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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

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Sushi Rice Sometimes Not Gluten Free

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I knew this was a questionable area and haven't located an exact answer on the forum here, but I just found out a little bit more tonight at a sushi restaurant in Bellevue, WA.

Awhile ago, I discovered there is a rice vinegar that contains a gluten ingredient. I can't seem to find that now, but will keep looking.

In the meantime, this restaurant wouldn't let me get nigiri sushi (on rice) because they use mirin to make the rice. I can't find a mirin with gluten in it so far, but what they told me is that they cut it with soy sauce (or it comes that way?). It gives it more flavor and mirin is expensive, so it reduces cost. The manager said 99 percent of sushi restaurants use mirin and not rice vinegar. I'm not sure that's accurate, but it gives me pause and it explains why some people get sick when they eat sushi.

I don't know if that means they always cut mirin with soy sauce, but I found evidence of this method with this recipe here: http://www.streetdirectory.com/food_editorials/cuisines/asian_food/how_to_make_inari_sushi_at_home.html

(oops. Correction. This recipe is not for sushi rice, so I'll still be looking for more evidence that this is the case)

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Ah, here we go. This mirin has fermented wheat protein as an ingredient. (You have to click on the 'nutritional info' link to see the ingredients)

It doesn't indicate why theirs has soy sauce in it, but it's some evidence that it exists. I'm glad I finally found this. Another restaurant showed me this before and a the time I didn't know what mirin was so I couldn't find it again...


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That Kikkoman product is not real mirin. It says mirin style seasoning. The first ingredient is corn. Mirin is made from rice. For example this Eden Foods brand is "mirin." Of course the question is what a restaurant uses. If a restaurant is using the "mirin style" then they are clearly cutting corners and are not a quality Japanese place!


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It's true that a nice restaurant wouldn't use that 'mirin style' stuff. This restaurant is one of the nicer ones around and they use mirin to season their rice, but they cut it with soy sauce. Another restaurant I was at a couple years ago told me the brand of the rice vinegar they use (and it was a nice place as well), but that brand of rice vinegar had either wheat or barley in it. I can't recall that one. I wouldn't be so sure nice restaurants don't cut corners to save money... particularly ones that are going out of their way to make sure they have amazing fresh fish. I wouldn't expect a nice place to use this mirin style stuff, but for me, it was just evidence that there is wheat sometimes in these products... this one obviously has corn in it and is garbage.

I was hoping for more detailed info from others who have talked to restaurants about their rice vinegar.

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I hate sushi places that serve not-real sushi.

Heck, mirin is not all that hard to MAKE.

(We got to a little hole-in-the-wall place on 112th and 12th, just across from the library. It's GREAT!)

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