Product Reviews, Restaurant Reviews and Recipes: All GLUTEN FREE!
Today is the celebration for the Chinese New Year all across the world and the start of the Spring Festival as we enter the Year of the Horse. Before I was diagnosed, eating Chinese in London’s Chinatown was a fairly easy meal out (around Gerrard Street in SoHo) but now that I require Gluten Free, it is a little harder.
EATING OUT: HINTS & TIPS:
1) Avoid dishes with Soya sauce as it is made by boiling soya beans with wheat or barley so the end product can be as much as 70% wheat! There is a Gluten Free Soy sauce (Tamari) although I have never seen this out and about! And obviously avoid battered or deep fried dishes were the meat or fish has been coated with breadcrumbs!
2) Check out the sauce as many Chinese sauces are based on soy or include soya, such as Black Bean sauce so you have to be careful. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) is derived from wheat and is added to many Chinese dishes to add tastiness. It appears in spicy Kung Pao Chicken as well as in Char Sui Pork.
3) Watch out for your noodles and rice: I have to avoid eggs so egg-based noodles can be replaced with rice-based noodles. Dishes such as Singapore Noodles are made with vermicelli rice noodles and Ho Fun dishes are made with thick block rice noodles. Also it is worth requesting “no egg” as many rice and noodle dishes have an egg added just before serving.
Cross-contamination can be a big issue with Chinese restaurants as chefs often have a small selection of hot woks which they repeatedly use without necessarily deep cleaning or washing.
It is easier to cook yourself, knowing exactly what ingredients you have used and customise dishes to suit your dinners.
A very simple sweet and sour sauce can be made from adding honey, GF soy sauce and tomato puree together with a crushed clove of garlic. This was added to the vegetables (Mushrooms, Onions and Leeks) before the boiled noodles were added. This was served in honour of the Year of the Horse with pickled cabbage and broccoli and salt-and-pepper pork belly.
And there are GF ready-made-sauces on the market, as seen on UK’s TV Dragons Den: Sweet Mandarin Sauces. A Manchester Chinese restaurant who were previously crowned Best Local Chinese Restaurant on Gordon Ramsay’s F Word Show have developed and sell a GF sauces: http://www.sweetmandarin.net/site/coeliac-uk/manufacturing-gluten-free/