The Worst Gluten Free Menu You’ll See Today

As I was updating my “DC GFree Eats” page of recommended restaurants in the District, I began thinking of all of the places that I did not and would not include on that list. Number One offender being Ping Pong Dim Sum (locations in Chinatown and Dupont)

pingpong

Look at all the options on the “gluten-friendly” menu!

Ping Pong Dim Sum has what they like to call a “Gluten-Friendly Menu.” When I asked the waitress upon arrival if they have a gluten free menu, she insisted that they do not have a gluten free menu, but a gluten friendly menu. Also note that when you scroll over the words “Gluten-Friendly” on their website, the tool tip magically changes to say “Gluten-Free.” Confusing much?

When I asked what exactly that means, she said that it’s just “pretty much” free of gluten, only they include items that are fried in a shared fryer,  and a “black squid ink PASTRY” that is possibly gluten “friendly” just because it’s not white in color? Couldn’t tell  you.

There are also multiple dumplings that are on the “gluten-friendly” menu, but they couldn’t tell me why. Did they use a different wrapper? Was the sauce different? No one knew.

I wound up having steamed broccoli, bok choy, and rice – because that sounds like an incredibly filling meal, doesn’t it?

Bottom line: If you can’t provide gluten FREE meals to customers, don’t pretend you can.

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6 responses to “The Worst Gluten Free Menu You’ll See Today

  1. Thank you for mentioning them! I had a similar experience on Chinese New Year last year; I ended up eating rice, broccoli and I think that’s it. :(

    On the plus side, at least in my case, the manager was very knowledgeable about the menu. So, even though it’s false advertising to make it seem like they can truly feed us, he was able to tell me definitively whether something was gluten-free…and as you know, the answer was mostly no.

    I’ve heard that Hollywood East Cafe in the Wheaton Shopping Mall is good for gluten-free dim sum. I hope to check it out soon.

  2. So glad you highlighted this stupidity! It used to be that Ping Pong Dim Sum’s “gluten-free” online menu only highlighted Steamed Broccoli! It’s still my favorite gluten-free party joke.

  3. Good Lord!
    I am a avid Yelper! I will always make tips or reviews on a restaurant when i feel they understand gluten free and offer a gf menu.
    I have found that they can have the gf menu, but they have not explained to their servers to what it really is.
    One thing i run into is Chinese restaurants, most of them don’t understand.
    I am intolerant, and i can get by with just ordering anything without flour. I am not convinced that they use cornstarch when they say they do on everything. To be safe, i also order simple, rice and veggies, no soy sauce.

    Another confusing thing is, Pei Wei, they have had the same items on their gf menu, forever. Why is it that they will carry gluten free soy sauce but can’t make fried rice with it or even lettuce wraps?
    I guess, all my complaining, i’m just looking for more options.

    • I have only eaten Chinese food once in about 7 years, and I could only get steamed veggies and rice, so now I’ve just ruled it out. Totally agree with the gf soy sauce! Seems like it would be an easy win to keep a separate wok to make fried rice in.

      Thanks for your comment – it made me realize that I should try my hand at some homemade Chinese!

  4. I CAN’T believe they are still doing this!! I explained this issue to them Summer 2013.

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