Sushi is my favorite food in the world. My first sushi experience was at the age of eight on the island of Maui, so of course it was the best sushi and sashimi ever, and it set me up for a lifetime of sushi-loving. I would eat it every day.
I do, however, need to be diligent when I go to my local sushi restaurant Ikeda, in Orange County. Ikeda’s staff, fresh sushi, and hospitality go above and beyond to make sure every meal is a wonderful experience. With that said, here are some tips for eating gluten free at ANY sushi restaurant.
|One of Ikeda’s Special Rolls topped with fresh salmon|
Soy Sauce: Call ahead and ask if they provide Gluten Free Soy Sauce or Tamari. If they don’t, you can always bring a container of it from home. Do not, I repeat, do not put soy sauce in a double plastic baggie in your purse. No matter how many bags I’ve used that salty deliciousness has oozed into my handbag.
|Kikkoman’s Gluten-Free Soy Sauce|
|Tamari reduced sodium Gluten Free Soy Sauce|
You can purchase Kikkoman Gluten Free Soy Sauce & Tamari at most grocery stores, on Amazon, and at specialty food shops. They typically offer regular and low sodium, I prefer the low sodium. Kikkoman and Tamari also sell individual packets of both products on Amazon and they are perfect to have on hand.
Sushi: Ask if the sushi rice has soy sauce in it. Yep, you heard me right, sometimes sushi rice is pre-mixed with soy sauce already. This is a tidbit I just recently learned and it goes to show that even after 5 years I’m learning something new about Gluten Free living almost every day.
Seaweed may also contain gluten. I opt for sashimi, soy paper or cucumber wrapped rolls whenever they are offered.
|Ikeda’s yellowtail sashimi|
Fried sushi rolls are also a no-no. Tempura is definitely not gluten free and the oil that it is fried in will most likely contain a myriad of gluten. Ask for the fried items to be served fresh.
Imitation crab may also contain wheat, so I avoid it at all costs. I’ll ask for a substitution whenever possible and if the restaurant has real crab, that’s my go-to. Real crab kills fake crab every time.
Lastly, ask about sauces, most of them will contain wheat as well, or the staff may not know all of the ingredients. Avoid sauces like the plague, unless you want to take a chance to see if you have a reaction. I’m not that much of a gambler, so I just go sauce-free, plus most of the sugar and added fat are in sauces as well.
|Ikeda specialty sushi roll, ask for it with soy paper and no sauce|
Sushi has always been one of my favorite meals, and there are so many options and easy substitutions available. I’m also looking forward to the day when restaurants offer gluten free miso soup, salad dressing and even more sushi roll options. I’ll be ready with my chopsticks and edamame. Meet you there!