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Chia Sen

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I want to put a good word in about this establishment!

Ok, by reading on this forum I had pretty much crossed off Chinese restaurants as an option, due to the wheat content in soy sauce. At home, when we wanted to do take out, I had managed to steer my husband to a Thai place, where there were lots more gluten free options for me.

Last month, we had a work function that entailed a take out order from a local Chinese restaurant. I tried to calculate the "least offensive order" and while I did pretty good at that, it was not totally soy sauce free. The pay back: mild itchiness at the site of my former rash. Two new red "spots" that remained small and did not multiply. But enough to know that I had pushed the limit too far.

Fast forward a few weeks. My husband's birthday: 12/24. Anybody out there who has a Christmas birthday knows how too easily your day gets overshadowed by the holidays! So we have always tried to keep dinner on 12/24 his choice. Well, my guy really really really wanted Chinese. He knew the issues for me and my daughter.... but I was willing to make it work.

Well if I had had more time, I could have done 2 take out orders - Thai for my daughter and me, Chinese for the rest of de familia. The two places are not near each other so it wasn't a plan I wanted to deal with.

So the morning of the birthday, I called Chia Sen (my husband's favorite) and explained that we needed gluten free options for other folks in the family. And while the options were very limited, the person I spoke to was surprisingly knowledgeable on the gluten free issues and did help me outline gluten-free options.

The first quesiton she asked was whether either of us had allergies to corn, and could we deal with dishes prepared with cornstarch. Fortunately for us, the answer is we can tolerate corn, so that any of their dishes prepared with their "white sauce" (sans soy sauce) would be options. We went thru the menu and identified a half dozen or so of these.

I will be honest, most of these were eliminated because the meats were breaded prior to deep frying. But we had one good option, and another dish they said could be easily prepared with the "white sauce" instead of the soy sauce recipe.

So I ordered those two options for me and my daughter, along with everybody else's favorites, and it was a happy Birthday/Christmas Eve meal! (With NO bad after effects!!)

The other great thing about this place.... the person I spoke to on the phone indicated not only a willingness to prepare dishes with the white sauce, instead of the soy sauce.... said that they were aware of wheat free soy sauces. If we were willing, in the future, to coordinate planing of a special meal in advance, and bring in our own wheat free soy sauce for that meal, they would use that for our food. I thought that was pretty cool, and is definitely an option I will be exploring for future family occaions.

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