Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Coeliacs in China

Coeliacs in China

I came across a lovely Chinese blog post written about a person from the UK visiting Beijing. I found it very interesting to read and so thought that I would share it with everyone.

Currently, it is thought that very few people inside China have problems with gluten and therefore few are said to be presenting with Coeliac Disease although numbers are alleged to be rising.

Just to give a little taste of how the blog post begins to see if you may wish to read more it begins like this:

"Coeliac in China

I was thinking that being a coeliac in China must be as hard as being a vegetarian in Argentina. I recently had a friend visiting us here in Beijing from the UK, Mrs K, who is allergic to gluten and I did a little bit of research on gluten-free products available in Beijing. So, this post is mainly a collection of tips and findings I came across.

The problem in China is: firstly, soya sauce is wheat-based, and most dishes in China are made with soya sauce! And secondly, restaurants in general, are not aware of what being a coeliac means. Although you may explain that you are allergic to wheat, it is likely that they will not understand how serious it is or what you mean by 'no gluten in the sauce'. So even if you order something as simple as 'egg-fried rice', it will be prepared with soya sauce. To be on the safe side, order plain rice, steamed vegetables or those cooked in a 'white' sort of sauce (not brown or dark, which is surely made with soya sauce)."

To read the rest of the post please visit the following link:

If you find yourself visiting China then you may wish to consider that a coeliac card in Mandarin is available. PDF's of the cards are also on the site. See link below to see the card:

In high resolution:

Gluten Free Cards for other countries:

Travel stories (Gluten related) to various countries:

World-wide Coeliac Societies and Gluten Free Websites including Message boards:

Gluten Free Message Board:

A few other links about Coeliac Disease in China (it really looks as though we may be seeing more about this in the near future):

4 Replies

This is only for those who may be interested into further reading and information regarding Coeliac Disease in China. I have added the following which are the official website links from China with people querying and advising on Coeliac Disease.

If you wish to read what has been written in the various websites and postings then I have found it best to copy and paste the link into Google Chrome - at the top it will include a translate button which you will need to click yes -


Hi Lynxcat, coeliac around the world is something that interests me so thanks for posting this I thought that because the diet in China is predominantly rice based CD was not an issue. But...I used to think that rabbits ate lettuce!

This may interest you its a list of coeliac societies around the world:

There's also info on gf holidays and travel.


Hi Jerry, I suppose that it is because wheat is mixed with soy and I suppose as the Chinese diet is often far more varied than a western diet there must be some of the population that perhaps eat more grains than others. We have all learnt to our cost that it really doesn't take much gluten for problems to occur and as all mankind is related to one distant ancestor then the propensity to become coeliac must be in every human. I know that it is often suggested that on the whole we must contain certain antibodies - although Addenbrookes Hospital states:

"The blood test is for an antibody (a chemical that the body makes during an immune reaction). This test is not perfect. It is possible to have coeliac disease despite having a negative blood test. Also the blood test can be positive in people without the disease. However, people with very high values on the blood test are most likely to have coeliac disease. A negative blood test does not mean that you will not develop coeliac disease in the future."

There are bound to be coeliacs that do not fall into any recognised pattern because there are always exceptions to every rule.

Oh the PDF of the above quote just in case you want to read the whole paper is: (just love the way that they inter-spell coeliac and celiac in the same PDF!!

Thank you for adding the coeliac societies of the world - I shall look at these with interest .. see what new pieces of information I can dig up! (Where's my shovel?) ;)


Hi Lynxcat another country that really interests me is South Africa as I've read about SA coeliac eating gf pizza options in Cape town but on the whole SA coeliac seem very insular. Here's a link about coeliac in SA:

It is very interesting and has some very interesting blogs. There's also some very interesting recipes like chocolate and orange cake made with ground almonds and the cherry cheesecake...

As for diagnosing and understanding CD I think that it's in it's infancy which's why there are differing views on the definition of gf and oats in the diet. I can see oats as a major issue for coeliac with experts and the food industry thinking that oats are safe for coeliac rather than introducing them slowly and then not to consume more than a couple of ounces in 24 hours or 1/2 ounce for coeliac children.


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