Gluten Free: Nigiri, basic rolls
Things to avoid: soy sauce, tempura, eel sauce, imitation crab
Sushi is my personal go to gluten free eat. It's yummy, and gluten free as long as you stick to the nigiri (rice and fish) and basic rolls (California, spicy tuna, etc). Make sure to avoid rolls with imitation crab, tempura, crunchies, and gluten containing sauces, such as ponzu or eel sauce. Also ask the server for gluten free soy sauce. If they don’t have it, don't use the regular soy sauce even if it's a "tiny, weeny, little bit, how can it possibly hurt me?". Because trust me. It will. I know from personal experience. I carry a mini bottle of gluten free soy sauce in case the restaurant doesn't have some.
*Sushi is great, but be careful ordering other Japanese cuisine items. Almost EVERYTHING in Japanese cuisine is cooked in or with soy sauce.
Mexican / Tex-Mex
Gluten free: tacos on corn tortillas, fajita platters, tamales, gorditas
Things to avoid: Flour tortillas, burritos, enchiladas, mole sauce
When I've eaten my own weight in sushi, I turn to Mexican food. There is a plethora of food items to choose from. My favorite meal are tacos on corn tortillas. If you're out with someone, or you're really hungry (me 99% of the time), I order a fajita platter with a side of corn tortillas or a bowl of rice. Tamales are also another delicious gluten free dish. It's masa (corn) stuffed with meats and/or cheeses. These are absolutely the best when made authentically. Every Christmas I demolish a whole bucket of tamales at my best friend's house, because they are made by real Mexicans that know how to make them! (Thank you Paola and family!) Another dish that I am absolutely am in love with, but have only been able to find at outdoor markets in Mexico are gorditas. They are masa "pockets" that are stuffed with delicious meats. They are insanely delicious so grab one when you find it.
Gluten free: Pad Thai, curries with rice, Tom Yum
Things to Avoid: Pad See Ew, stir fries
Being half Thai, I'm pretty partial to Thai foods. My favorite go to dishes that are always gluten free are any of the curries with rice. I personally LOVE panang curry, because it's not as spicy as some of the other curries. If I'm craving noodles, which is pretty common craving for gluten free-ers, I order pad Thai. If it's made the traditional way, with only fish sauce, vinegar, and sugar, it is gluten free. Some American-ized places will use soy sauce to appeal to more palettes. Make sure to ask the server or chef at the restaurant whether or not they use soy sauce for their pad Thai dishes. If you feel iffy about it, just stick with the curries.
*Avoid stir fries and other noodles dishes as they are always cooked in soy sauce.
Gluten free: tandoori, tikka masala, curries, dal, dosas, palak paneer, chutneys
Things to Avoid: Naan, roti
Indian food is gluten free, vegetarian, and, many times, vegan heaven! I could probably write an entire blog post on just Indian food (and I probably will), because so much is gluten free. My personal favorites are the tandoori chicken, spiced and baked chicken, tikka masala, a yogurt based, mildly spicy curry dish, and palak paneer, a creamy, cheesy spinach dish. I enjoy these with a heaping pile of rice on the side.
Gluten free: Salads, burgers without the buns, roasted chicken, seared steaks, pan fried or baked fish, potatoes
Things to avoid: Anything fried and breaded
Proceed with caution: French Fries
American food can be known it's fried dishes, but there are a number of items on an American menu that is gluten free. When I want something light I'll order a salad. Be cautious of the salad dressing though, because some can be made with flour. If the restaurant is unsure of what dressings are gluten free, ask for just olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If I want something with more protein, I order a burger without the buns. Make sure to ask if they mix wheat or breadcrumbs into the meat. Some places will do that to "beef up" the look of the burger patty and to use less meat for cost purposes. Lastly, my go to that is almost always gluten free is to ask for baked chicken or pan fried fish, without sauce, with a baked potato or rice.
*Proceed with caution when ordering French fries. Unless they hand cut them in-house and cook it in a dedicated fryer, French fries are likely to either a) be coated in flour from the manufacturer b)cooked in a fryer used for breaded items such as fried chicken or onion rings. When in doubt, just don’t order it.
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