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Rice Vinegar
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11 posts in this topic

I have been avoiding sushi since my celiac diagnosis because I heard they put rice vinegar in the rice, and that the rice vinegar can sometimes contain gluten. It seems on these forums, however, that sushi is safe to eat as long as there is not crab, tempura, or other gluten ingredients in the rolls. Can you please offer your advice? I love sushi and it would be a good food to eat out with friends!

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I don't want to take the wind out of your sails regarding eating something you really enjoy, but here is my view. I also love Sushi, and I also desperately miss some of the foods I used to have that are gluten-free, but prepared at a non-gluten-free facility or restaurant. I know most servers/cooks/chefs have good intentions, but unless you really know the importance of being gluten-free (and the potential impact of not being gluten-free), there is too high a risk of cc. Think of the sushi chef's preparation area and the number of other rolls he has prepared on that sushi board, or rolled in that bamboo mat, or cut with that sushi knife, or touched with those hands. He may think that 'there is no gluten-containing substance in the roll, and all I did was touch the other roll to put in on a plate before making this gluten-free one. It can't be that big a deal!' Even that unsuspecting server whose hands handled a customer's tea cup (which has a bit of dried sticky "sushi finger prints" on it), who's hands had just been on a tempura roll. And now that server had just used her fingers to stop your roll from almost falling off the plate before serving it to you (and you didn't see this happen).

I could go on, as I'm sure could most celiac victims minds. Maybe I am overly paranoid because I am relatively new to all this (now 3 months on gluten-free diet). As has been stated in other posts, we all have to choose our level of comfort (and the degree of our reaction when we do consume gluten) when it comes to risk-taking, and for me I'd rather give up certain foods and eating food out than risk making my situation worse. Perhaps when I finally start to feel better I will change my view, but I doubt it. When I go out with friends, I will buy a drink, such as juice, that comes in a can or bottle, and bring my own food or eat before-hand.

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I've not had a problem with sushi as long as I avoid things with sauces (like eel), tempura breading, and imitation seafoods, or things that might be flavored with soy like egg nigiri. If in doubt I avoid it, which means I end up ordering only things like veggie rolls or simple fish rolls/nigiri (and man, I wish the eel wasn't always sauced because that was my favorite pre-gluten-free). I bring my own wheat-free soy sauce as well. But like the above poster said, each of us has to determine his or her own comfort level. I enjoy eating out once in a while, and sushi is one of the few things I don't make at home so I'm willing to take a bit of risk. So far it's paid off in my favor. If you can go to a small place at an off time and talk to the waitstaff and/or chef to explain your needs and ask about ingredients, your chances of having a safe meal are much greater.

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I've not had a problem with sushi as long as I avoid things with sauces (like eel), tempura breading, and imitation seafoods, or things that might be flavored with soy like egg nigiri. If in doubt I avoid it, which means I end up ordering only things like veggie rolls or simple fish rolls/nigiri (and man, I wish the eel wasn't always sauced because that was my favorite pre-gluten-free). I bring my own wheat-free soy sauce as well. But like the above poster said, each of us has to determine his or her own comfort level. I enjoy eating out once in a while, and sushi is one of the few things I don't make at home so I'm willing to take a bit of risk. So far it's paid off in my favor. If you can go to a small place at an off time and talk to the waitstaff and/or chef to explain your needs and ask about ingredients, your chances of having a safe meal are much greater.

Eeel is my favorite too.

You CAN ask your server to make a fresh batch of eel without the sauce.

It's been done for me before.

And it's all been okay :)

That being said, I rarely eat out and when I do it's usually Indian because I know it's completely safe except for the breads (unless it's the lentil and rice dosas)

~Allison

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Thanks for you advice. I am only 3 months in too and have already had some cc side effects that have made me a bit paranoid and over-cautious. That being said, I don't want celiac to control my life, so sushi does seem like a good eating out option as long as we are careful. My goal is to be as safe as possible, but at 25 years old I still want to go out with friends and enjoy a bite. So thank you!

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I'm just curious about the answer to the original question - is rice vinegar in sushi safe? Or do you ask every time which vinegar they use and check the label? The rice vinegars I've seen in shops were all flavored, not pure. :(

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I'm just curious about the answer to the original question - is rice vinegar in sushi safe? Or do you ask every time which vinegar they use and check the label? The rice vinegars I've seen in shops were all flavored, not pure. :(

I just did a quick Google search and apparently this topic has come up before: http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/10529-rice-vinegar/

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Rice vinegar itself is safe. Any sort of flavored rice vinegar is well, flavored. Do you know the specific flavoring they used?

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Find a sushi place you trust, and rely on it. Sushi is a safe go-out food for me, because we have a place we know and like. If you stick with the better restaurants, that specialize in sushi, you shouldn't have contamination issues, because, afaik, no GOOD sushi chef, worth the cost of their knife, is going to use contaminated cutting boards for different rolls. But, maybe I've only watched the sushi-snob sushi chefs. ;)

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Sushi and sashimi are the types of restaurants I love to go to because I am so safe eating there. I have not yet had any problems. I pretty much stay to the sashimi (just the raw fish or the sushi that has the raw fish over sticky rice). I can't eat the sesame seeds and the fake crab is a no no. My faves are salmon, red snapper, mackeral, tuna and the salmon roe.. Mmmmmm..

We have a restaurant here in North Dallas that has very yummy sushi and sashimi and all the regular chicken types of dishes that my husband loves. We are both satisfied!

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Seasoned rice vinegar or sushi vinegar is just a mix of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. It saves a step when you're making sushi rice if you can find one with an amount of sugar and salt you like. No gluten.

I do great eating sushi, as long as I can convince them to leave the stupid fake crab meat out of my food! I've sent back rolls I ordered that were decorated with shreds of fake crab on top. I avoid unagi or other cooked things because of soy sauce and I recently learned here that roe that can be marinated with soy sauce.

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