosity of my peers that I wanted to harness that energy and share it with others, who may not have the same access to support. Kids Helping Kids has changed the way I view the world and others around me. I love volunteering because of the experiences and lessons I gain. It has shown me the power I have to make a difference in another person's life, and the impact that the people we serve have on my life.</p>

2018 Spring, 2018 Summer 1, 2018 Summer 2
Home University:
Lafayette College
Gilford, NH
International Affairs
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