Last Updated on May 19, 2023 by Aaron
Cream cheese wontons and crab rangoon are both popular appetizers often found on the menu at Chinese and Asian fusion restaurants, especially in the United States.
They are very similar. Crab rangoon includes crab (or imitation crab) as part of the filling, while cream cheese wontons typically do not.
Both are made by placing a savory cream cheese-based filling inside a wonton wrapper, which is then folded into a shape (usually a simple triangle or a more complex shape like a four-pointed “flower”) and deep-fried until crispy.
And served with a dipping sauces, such as soy sauce or sweet-sour sauce.
Cream cheese wontons are usually filled with just cream cheese and possibly some green onions, eggs, scallions and other flavorings, but no crab.
Crab rangoon, on the other hand, is a type of stuffed wonton that’s especially popular in American Chinese cuisine. It’s filled with a mixture of cream cheese, crab meat, scallions, and various seasonings.
Taste-wise, crab rangoon with real crab meat has a slightly seafood flavor, which you wouldn’t find in a basic chewy cream cheese wonton. Cream cheese wontons tend to be creamy and slightly tangy due to the cream cheese. The sweet and sour sauce on the side adds a contrasting tangy, sweet flavor.
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Are Cream Cheese Wontons actually Chinese?
While cream cheese wontons are commonly found in American Chinese restaurants, they are not traditionally Chinese.
The use of cream cheese, a dairy product, in cooking is not common in traditional Chinese cuisine due to historical dietary patterns where lactose intolerance was prevalent (1).
Cream cheese wontons, along with dishes like Crab Rangoon, General Tso’s Chicken, and Chop Suey, were developed to cater to Western tastes and are part of what’s often referred to as “American Chinese” cuisine.
These dishes have been widely popularized through Chinese restaurants in the United States and other Western countries.
In China, traditional wontons are typically filled with a mixture of minced meat (like pork or shrimp) and diced vegetables (like scallions or Chinese cabbage). They are often served in broth as a soup or boiled and served with sauce, rather than being deep-fried.
So while cream cheese wontons have their place in the globalized culinary scene, they do not represent authentic Chinese cuisine. They are a fusion or adaptation that reflects the blending of different culinary traditions.
It’s believed that crab rangoon was created by Joe Young who worked in a Polynesian restaurent named Trader Vic in San Francisco in 1956. The restaurent owner is Victor Jules Bergeron Jr.
Are cream cheese wontons gluten-free?
Traditional cream cheese wontons, like most wonton recipes, are not gluten-free because the wrappers, made from wheat flour, contain gluten. Also, some of the ingredients used in the filling or sauces may contain gluten as well, depending on the specific recipe.
However, it is possible to make a gluten-free version of cream cheese wontons. You’d need to use gluten-free wonton wrappers, which can be made at home using gluten-free flour or sometimes found in specialty food stores.
Additionally, you’ll need to ensure that all other ingredients, such as sauces and seasonings, are gluten-free.
If you’re eating out and have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, it’s important to ask about the ingredients, as even dishes that might seem to be gluten-free can sometimes include sources of hidden gluten.
Cream cheese is naturally gluten-free.
Is it for vegetarian?
Cream Cheese Wontons which are typically filled with just cream cheese and some green onions or other flavorings but no crab, they could be considered vegetarian. However, as with any restaurant dish, it’s important to check, as ingredients can vary.
If you’re referring to Crab Rangoon, which traditionally contains crab or imitation crab meat along with cream cheese, they would not be considered vegetarian.
Also, consider that both Cream Cheese Wontons and Crab Rangoon are usually deep-fried, and some restaurants might use the same fryer for both meat and vegetarian items. If you are a strict vegetarian or if you are concerned about cross-contamination, it’s a good idea to ask the restaurant about their cooking practices.
Cream Cheese Rangoons at Panda Express
The Cream Cheese Rangoons at Panda Express are a type of fried wonton filled with cream cheese and green onions. They do not contain crab or imitation crab, which distinguishes them from traditional crab rangoon. Read more on the website.
If you’re allergic to certain foods, Panda maybe not be the ideal for you as they’ve stated, “Panda Express does not have any vegetarian or gluten-free dishes” and “Panda uses ingredients that contain all the major FDA allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, milk, soy and wheat).”
Are Cream Cheese Wontons Safe during Pregnancy?
Generally, cream cheese wontons are safe to eat during pregnancy as long as they are fully cooked and served hot.
Cream cheese is pasteurized, which makes it safe for pregnant women to consume. Also, the deep-frying process in preparing the wontons ensures that any potential bacteria are killed.
Nutrition-wise, It would be much better to go for just cream cheese without deep-fry, processed wontons wrappers, and the imitation crab meat which has a list of ingredients. The Cooked real crab meat is one of the best seafood to eat while pregnant.