Living the gluten-free good life in D.C.

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Rice noodles are safe, right?

April 15th, 2008 by Brandi

Thai cuisine may be the most misleading for us gluties. Rice bowls, rice paper wraps, rice noodles, it all should equal GF goodness, right? WRONG!

Soy sauce is a central element to almost all Thai cuisine, so while many of the ethnic carbs are rice-based, the sauces are dangerous. Dumplings, some spring rolls and many fried foods are wheat-based, so you have to be weary of fried rice-paper spring rolls, too. Those pesky gluten proteins were probably transferred during the cooking process.

If you’re anything like me (and the other -y and “B” writing for this blog), you miss and crave Asian food. The good news is that you don’t have to anymore! In honor of Thai Restaurant Week and the Thai New Year, here are a few tried and true local restaurants that do GF Thai with ease … and some that don’t! But gluties beware – if you haven’t heard that an Asian restaurant or dish is safe to eat, stay away. Unless you’re certain the joint uses GF soy sauce, chances are that gluten is hidden in most of its dishes.

PF Changs, Ballston: PF Changs is on the ball. This restaurant chain has a gluten free menu that is consistent at its locations across the country. If you’re craving Thai, I strongly recommend the Singapore Street noodles. Follow it up with a flour-less chocolate cake for pure decadence!

Bangkok 54, Columbia Pike: This local Asian hot spot offers a great martini menu and a selection of eastern cuisine including Indian and Thai. I typically stick to the green curry, but everything is made fresh to order, including the sauces. If you have a food sensitivity, they encourage you to discuss it with your server. They will accommodate your order accordingly.

Tara Thai, NoVa & MD: This local restaurant chain is not accommodating. Even the dishes that seem gluten friendly can not be altered or prepared to order. The sauces are all made in advance, and they won’t prepare a dish without sauce. Stay away if you want to stay healthy!

Harris Teeter, NoVa & DC: Great Thai at your local Teeter. Check out the Harris Teeter Pad Thai dinner mix. It’s easy (add a protein, nuts and bean sprouts) and it’s gluten free. If you don’t have a safe bet in your nearest Thai restaurant, take matters into your own hands … and kitchen.

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