P.F. Chang’s Improves Gluten-Free Menu


When I was diagnosed with celiac disease, there were not that many places that had gluten-free menus. P.F. Chang’s was one place that did have one and for a long time, if I wanted to eat Chinese food out, it was my only option. We were never restaurant chain people are we still aren’t. However, all the gluten-free meals I’ve had at P.F. Chang’s were excellent and absolutely gluten-free.

With my favorite Chinese place being just around the corner, we don’t really go to P.F. Chang’s anymore, but it’s great that the chain recently responded to customer requests for more gluten-free options. According to this press release, the expanded gluten-free menu (click on Gluten-Free on this page to see full menu) rolled out this week. The new menu includes gluten-free fried rice and several other exciting entree items!

One of the best things that P.F. Chang’s does, that no other chain does to my knowledge, is serve the gluten-free meals on a special plate. It’s a different color than the “normal” plates and the P.F. Chang’s logo is on it. Therefore, it makes it easier to tell a gluten version of a dish from a gluten-free version. Gluten-free soy sauce looks exactly the same as gluten sauce when it’s out of the bottle, after all. Once the meals are prepared, it would be fairly hard to look at the dishes and determine which of them is the gluten-free meal.

The Chicken Lettuce Wraps are not a new menu item, but they are out of this world delicious. I’ve had people (who can eat gluten) tell me they can’t tell the difference between the gluten and gluten-free version of this dish. The only ingredient change is the soy sauce and that is true of many of the gluten-free dishes offered by P.F. Chang’s. Chocolate lovers might want to save room for the decadent GF Flourless Chocolate Dome. It’s one of the richest chocolate treats served in our area and glutenoids enjoy it  as much as we do.

One word of caution about some of the locations of this chain that we have encountered in the Atlanta area. During extremely busy times the servers we’ve had seemed a bit overwhelmed when trying to accommodate gluten-free patrons.  For example, the soy sauce that is always on the tables there is not gluten-free. Someone new to the restaurant that must eat gluten-free might or might not know this. Servers don’t always remember to tell the gluten-free guests not to use the table soy sauce. Upon request, gluten-free soy sauce can be brought out and it’s not in the same type of container as the table soy sauce that contains gluten.

This problem is not unique to P.F. Chang’s or chains in general, of course. Personally, we don’t like to eat out during peak busy times at any restaurant. The busier a place is, the more of a chance someone has to mess up my meal. We even plan vacations around not having to dine out on Saturday nights if we can help it. If we eat out on Friday night when traveling, we’ll go out super early in order to avoid my meal being messed up.

Thanks to P.F. Chang’s for listening to their customers and kicking their gluten-free menu up quite a notch! There are many locations of the chain listed in our Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide.

21 thoughts on “P.F. Chang’s Improves Gluten-Free Menu”

  1. That’s great! I have never gotten sick when eating there either but the one time when it was crazy busy (my first gf meal there) I worried that I might have problems due to our overly stressed server. That was enough to make me rethink when to visit this super busy chain here. We had Chinese from Lavendar last night, but I might venture over to P.F. Changs again to try some of the new dishes.

  2. I have eaten at PF Chang’s several times. I’m thankful that they have a GF menu. However, last year I ate there and became very, very ill….an “episode” that lasted for about 4 days. I haven’t eaten there since. I’m afraid too.
    I shared a GF appetizer of lettuce wraps with a friend, and my entree was the Moo Goo Gai Pan. From what I suspect, the lettuce wraps tasted especially salty. My theory is that the waiter was so busy (it was a busy time at the restaurant) and so many people order the wraps…that he grabbed a NON-GF plate by mistake and served it to us.
    Looking back at it now, I believe that is what happened. After I got ill, I thought about the whole meal….and thought about how salty those wraps were. I wish there was a way that they could mark the plates as GF, so when the waiter grabs them off of the countertop they would know.

  3. Patrcia – the gf plates are marked – they have the logo on them and are a different color than non gf plates. That is how the staff tells the difference in them. However, It’s up to us to make sure we get the right plate. That doesn’t ensure the meal isn’t messed up, but at least it’s one check point we can do before taking that first bite. At a place like P.F. Changs, I’d also ask when my plate is delivered if this is the gluten-free meal, which again gives the server the chance to confirm at least by the plate that it is (or isn’t) the gluten-free meal before I ever take a bite. I’m excited to try some of the new options there eventually. I’m so close to our local Chinese place that knows me and my needs that it’s hard to make time to drive five times the distance to eat at a chain.

  4. I also at at PF Changs last week; I was very clear about being GF; she even brought me the GF dipping sauce and gave me a separate GF menu; however I always ask if it is GF when she brings it out.

  5. Thanks Tiffany,
    That is a good tip about the plate colors and logo. To be honest…I had no idea that the GF meals were brought out on a different color plate. I never noticed that, nor did the wait staff ever tell me about this. This happened a year ago, so I can’t really remember the details of the color of the plate. If I do remember correctly, though, I always ask when the waiter brings the dish to the table if it is GF just to confirm….and I did that on this occasion. LIke I mentioned above, I found the soy sauce very salty. When I cook with the GF tamari soy sauce, I noticed that it isn’t very salty…and tastes mild, compared to regular soy sauce. My suspicion is that they got the soy sauce mixed up. And yes, they brought the GF bottle to the table…..but I think the “mix up” happened in the kitchen.

  6. I’ve also had a problem with the soy sauce at the Lynnwood (Seattle area) restaurant. When the waiter brought the soy sauce to the table I said, “So this is the gluten free soy sauce?” to which he said, “Oh, I forgot you needed gluten free!” When he brought the GF bottle it looked just like the non-GF one. I didn’t get sick so I assume it was correct, but It seems they should be able to differentiate between the two with some identifying marker on the GF bottle!

  7. I love the new menu. I just went to PF Chang’s Monday night and was pleasantly surprised. At first I thought maybe I had lost my mind because when I visited a PF Chang’s in San Diego just a few weeks ago, I didn’t remember the GF menu being as extensive. Now I know I’m not crazy, they stepped up to the plate and gave us sooooo much more! Hooray for PF Chang’s.

    Also, they are really concerned about this type of thing. The first question from the server (even before drinks) was “Do we have any food allergies here tonight?” I was really impressed!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. I eat at a Chicago-area location of P.F. Chang’s quite often, and they have never to my knowledge served gluten-free food on specially marked plates…. Perhaps this practice is unique to one specific location?

    Also, I’m extremely disappointed that the new menu still offers absolutely no tofu dishes for gluten-free vegetarians. I’m not sure why this would be so difficult?

  9. There are some problems here. First most asian cooking uses cast iron woks. The reason this is dangerous is that it doesn’t matter if your dish doesn’t have soy sauce in it, because there is years, I mean YEARS of imbedded gluten in the cooking surface. Cast iron is porous, and it absorbs what ever you cook in it. So it doesn’t matter if your dish uses a different soy sauce. Second they only rinse it out with a bit of water, so its not a real wash anyways. If any of you know what they actually got in their kitchen then we’d have a better understanding of whether its safe or not. I ate the wraps there once and got horribly sick. I didn’t make the mistake again. I better see some responsibility with these new “gluten free menus” rather than the typical disclaimer. This is a common disease, and needs a real specific solution. 20 ppm can easily be crossed due to cooking surfaces in Asian restaurants. Believe me I know, I worked for a while in a Thai Restaurant and became violently ill from the woks. We should be supporting businesses that go the full lengths to ensure safety, and so far they’re aren’t any corporate chains we can depend on.

  10. oh yeah, and my owner friend from Brick Oven Pizza here in Austin, a fellow celiac, said she just visited PF’s and got really sick. Being that her restaurant is one of the most reliable for gf in our city, thats enough testimony for me to not want to try it.

  11. I love the menu!! I’ve tried a few things off of the new expanded menu and they were all awesome. My boyfriend who isn’t gluten free even loves the new selection and orders off of it so we can share our meals. If you haven’t tried it…you should. My favorites are the Chang’s Spicy Chicken, Mongolian Beef , Philips Better Lemon Chicken, Singapore Street Noodles and the most resent try was the BEEF A LA SICHUAN – yummy!

  12. it is kinda funny. I mean if this was a peanut allergy, and people stopped breathing right there in a restaurant, no other allergic person would go to that restaurant. It would be shocking, to find that someone DIED right there on the spot when a waiter, cook, or person handling the food had just killed someone. But this isn’t the case, instead that person who just got sick had silently been poisoned, killed slowly, sent to the bathroom with nausea and diarrhea that evening and the next day and maybe a few days later, off to walk away in shame alone and not knowing why they got sick other than it happened. This is the reality of our condition. That playing roulette with restaurants can lead to refractory sprue (where the diet doesn’t help), malnutrition, cancer, osteoporosis, anemia, did I mention cancer? This isn’t a joke. This isn’t a commercial marketing advantage for restaurants. Mess ups should be held more seriously. Like a peanut allergy. Every time a waitstaff person messes up, the proper response shouldn’t be “Is there a problem here? Do you want to make a report? I’m so sorry for the mess up. Its really confusing, and easy to mess up, the bottles look the same.” I should be more- “I”m sorry I just killed you. I will be sure that this restaurant will not cook gluten free again until we have all cross-contact eliminated with HAACP standards, and a proper outline of procedures with control points established, maintained, and observed.”
    I’ve been gluten free for eight years. Its time we got more skeptical about these so called menus when our brothers and sisters are getting sick, rather than just jumping on the bandwagon of appreciation for quantity and not quality.

  13. I have celiac and have stopped going to PF Chang’s after another celiac friend got sick there. She specifically ordered a GF chicken dish after explaining her needs to the server. The food order was mixed up with the regular version of the same dish which was ordered by another diner at the same time, different table. The server couldn’t tell the difference between the two dishes although the cooks had in fact carefully made the gf order for her. When she questioned the waiter and manager she was assured that it was gf, then ate it and was sick for weeks because she has an autoimmune disorder that is triggered when she eats gluten. The management “apologized.” Ha!!! NOT funny…

  14. According to the corporate office, all locations are instructed to serve gluten-free meals on different plate than gluten meals. Stores not doing this are not following company protocol. I’d report any store here if I found they were not following those very important instructions. Also, at the locations here, the food is not cooked in cast iron. It is cooked in stainless steel woks.

    Please keep in mind that any place that serves gluten can always mess up and that is never going to change. Humans make mistakes. I’ve been made sick three times in four years of eating out. We eat out at least once a week except on vacation when we eat about two meals out each day for a week. Aside from vacations, we tend to go to places that know us and my dietary needs. Everyone who wants to eat out should try that approach. If you’re just a number somewhere you are not going to be treated the same way as a ‘regular’ customer. This is true whether you eat gluten or not, of course.

  15. My partner and I ate there last week- the new gluten-free fried rice, Szechuan Beef and Beef with Broccoli were all excellent!!!! I’m looking forward to trying the rest of the new entrees soon!!

  16. Now I’m really curious, considering what Andrea says above regarding the PF Changs in her area not using specially marked plates. From what I can remember, the PF Changs where I live doesn’t either. I don’t know if I’m willing to try it again to find out, considering how ill I become after eating there last time.
    I found a local Thai restaurant that is very GF friendly, and the food is great! I think I’ll just stick with the local, “Mom and Pop” restaurants. I had have more success with these types of places.

  17. I usually eat at a PF Changs in Orange County, CA two or three times a month. The GF menu is the last page on their regular menu. I usually eat at the bar and the bartender always seems up to speed on the entire GF thing. I’ve got to say that I never noticed a different plate, but it sounds like they would benefit from putting a big GF on them instead of a logo. The new beef dishes are so awesome. The first time i had the broccoli and beef i came close to actual tears.

  18. I think we should remember to be grateful that an occasional exposure to gluten causes only discomfort, and in cases like mine, a dermatitis herpetiformis flare-up that although might last a couple of months, is not imminently life threatening, while people with peanut and shellfish allergies do risk life threatening episodes if they dare to eat out. I’m happy as well that GF diet is being promoted the way Atkins and Sugar Busters were in previous years, so that companies like General Mills have cashed in on it and are providing really good products. The worst part is prior to diagnosis when the symptoms go on for years.

  19. I had dinner at PF Chang’s in Newport Beach over the Memorial Day weekend. Our server was outstanding and very aware of the importance of a gluten free diet. Unfortunately, somehow the chef did not get the message. I was deathly ill for 4 days and will never be able to trust PF Chang’s.

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