Are you a vegetarian or vegan who loves dining out at PF Chang’s?
Have you ever wondered what exactly is in their “Vegetarian Oyster Sauce”?
There have been conflicting reports about whether or not this sauce contains any animal products.
As a blog writer, I did some research to get to the bottom of this mystery.
In this article, I will share with you what I found out about the ingredients in PF Chang’s oyster sauce and which menu items are safe for vegetarians and vegans to enjoy.
So, let’s dive in and explore the world of PF Chang’s cuisine!
What Is In The Oyster Sauce In PF Changs?
After conducting some research, I found that PF Chang’s “Vegetarian Oyster Sauce” is actually made with mushrooms and does not contain any actual oyster or shellfish. This information was confirmed by the Culinary Department at PF Chang’s.
This means that the oyster sauce used in PF Chang’s vegetarian and vegan dishes is completely animal-free. So, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can rest assured that you can enjoy PF Chang’s dishes without worrying about consuming any animal products.
What Is Oyster Sauce?
Oyster sauce is a thick, dark, and glossy sauce that is commonly used in Asian cuisine. It is made from oyster extract that has been cooked down into a caramelized concentrated sauce. Traditionally, it is made by simmering oysters in water until the liquid has reduced and thickened. The resulting sauce is then flavored with sugar, salt, and soy sauce.
However, in the case of PF Chang’s “Vegetarian Oyster Sauce,” the sauce is made with mushrooms instead of oysters. This substitution makes the sauce suitable for vegetarians and vegans who want to enjoy the rich umami flavor that oyster sauce provides without consuming any animal products.
The Controversy Around PF Chang’s Vegetarian Oyster Sauce
Despite the confirmation from PF Chang’s Culinary Department that their “Vegetarian Oyster Sauce” is made with mushrooms and is free of any animal products, there has been controversy surrounding this ingredient.
In 2012, a vegan blogger claimed that all dishes at PF Chang’s were cooked in oyster sauce, making them non-vegetarian and non-vegan. This contradicted the information previously reported by the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) in 2008, which stated that all vegetarian-labeled menu items did not contain any seafood or animal products.
To clarify the situation, the VRG contacted PF Chang’s and received confirmation from the Culinary Department that their vegetarian-marked items do not contain any seafood or animal products, and that their “Vegetarian Oyster Sauce” is made with mushrooms and not actual oyster or shellfish.
However, this controversy highlights the importance of verifying ingredient information with restaurants and companies directly. It also raises questions about the use of oyster sauce in vegetarian and vegan dishes, as it may not always be clear whether it contains actual oyster or shellfish.
PF Chang’s Response To The Controversy
There has been some controversy surrounding PF Chang’s use of oyster sauce in their dishes, with some claiming that all dishes are cooked in oyster sauce and therefore not vegetarian or vegan. However, the Marketing Coordinator at PF Chang’s has assured us that all of their vegetarian-marked items on the menu do not contain any seafood or animal products. In fact, their “Vegetarian Oyster Sauce” is made with mushrooms and no actual oyster or shellfish.
Furthermore, a staff member at the Vegetarian Resource Group contacted PF Chang’s to confirm this information and was told by the Culinary Department that all of their vegetarian-marked items do not contain any seafood or animal products. They also confirmed that none of the menu items noted as “vegetarian” contained honey, egg, or dairy ingredients.
Some items may contain cane sugar, but as long as this is not an issue for you, all of the items marked “vegetarian” on PF Chang’s menu can also be considered “vegan.”
One employee at PF Chang’s has also confirmed that if a dish is labeled “vegetarian,” it is vegan and that they use a vegetarian mushroom “oyster” sauce in place of traditional oyster sauce. The Singapore street noodles can also be made vegan by taking out the chicken and shrimp and substituting tofu.
Ingredients In PF Chang’s Oyster Sauce
PF Chang’s oyster sauce is a caramelized concentrated sauce that is thick, dark, and glossy. It is made with a combination of smoked black pepper, sweet molasses, soy sauce, garlic, and mushrooms. The mushrooms are used as a substitute for oysters or shellfish, making the sauce suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
The sauce is also free from honey, egg, and dairy ingredients. However, some items may contain cane sugar. It is important to note that the ingredients in the oyster sauce may change from time to time, so it is best to refer to the label on the product or contact PF Chang’s directly for the most up-to-date information.
Vegetarian And Vegan Options At PF Chang’s
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you will be pleased to know that PF Chang’s offers a good selection of plant-based dishes. In fact, PF Chang’s has been quoted as saying, “None of our vegetarian items contain animal products.” So, whether you are looking for appetizers, entrees, or sides, there are plenty of options to choose from.
For appetizers, the vegetarian lettuce wraps are a popular choice. They consist of wok-seared tofu, mushrooms, green onions, and water chestnuts served with crisp lettuce cups. Another great option is the orange ginger edamame, which is steamed soybeans tossed with a spicy orange ginger sauce.
As for entrees, the Buddha’s Feast Steamed is a must-try. It contains a mix of tofu, asparagus, shiitakes, broccoli, carrots, and a savory sauce. You can also order steamed white or brown rice and extra steamed veggies on the side to make it a complete meal.
If you are in the mood for noodles, the plain noodles are a great choice. Just make sure to ask for them without eggs. Both wheat-based and Korean glass noodles are fully plant-based.
For sides, the steamed brown or white rice is essential for any meal at PF Chang’s. They also offer steamed carrots, steamed snap peas, steamed broccoli, and a fruit cup.
It’s worth noting that PF Chang’s now offers sushi, but all options include seafood as listed on the menu. However, our helpful waitress was able to request the cook to prepare California rolls for us – minus the fake crab meat – and they were delicious!
Tips For Dining Out As A Vegetarian Or Vegan At PF Chang’s
Dining out as a vegetarian or vegan can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding restaurants that offer plant-based options. However, PF Chang’s has made it easier for vegetarians and vegans to enjoy Asian cuisine without compromising their dietary preferences. Here are some tips for dining out as a vegetarian or vegan at PF Chang’s:
1. Check the menu: PF Chang’s has a separate menu for vegetarian and vegan dishes, which makes it easier to identify what options are available. Take the time to look through the menu and identify dishes that are marked as vegetarian or vegan.
2. Ask your server: If you have any questions about the ingredients in a particular dish, don’t be afraid to ask your server. They can provide you with more information about the dish and even make recommendations based on your dietary preferences.
3. Customize your order: Many of PF Chang’s dishes can be customized to suit your dietary needs. For example, you can ask for no egg in the Korean Glass Noodles or substitute tofu for meat in the Mandarin Crunch Salad.
4. Be aware of hidden ingredients: While PF Chang’s offers many vegetarian and vegan options, some dishes may contain hidden animal products such as non-vegan sugar in stir-fried dishes. Be sure to ask about any potential hidden ingredients before ordering.
5. Try the signature dishes: PF Chang’s Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps and Buddha’s Feast are two of their most popular vegetarian and vegan options. These dishes are made with fresh ingredients and are packed with flavor.
By following these tips, dining out as a vegetarian or vegan at PF Chang’s can be a delicious and stress-free experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and customize your order to suit your dietary needs. With so many delicious options available, there’s no reason why vegetarians and vegans can’t enjoy Asian cuisine at PF Chang’s.