Saturday, February 1, 2014

Eating Gluten-Free at Asian Palace

Asian Without Gluten?

Asian food doesn't usually bring up nightmares of gluten for most people. Most people envision rice. Lots of rice.

There is no gluten in rice. So, what's the problem?

Rice is not my problem. Gluten is. Unfortunately, most soy sauces on the market and available in Asian restaurants have gluten in them.

So, since having to be gluten-free, I am always on the lookout for Asian food with gluten-free soy sauce. This is easy at home, since I know how to purchase gluten-free tamari sauce.

It is not so easy when eating out.

Recently, my husband I were looking to go out for sushi. We almost defaulted to our usual, standard sushi favorite. But then I looked online for a gluten-free friendly sushi place.

Asian Palace on UrbanspoonLo and behold, I found one!

Asian Palace

I called ahead and was underwhelmed with the gluten-free knowledge of the staff I talked with on the phone. Why was this place listed as gluten-free friendly? But I made a reservation for that Saturday evening anyways.

As it turned out, reservations were not required.

This place is tucked away in a small, corner shopping area. There were people out and about, but the restaurant was lightly populated on this Saturday evening.

Good for us, really. No waiting to be seated. Prompt service. No problems.

But right off, I was mildly concerned. My place setting consisted of a napkin, knife and fork. In an Asian restaurant. Where are the chopsticks?

I wasn't given any time to worry about chopsticks, with the specialty drink menu under my nose. I would have to order something to drink, so it might as well be something interesting.

And appropriately Asian. Like sake.

But even sake was shaping up to be boring in comparison to the other choices available to me. So, I opted to try something new. I ordered the Sex in the Palace.

It was very fruity and sweet. Good. Sweeter than I would have liked, but that is just my taste. Next time, I will opt for the Sexy Sake Lemonade and see if that is more to my liking.

I explained my gluten-free needs to our waiter. He seemed to understand. He indicated which things I could have and which I could not. This gave me more confidence that what I got over the phone earlier in the day.

Looking better.

Most of the sushi choices come with either soup or salad. That really means miso soup or Asian salad. The miso soup is gluten-free, but the dressing on the salad is not. I love miso soup and was happy to have that, even if I couldn't enjoy the salad too.

Just look at those mushrooms! Yum!

We ordered the sushi sashimi plate for two, which comes with a rainbow roll and spicy tuna roll. Sounded good!

And then it arrived.

This was it! An absolutely beautiful presentation!

Everything was extremely fresh (a must for sashimi), gorgeous, and luscious looking!

But we still didn't have individual plates or dishes for our ginger and wasabi.

Finally our waiter returned bearing small plates, sauce dishes, chopsticks and a surprise.

Surprise! Gluten-free soy sauce for me! In individual packets, so I was absolutely confident that this was safe for me!

Now I get it! This place really is gluten-free friendly!

I now had nothing to wait for. I now had nothing to want for! We started in on the sashimi and I was tickled pink that I could swish mine in my gluten-free soy sauce and wasabi!

Just like everyone else does!

I was also so happy to find that the pickled ginger was not fluorescent pink. Natural, pickled-ginger colored. Nice. Just the way it should be. That pink stuff is usually just a sign that they've adulterated it with artificial sweetener. No thanks. I like my pickled ginger ginger-colored, thank you very much. Not pink.

The beautiful presentation also, to my extreme pleasure, did not include any plastic, fake grass. No plastic of any kind, actually. Everything composing the presentation were natural materials or natural materials made into cooking implements. All on a bed of crushed ice. To keep all that wonderful sashimi ultra fresh!

The spicy tuna roll was very good. The salmon sashimi was very good. Everything was very, very good.

And I need not have worried about chopsticks. They came automatically, without me having to ask for them. Whew.

They have much more on their menu than just sushi. They also have Chinese and Thai selections. We have already decided that we will be going back. There are just so many other things on the menu to try!

What more does one need in this world besides chopsticks and gluten-free soy sauce?! Oh, right. Sushi!

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