Recently, there has been a surge in the number of people who are gluten intolerant. In fact, my sister-in-law’s husband became allergic to gluten a few years ago. While having dinner one night, he had a sudden allergic reaction and had to be rushed to the hospital. At the time they were completely baffled and had no clue what the cause had been. For those of you who have gone through this, these experiences are very scary. Now, they have made the adjustments and he also stopped drinking beer and instead drinks cider.
About 15 years ago I lived in a complex and one of my neighbors told me she was allergic to wheat. In those days, there was very little information on such allergies. She said she kept passing out and no one could tell her why. After going from one doctor to another, she finally found someone who was able to diagnose her with wheat allergy. Knowing is half the battle, because she said she really believed she was going to die. Since we were living in Asia, there were lots of rice based recipes and plenty of delicious Asian foods to choose from but she always had to watch out when she went to out to a restaurant.
One day I noticed she had a small little bump in her tummy and with three small children, I thought to myself, “she’s going to have another!” I guess I wasn’t too discreet and she told me that no, she wasn’t having another baby, but when she accidentally consumes wheat her body bloats and it looks like she’s 3 months pregnant! The night before she went out to a restaurant and told the waiter that she was allergic to wheat and if what she ordered contained wheat to please let her know so she could choose something else. Well, the waiter is not the chef, they really don’t know the exact ingredients. In the beef curry that she ordered, the chef had floured the meat before cooking, but the waiter assumed that it was wheat-free. So, if you have any doubt on a dish, have the waiter check with the chef!
So, “Is soy sauce gluten free?” I checked my bottle of soy sauce and the answer is “No” because it contains wheat flour. Okay, so what about oyster sauce, another Asian staple. I checked the bottle of oyster sauce and that says wheat flour as well. Psychologically, because soy is a liquid we find it rather hard to associate it with flour, but because oyster sauce is thickened, we can kind of figure that it would contain flour, don’t you think? But, for those who are on a gluten-free diet, guess what I found! Yes, Kikkoman has come out with a gluten-free soy sauce, so you can create your Asian recipes with a peace of mind! Although I haven’t tried it, at least it’s available and allows you to continue to enjoy those Asian recipes.