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CalicoSue

Outback In Tokyo - Bbq Sauce Is Not Gluten-free

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Warning - In Tokyo's Outback Restaurant, the BBQ sauce is NOT gluten-free. It has wheat flour in it. The manager of Tokyo's Outback Restaurant looked up the ingredients for me while we dined at his restaurant and found that their restaurant still uses the OLD Outback BBQ sauce recipe, which has wheat flour in it. He was such a sweet man - he even cooked and mashed my potatoes himself to make sure that I had no gluten in my dinner. I had just their plain chicken with mashed potatoes and salad.

We just got back from our trip to Korea and Japan. It was just as we feared - fish, seafood and soy sauce are predominately used in most dishes in both countries. We stuck with plain rice with our Gluten-free soy sauce packets and salad with our Gluten-free salad dressing packets. My daughter and I came back at night to our hotel room and enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Udi's bread and cheese and crackers. We were there for our son's wedding, so the food was secondary and didn't really matter.

We did also eat at a Sizzler in Tokyo at a mall near Hotel Nikko. The Sizzler's manager took out an allergy chart but didn't really understand what I was saying until I showed him the Japanese version of the gluten allergy card. He took me around the buffet and told me which items I could eat and I ordered a plain chicken.

Our in-laws did their best for us: we had plain chicken soup made from scratch with rice for breakfast one morning at a restaurant and one dinner was pork cooked in a BBQ in front of us and they specifically ordered the pork to be brought without sauce. Wasn't too sure about the cross-contact issues on the BBQ, so we just kind of picked at it. I appreciated so much that they tried. We didn't get sick once on the week-long trip, so that was great.

The trip was terrific because of the wedding, but I don't think I would choose to go to Asia on a vacation.

Sue

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If you're gluten-free, coming to Japan is probably a bad idea. They stick wheat flour and barley in everything, rice is often extended with barley, food doesn't have to show all the ingredients, allergens are generally not listed, and so on. And there is very little exposure as far as gluten. You basically have to tell everyone you have a wheat allergy, which is associated largely with babies. (Most allergen-free food is for babies.)

Anyway, I live in Tokyo and I contacted Outback several months ago to inquire about their ingredients. I was told that, basically, I couldn't eat anything they served. I have to say I was REALLY annoyed, given Outback in the US has a nice gluten-free menu. To paraphrase, they said, "Everything we serve contains wheat or has probably touched wheat at one time or another." So I guess you eat at your own risk.

I've learned to just deal with the fact that Japan doesn't want me to eat food. I came here gluten-tolerant, but that changed about a year ago. So after almost four years I'm planning to leave and go somewhere where I at least have some chance of eating decent food.

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