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Eating Gluten-Free at a Japanese Restaurant / Hibachi Grill

My husband and I decided to go out to a Japanese steak house-hibachi grill. After over an hour of searching, trying to find out "what can I eat" I finally gave in and called the restaurant.

I'm new to celiac disease, and wasn't sure what I could eat at the restaurant. When I called, at first I was a little leary--the young woman on the phone tried to tell me that they didn't cook with any soy sauce. I knew this to be untrue, but I felt a little more reassured when she said "If you have a specific allergy, they can always cook it in the back"

You see, the thing I hate most about celiac disease, is feeling so high maintenance when I go out. I just want to go out and eat, not interrogate the poor servers. I usually end up eating before I go out now a days, just to avoid the "possibility of contamination." (even that sounds harsh-contamination).

Well we went to the grill, and we had a really nice server. When I told her I had a gluten allergy (I read that saying allergy may get more

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attention than stating intolerance), the server looked at me a little strange. I politely explained that I can't have food that has soy sauce, flour, etc added, and as discreetly as possible handed her a 3x5 card I had written in advance stating what I could not eat. (Wheat, flour, barley, rye. I also wrote on the card, Also please no soy sauces, marinades, salad dressings or beer)

The server was so excited when I handed her the card, she sighed and said "Oh thank you, this will make it so easy".

So the end of my story has a happy ending. I went to the hibachi grill, they prepared my food in the back, and brought it out when the first set of food was served to my companions. My wonderful server also helped me avoid a possible threat--the salad dressing--she used my card I had given her to check the ingredients. Last but not least, for the first time in years and years, I was able to eat at a hibachi style grill, and I wasn't ill afterwards.
Am I still a high maintenance diner? You betcha'! But I'm also not going to be held hostage by celiac disease.

As always, welcomes your comments (see below).

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9 Responses:


said this on
12 May 2010 3:58:27 AM PST
Whenever we take our gluten-free son to Hibachi we bring our own gluten-free soy sauce and they are very accommodating in cooking him his own meal in the back. He loves it.

Mrs. Lewis

said this on
11 Jul 2015 7:12:21 PM PST
What type of food do he eat at Hibachi's? We are going tomorrow for a Birthday Dinner. If you comment after I've been than that's okay. I appreciate your help.

( Author)
said this on
13 May 2010 6:45:19 PM PST
That's awesome! I'm newer to the gluten-free lifestyle, I'll keep that in mind too. I was just so excited to be able to eat out without getting sick.

Carol Frilegh

said this on
15 May 2010 5:09:23 AM PST
I've had good luck at authentic French restaurants as that cuisine tends to prefer pure ingredients and the chef always seems to be understanding.


said this on
02 Jun 2012 3:33:18 PM PST
Thank you! Getting ready to meet friends for a birthday. (the birthday guy's favorite restaurant!) I'm taking your advice and have my notecard ready! Wish me luck!


said this on
16 Feb 2013 11:14:30 PM PST
Some actually use gluten-free soy sauce for all the guests and they can't even tell! It was great!


said this on
06 Apr 2013 7:15:12 PM PST
I love the fact that almost all Japanese and Korean food is gluten-free. The fresher and more natural, the better, I say! being on this diet has made me so healthy. Unlike Chinese and American food... stupid batter!


said this on
04 May 2017 10:23:24 AM PST
Thank you for this post. The restaurant that my husband and I always go to is a Japanese restaurant - it's our traditional Valentine place. I love the food. Now that I found out I am celiac, we haven't gone. I've been sad. This makes me feel so much better.


said this on
11 Nov 2017 12:56:52 PM PST
Thank you so much. I was hesitant to go because of my celiac but your post made me feel comfortable with taking the card. What an awesome idea!!! and I too will take my own GF soy sauce. We are celebrating my Mom's 72nd birthday and I didn't want to miss it.

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