A Japanese delicacy called sushi is made from vinegared rice, fish, other seafood, vegetables, and even some fruits. Usually, it is served with ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce. Sushi comes in so many forms and is prepared in so many different ways that whether or not it is gluten-free relies on a variety of variables. To find out which of the restaurant’s sushi rolls or sashimi, if any, are gluten-free, it is always advisable to get in touch with the chef in advance.
Sushi rice is one food to be watchful of for hidden gluten. According to Rachel Begun, a licensed dietitian who responded to our Is Sushi Safe to Eat? Questions from a Dietitian? question: “some sushi rice contains non-distilled white vinegar, which is manufactured from either corn or wheat. Gluten will be present in the sushi rice if the vinegar being used is made from wheat. Furthermore, sushi rice can occasionally be made with gluten-containing chicken broth, so it’s best to ask ahead of time.”
Another issue is soy sauce, as the majority of soy sauces are manufactured with wheat. Tamari or coconut aminos, both of which are gluten-free, are soy sauce substitutes. Avoid sushi rolls that have been prepared with soy sauce, eels (unagi) or other fish that have been marinated, or that may contain fried or breaded components like fish or vegetables that have been prepared in the tempura style.
Depending on how they are prepared, “hot” rolls like spicy tuna or spicy salmon rolls may also contain secret spices and gluten components. Wasabi, which adds a spicy kick, is used in the United States frequently in a version that isn’t authentic and might include gluten. Inquire as to whether the wasabi at your restaurant is 100% authentic, and if not, what ingredients are utilized to create the wasabi substitute.
Also known as surimi, the imitation crab used in various rolls, including California rolls, is manufactured from fish and a food starch that frequently contains wheat and, thus, gluten. Despite the fact that a restaurant may advertise a California roll or other surimi roll as gluten-free, some establishments may not be aware that surimi contains wheat or gluten.
According to Rachel Begun, who discusses cross-contact in the preparation of sushi, “Cross contamination is likely if the sushi maker doesn’t switch cutting boards, knives, and gloves in between making various sushi rolls. Accurate communication with the sushi maker is required to prevent cross contamination. Ask the sushi maker about the ingredients, and make it obvious how vital it is for them to prepare your sushi using sterile cutting boards and utensils.”
Commonly Found Dangerous Items in Sushi
- All sauces should be consumed with caution, but soy sauce is unquestionably unsafe to consume because it contains wheat components. Restaurants are now offering more and more gluten-free soy sauce. Inquire with your server if the back has gluten-free soy sauce.
- Tempera: Deep-fried fish or vegetables that have been battered.
- Crab imitation: This is definitely not crab! It consists of orange-dyed processed fish portions that have been mixed with food starch and flavorings before being frozen. Some eateries have begun to list the products that include imitation crab. At the bottom of their menu is a disclaimer for RA Sushi in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
- Eel Sauce: Sugar, rice wine, and soy are the main ingredients in homemade and conventional eel sauce. Before eating them, special care should be taken because the added ingredients in each restaurant’s sauces vary. Inquire about the safety of the sauce from the management.
- Imitation crab: This is essentially processed, frozen, and colored fish slush. It contains gluten.
- Teriyaki: Another dangerous sauce made with wheat.
- Ponzu sauce is not gluten-free and contains soy sauce.
- Spicy: Mayonnaise, which is frequently gluten-containing, is a component of spicy tuna or any fish combo. Most of them have dangerous sauces.
- Wasabi is a root that is traditionally derived from a rare plant that is mostly grown in Japan. Wasabi is typically made with horseradish, mustard, and coloring and combined with corn starch or wheat flour in restaurants. “Coloring” is not always gluten-free, just like mustard is not always.
Sushi is free of gluten
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, rye, and oats. It is also frequently a secret ingredient in a variety of cuisines and sauces. Additionally, using the same cutting board or cutlery to make gluten-containing items might cross-contaminate your food with even a small amount of gluten. To improve and preserve your health if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you must absolutely eliminate gluten. Sushi may or may not be gluten-free, but you should make sure it is suitable for you by asking a few questions.
RICE Rice is a grain that is inherently gluten-free. Sushi rice is frequently combined with gluten-free rice vinegar and sugar. Make sure you only use these secure, gluten-free items while making your own sushi. Ask what ingredients are added to the rice when dining out.
PAGE NORI Algae is utilized to create the nori sheets that are used to wrap the sushi. If you have celiac disease or a gluten allergy, nori sheets are safe to eat because they don’t contain any gluten.
FILLING Typically, the sushi’s filling is secure. Salmon, tuna, shrimp, and other fish and seafood are free of gluten, as are avocado, cucumber, and other vegetables. Unless they are cross-contaminated, other common ingredients like cream cheese, sesame seeds, and Japanese mayo are likewise gluten-free.
SAUCES Always be wary of sauces. Both teriyaki sauce and soy sauce should be avoided because they both contain gluten. It is advised to stay away from that kind of sushi because the barbecue sauce sometimes used for eels can also contain gluten. If you like, you can choose gluten-free tamari sauce to dip your sushi in.
WASABI Wasabi typically doesn’t include gluten, however certain commercially prepared varieties could have wheat in their ingredient list. If you’re unsure, just ask the waiter to omit it rather than asking to see the ingredients.
COPYCAT CRAB Ask if the crab in the sushi is real or imitation if you wish to order it with crab. While fake crab includes gluten and should be avoided, real crab is secure.
SPICES Gluten is probably included in any rolls that feature spicy salmon or tuna or otherwise reference the use of unique spices. To keep your dinner gluten-free, stay away from this kind of sushi.
CROSS-CONTAMINATION Cross-contamination is a potential issue, particularly when dining out. You might be exposed to trace amounts of gluten if a small amount of tempura flour from a cutting board, a knife used to cut another piece of sushi that had tempura, or a sauce containing gluten are all used to cut your sushi. If you want the waiter to take your severe gluten allergy seriously, request that your sushi be made with a clean knife and cutting board.
Details are Everything
Sushi is a welcome gluten-free choice, just like for many patients with Celiac disease. They can certainly eat the food without worrying about getting sick. But it’s not that simple. Although sushi is inherently gluten-free, certain establishments may use inexpensive ingredients that contain gluten. Additionally, if some fundamental ingredients, like soy sauce, are mistakenly transferred during preparation, there is an increased danger of cross-contamination.
Let’s take a closer look at some dishes that are frequently ordered at Japanese eateries to see how you might avoid being fed gluten by being cautious while making your selections.
Of course, sushi is the most popular meal in most sushi restaurants. Once more, it is inherently gluten-free. Rice, fish, and veggies are the main ingredients. But since soy sauce contains wheat, it can’t be used unless it’s gluten-free soy sauce.
Fish or vegetables that have been deep-fried in a batter and named tempura style since they were made with wheat flour. Make sure there is no imitation crab in your sushi because it is made of gluten-containing fish portions that have merely been coloured, starched, scented, and frozen. Ask for real crab instead; most restaurants and their servers will let you know if they’re using imitation.
Sushi must be made with rice that hasn’t been combined with sugar or rice vinegar in order to be gluten-free. If you use only plain rice, it is safer. And while rice is a wonderful source of vinegar, other grains like barley can also be used to make vinegar. Next, seaweeds or nori; sushi nori is gluten free as long as no other flavors, such as soy or teriyaki sauces, were applied.
Even sauces may be challenging. Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, eel sauce, barbecue sauce, ponzu sauce, and spicy sauces that may contain mayo can all contain wheat, hence they are not gluten-free. You might want to just bring your own gluten-free sushi sauce. Wasabi. It’s fine as long as you can find genuine, 100% wasabi, but most Japanese eateries do not offer it.
What then should you eat? Sashimi is safe, for starters. Vegetables, King Crab, nori, and masago/tobiko are also. The most basic rolls, include the tuna and veggie rolls, as well as Rainbow and California rolls. Inquire about their gluten-free options from your server, or use your imagination.
occasionally use vinegar to do this. Similar to malt vinegar, most of these vinegars are manufactured with rice and are therefore gluten-free. However, if barley or wheat are added, the vinegar is no longer gluten-free.
Fish that has been marinated: The main offender here is unagi, a sweet-glazed freshwater eel. The glaze, which resembles teriyaki sauce, frequently has gluten in it. Even while unagi is what you should truly be on the lookout for, any fish that is described as being marinated or glazed requires closer examination.
Wasabi: Wasabi rarely contains gluten because there is no genuine need for it. But that does not imply that it never does. Sometimes wheat flour is added for no obvious purpose other than to poison us (I’m kidding, but really).
Cross contamination: Although it should be noted, this is a given. The same prep area and utensils are used by sushi chefs to prepare each unique order. Ask for clean preparation as well, as I’m guessing you’ve understood at this point that you’ll need to inform your server that you’re gluten-free. It would be unfortunate to have a perfectly gluten-free meal ruined by a soiled knife.
How has eating sushi while following a gluten-free diet gone? Comment below and let me know.
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