Cakes · Chinese Cuisine · Gluten Free Info · Sweet Breads & Cupcakes

Happy Lantern Festival! Are all Rice Balls gluten-free?

Although Lunar New Year has passed, the festivities only end today – when Lantern Festival (Yuan xiao) is celebrated.

For this special occasion, Rice Balls (tang yuan), filled with black sesame paste, or sweet bean paste, are made and eaten.  The balls are boiled in water, and when soft, are served in the water, and depending on your taste, rice alcohol can also be added.

However, be aware! 

Not ALL rice balls are gluten free!

I sadly experienced this first hand recently, when I did not carefully read the list of ingredients, and because usually, rice balls are only made with glutinous rice starch, I was negligent.

Some, not all, brands do add wheat as an ingredient in rice balls.  Be sure to read labels CAREFULLY! Do not take it for granted that because they are called ‘Rice Balls’, that they are in fact made from 100% rice flour.

If you have a peanut allergy, then also check the labels carefully. The new flavours of rice balls that are available, nowadays, can be filled with nuts, pumpkin, fruit and even meat.


Enjoy eating your tang yuan, and Happy Lantern Festival!


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