How Can I Eat at a Chinese Restaurant Without Heartburn

Here's exactly what to eat to hopefully prevent post-meal distress.

opening fortune cookie
Aaron Black/Aurora/Getty Images restaurants can be difficult to enjoy when you tend to get heartburn. The dishes may contain more ingredients that trigger your acid reflux. Plus, you can't control your meal options as much as you can at home. Consider the following your Chinese food menu Do's to dodging heartburn.

Avoid Trigger Foods

This should be a no-brainer, but when you are looking at a menu it is easy to be lured in by hunger and dishes that sound yummy.

Avoid foods that trigger your heartburn. A golden rule: take a pass on the fried and spicy dishes. 

If you aren't sure what is in a dish or how the dish is prepared, don't be afraid to ask. Also, don't be afraid to request alterations or substitutions if any dish contains ingredients that can cause heartburn for you. 

Don't know what your trigger foods are? Keeping a food diary (heartburn record) can be a good way to figure that out. Here are some common foods that you should avoid when dining at Chinese restaurants:

  • Breaded and fried entrees
  • Egg rolls
  • Ribs
  • Sauces thickened with eggs and butter
  • Hot and sour soup
  • Crispy deep-fried noodles
  • Sweet and sour dishes

Order These Dishes

The following list of Chinese menu items may be kinder to your stomach and esophagus. None of them are fried or spicy. In addition, most of them are lighter so they won't trigger reflux unless you eat too much. Enjoy:

  • Wonton soup
  • Steamed dumplings
  • Brown rice
  • Dishes made with vegetables in a light sauce
  • Stir-fried or steamed dishes with light wine or lobster sauces
  • Sauces thickened with broth and corn starch
  • Fortune cookies

Dealing with Chinese Food Heartburn

You can probably trace at least one heartburn episode to what you ate. There may be foods you can never eat because heartburn occurs every time you do.

Then there are some foods you can eat in managed amounts, as in if you have a little bit it won't bother you. And, of course, there are the safe foods. Sometimes, it's how or when they eat, rather than what they eat, that triggers the unpleasant symptoms. 

Sometimes you can take all the precautions in the world and still end up with heartburn. That's when you need to move into managing your food-triggered heartburn mode. When you're managing your post-meal heartburn, stick with the safe foods.

On a final note, remember to talk to your doctor if your heartburn is frequent (two or more times a week) or worsens. You could be suffering from a more serious condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is important not to dismiss your symptoms as 'just' heartburn because untreated GERD can lead to serious complications, such as esophageal ulcers, esophageal strictures, Barrett's esophagus, and esophageal cancer. It is, therefore, important to not self-diagnose, and inform your doctor of any change in symptoms or severity of your symptoms.

Continue Reading