If you have a gluten intolerance and are planning to order Chinese food takeaway from a local restaurant, here are a couple of tips that should help to ensure that you don't inadvertently choose items from the menu that contain gluten.
Contact the restaurant and ask about the sauces and flavourings they use
Most of the time, it is quite easy to recognise Chinese takeaway dishes that contain gluten: things like battered chicken, wontons and any savoury pancakes will obviously contain wheat and thus should be avoided.
However, it's important to note that there may be gluten hidden in other dishes, too. For example, the curry and sweet and sour sauces that the restaurant's meat and vegetable dishes come in might be thickened with wheat flour.
Additionally, sometimes the chefs at Chinese restaurants will throw a dash of soy sauce into certain dishes, to add some extra flavour (most standard brands of soy sauce contain wheat flour).
As such, it's best to ask one of the staff members at the restaurant which thickeners (if any) they use in their sauces, and whether or not there is soy sauce in the dishes you want.
If they inform you that they normally use wheat flour to thicken a sauce that you had planned on ordering, it might be worth asking them if they could use corn starch instead, as corn starch is usually safe for people with gluten intolerances to eat and can still serve as an effective thickening agent in sauces.
Likewise, if they tell you that soy sauce is usually added to a particular dish, you can simply ask them to omit this ingredient when preparing your meal. Most restaurants will be happy to accommodate these types of simple requests.
Don't accidentally contaminate your food
After perusing the takeaway menu, you might be tempted to order a dish that features one ingredient that contains gluten, with the intention of picking this item out of the meal before you begin to eat (for instance, if there is a dish that contains beef, mushrooms and wheat noodles, you might be thinking about simply removing the noodles from the meal).
However, this is not a good idea if you are very sensitive to gluten. The reason for this is as follows: in the above example, the wheat noodles would most likely end up contaminating the mushrooms and the beef with gluten. As such, even if you do not eat the noodles, you could still find yourself feeling unwell after you have finished eating.
Given this, it is best to choose dishes that do not contain any form of gluten.