Eating With Food Allergies at P. F. Chang's

P. F. Chang's is well known for its service to guests with food allergies. The company carefully studies what allergens are present in the ingredients it uses and generally is more than willing to work with diners to substitute items in order to craft a safe meal. To do this, P. F. Chang's staff uses a computer program to track allergenic ingredients — the Big Eight allergens, gluten, sesame, and other, less common allergens.

Exterior of a P.F. Chang's China Bistro
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A staff member can input your specific allergies and the computer will tell you what you can order safely. The chain uses the same suppliers for all of its restaurants, so something that's, for example, milk-free in one restaurant will be milk-free in another restaurant.

All that said, P. F. Chang's is not well-suited for someone with a peanut allergy, an egg allergy or to soy. In the case of peanuts, the risk of cross-contamination is enormous, and in the case of egg and soy, there are few options available since almost everything on the menu contains egg and soy.

Dining With Food Allergies at P. F. Chang's

Here is a sampling of what you might consider ordering at P. F. Chang's if you have food allergies:

  • Wheat/Gluten Allergy: P. F. Chang's offers a very popular gluten-free menu. This menu provides gluten-free substitutes for a number of P. F. Chang's most-ordered menu options, including Chang's spicy chicken, shrimp with lobster sauce, egg drop soup and fried rice. Since these items generally are made with gluten-containing soy sauce and (in some cases) flour in Chinese restaurants, P. F. Chang's provides a welcome Chinese food option for the gluten-intolerant community.
  • Milk Allergy: Numerous menu options at P. F. Chang's are free of milk ingredients. Your options include chicken lettuce wraps (a perennial favorite), Peking dumplings, sweet and sour chicken, Singapore street noodles, and steamed salmon with ginger. Unfortunately, though, none of the desserts are dairy-free.
  • Egg Allergy: P. F. Chang's uses egg in most of its sauces and dishes, so few dishes are egg-allergy-safe. Egg-free exceptions include stir-fried tofu and grilled salmon with ginger.
  • Peanut/Tree Nut Allergies: This is not the restaurant for someone who has a severe peanut allergy, as peanuts are used in numerous P. F. Chang's dishes and there's a huge risk of cross-contamination. If you have a nut allergy, you may have better luck, since many of the chain's menu items are nut-free. If your allergy is severe, though, the same risk of cross-contamination applies. Be sure to check with the server and manager to see what menu items might work for you.
  • Fish/Shellfish Allergy: As with peanuts, numerous menu items at P. F. Chang's contain shellfish (think: oyster sauce), and several contain fish. If you're severely allergic, the risk of cross-contamination may be too great for you. But if you just have a mild allergy, your server may be able to guide you towards options you can safely enjoy.
  • Soy Allergy: This is a tough one at P. F. Chang's since so many Chinese dishes rely heavily on soy sauce. In some cases, your only option may be the steamed salmon. However, you should check with your waiter and with the manager to see if you have broader choices.

Allergy Precautions at P. F. Chang's

P. F. Chang's takes food allergies very seriously and conducts lots of training for its staff members. It also serves allergy meals on a special plate so that you can see immediately whether your meal was prepared safely.

That being said, the chain warns that all Big Eight allergens, gluten, and sesame are in use in its kitchens in shared cooking and preparation areas. Therefore, if your allergy is severe, you should know the risks. Contact P. F. Chang's corporate office at 866-732-4264 or through the company's contact page.

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