It’s no surprise that Chinese food is typically very tough for Celiacs. Firstly, fried food is almost always out. Secondly, soy sauce is everywhere. Thirdly, there’s often a language barrier to overcome (though this is changing).
But I have to say, my experience at Lai Lai’s Chinese Restaurant in Kitchener was really amazing. First some background: last year, we decided to have our company Christmas party at Lai Lai’s, because…well…we just didn’t have the budget for anything else. Chinese food is generally cheaper than say, The Keg, so we went with it. I was a little worried about what I’d eat, but I was also the organizer of the party so I was in contact with the staff at Lai Lai’s.
This was one of the first occasions that my communication with a manager at a Chinese food restaurant was incredibly successful. I don’t remember her name anymore (I’m sorry to say this post is almost a year late), but I explained my allergy (and also my co-worker’s nut allergy) and I knew she understood. She repeated back to me what I couldn’t have (including wheat, soy sauce, etc.) and she also asked me questions like if I could have corn starch. Nice.
When we arrived at Lai Lai’s, we confirmed my allergy and my co-workers, and the staff ensured they knew where we were sitting. I don’t remember all the dishes we had anymore, but this was one of the first times (as a Celiac) I was able to have dishes that I would have never thought possible. Probably 6-7 dishes were naturally gluten free (I was surprised), and the ones that weren’t they made me a special version without wheat or soy sauce. The servers also ensured when they brought out a dish with gluten, that I should stay away from it. This happened on more than one occasion, and they were very careful.
Next time I’ll try to be a little more specific about which dishes I could eat and which ones I couldn’t! I’m hoping to update the blog a little more often these days…or at least keep better notes.
Please feel free to leave a comment if you’ve had any good or bad experiences at any Asian restaurants in the area!