Abstaining from gluten doesn't mean you can't enjoy a visit to your local sushi restaurant, but you will have to pay particular attention to the ingredients used in certain dishes. There are a number of dishes you can pick straight off the sushi train or order from the menu with a few easy tweaks, but there are also a number of dishes that contain hidden gluten. Here's an overview of what to be aware of when ordering at a sushi restaurant and four gluten-free dishes you can enjoy:
What to Be Aware of
When choosing food from the sushi train or ordering from the menu, keep the following in mind:
- Avoid Panko—This is a Japanese breadcrumb that's used in dishes such as katsu curry, but it contains wheat.
- Skip the Soy Sauce—Soy sauce contains gluten, so give it a miss when enjoying sushi and check if it's an ingredient in any of the restaurant's other sauces before ordering. You can take your own bottle of tamari sauce for dipping sushi into if you'd like.
- Double Check the Buckwheat Noodles—Buckwheat noodles sound ideal for those who are gluten-free, but some are made with a combination of buckwheat flour and wheat flour. Ask your server what's in the noodles before ordering.
- Give Imitation Crab Meat a Miss—Some brands of imitation crab meat contain wheat, which helps create a firmer texture. Either skip it altogether or check the ingredients first.
- Query the Tempura Batter Ingredients—Some sushi restaurants make tempura batter with rice flour, but others use wheat flour. Before ordering a delicious plate of crunchy tempura vegetables, check the batter is suitable.
4 Gluten-Free Dishes
These dishes are available in most sushi restaurants and are ideal for gluten-free diets:
- Yakitori—This is a simple dish of grilled chicken skewers that's usually only seasoned with salt. You can enjoy this dish with grilled vegetables or a cucumber salad.
- Sushi Rolls—Sushi rice is seasoned with rice wine vinegar, vegetable oil and sugar, so you can safely enjoy any sushi rolls that don't contain fillings of imitation crab or tempura battered vegetables. Pickled radish, avocado, cucumber, salmon, and eel all make delicious sushi roll fillings.
- Vegetable Rice Noodles—While most noodle dishes contain soy sauce, this is an easy dish to ask the chef to make fresh for you. Plain rice noodles simply need to be heated and can be stir-fried with your choice of vegetables and gluten-free sauce. This dish can be made fresh for you in less than ten minutes, so you won't be putting anyone out.
- Edamame Salad—Edamame beans are packed with protein and this refreshing salad is typically seasoned with ginger, chillies and finely sliced spring onions. Ask your server to hold the dressing and enjoy this salad with a dash of your own tamari sauce.
If you're stuck for ideas or unsure of what's in any of the available dishes at local sushi restaurants like Pink Rice, just ask your server or check out their online menus if they have them.