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January 07, 2008

Gluten-Free Chinese Food In NYC


Lilli & Loo
792 Lexington Avenue
(between 61st & 62nd St.)

Lili's 57
200 W. 57th Street (on 7th Ave.)


Let's be honest. The hedonic treadmill we are on creates the desire for more than just Chinese food with a gluten-free soy sauce substitute. We also want crispy fried gluten-free Chinese favorites to go with our gluten-free fried rice.

Well, you can thank our fellow celiac, Vanessa Phillips, for bringing quality gluten-free Chinese food back to Manhattan. While you are at it, thank her restaurateur parents and their business partners for working with Vanessa to create many gluten-free dining options around the city. (We'll keep you posted as more tasty surprises at their other restaurant locations are being planned.) For now they have started with Lilli & Loo, a Chinese restaurant with a contemporary design and a new gluten-free menu!


The Borneo Orange Chicken (above) stole the show. Two different gluten gluttons with me couldn't get enough of this crispy white meat with spicy mandarin orange sauce. Mine was made corn-free with an arrowroot flour batter.

Other than a few traditional rice based pastries to be found in Chinatown, it has seemed as if there was a Great Wall of gluten and corn barring me from enjoying Chinese food like I remember in my pre-gf days. Sure, there is PF Chang's in the suburbs and there was Gourmet Land for a short while here in the city, and I thank them for all that they have done gluten-free, but with my additional corn allergy (Gluten-free soy sauce has corn alcohol in it and a lot of Chinese food sauces contain corn starch.) there still weren't a lot of options for me at these places. If you have the same issue, call Maggie the co-owner, a few hours before you plan to visit and she'll make sure you get your food corn-free!


The classic dish of shrimp fried rice is always appreciated.


I'm usually not very excited about spring rolls, but these Saigon rolls were a pleasant surprise. The fresh ingredients combined with the spicy mint dipping sauce was delicious!


View of the bar at Lilli & Loo. (Design junkies should check out the bathroom. I love the contrast of rustic wood with modern fixtures along with the smart placement of the garbage with a foot pedal right next to the door. So clean!  AND, the toilet seat has a special hinge so it doesn't slam shut! I want one! )

Another great thing about Lilli & Loo is the convenient location after a hard day of shopping at Bloomingdale's , a visit to the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, or a stroll around Central Park. I personally plan on stopping by often for an easy take-out option after work.

Thanks to the kind group of people behind the gluten-free menu at Lilli & Loo the fond memories of eating leftover Chinese food out of the carton for breakfast can be relived in real time again and again!


For more photos and experiences from Lilli & Loo check out:

Cat at Gluten-Free Guide


Sloane at Allergic Girl



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Hi, I couldn't agree more! I just want to add that they also DELIVER!! What a royal treat to have GF Chinese food a mere phone call away. One night after placing an order the gal who took it called back to say she was not 100% certain if the ice cream we had ordered was GF and therefore would not send it. That was certainly impressive.
I hope the Celiac public will support this lovely establishment.
As always, thanks for this terrific site..
Best, Deborah Shear

Hi Deb, nice to hear from you! Hope to see you soon!

Kel - so glad you had such a great dinner. Maggie and Alfred are incredible aren't they? I like your photos ;)

I wonder if they can do soy free too - I know that is too much to ask being that it is a Chinese restaurant. But I can still dream ...

I checked this place out last week and was in heaven. I had the lettuce wraps for an app and the pomegranate teriyaki chicken (of course all gluten free). We should also mention they do have happy hour from 4-7 where cocktails, house wine, and select beer are just $5 (no gluten free beer, however).

I have been craving Chinese food forever (since being diagnosed with celiacs about 2 1/2 months ago) and wow, I can't believe this place exists. wohoo!!!

i dream about that fried rice...seriously [without shrimp though] ;-)

i too am glad that you had a great GF time there, and i'm even gladder LILLI AND LOO created this GF Asian food experience. yay!

Hi there! Wanted to let your readers know about an interactive class here at the Whole Foods Market Bowery called "Gluten Free with Flair"...

friday, january18th 6:30p.m. 9:00p.m.

Join Chef Karen Morgan, Whole Foods Market bakery guru, as she creates sweet masterpieces minus the gluten. This class is perfect for those looking to embellish their gluten-free repertoire or home bakers wanting to add to their dessert portfolio.

Instructor: Karen Morgan, Whole Foods Market Union Square

Cost: $55

On the menu: Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie, Fruit Crisp, Anti-Bread Pudding

I just wanted to say THANKS for posting about Lilli & Loo's! We went there tonight and my sister and I got Tofu and Spinagh Soup, Chicken Fried rice, General Tso's chicken (I almost thougtht they gave me the "regular" it tasted SO good), and Chicken Pad Tai- ALL were fabulous! My husband who is not a Celiac got Wonton Soup and the Regular General Tso's, and he said they were great too!!! Thanks again for posting, it was a GREAT find! :)

Kelly -I love the term "gluten gluttons," very clever, like so much else that you write.

Thanks for the great review of Chinese food in NYC, I can't wait to try out these places next time we visit.

BTW, after having so much fun reading your blog and its comments, I finally turned on the comment section on mine.

Hi Celiac Chicks,

Ooh la la. We'll be in NYC on Sunday and were wondering where to dine. This sounds fab. Thanks for the tip.



They added to their menu! I just had the tempura rock shrimp appetizer with chile mayo (inspired by a Nobu favorite) and it was over the top amazingly delicious! They also offer the Borneo Chicken dish with beef now. Again...lip smacking delicious!

Next time you come to town let's do lunch, or meet for a drink or dinner.

Dined there last night with the NYC meetup group and the food was delicious. I will be ordering and going there often. Very excited!

I tried the general tao's chicken here and it was absolutely amazing. thanks so much for the info!

I'll be in New York the weekend of August 16th and will definitely make this restaurant a top priority! Thanks!!!

Hello. My mother in law was recently diagnosed with Celiac. She has been DYING for some crab rangoon...and almost every other asian food she cant eat haha. She is planning a move to Dallas, TX and was wondering if anyone knew if there were more gluten free chinese restaurants in that area??

Thank you :)

Wow. The food looks delicious. Good there are restaurants that are allergy-friendly considering their customer's condition.


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