June 2013 Update: Since the time of this posting, this restaurant has closed. I will, however, keep this post active since it describes how to avoid gluten at an Asian restaurant. All-You-Can-Eat Sushi is a rare find, but if anyone can recommend another sushi buffet in the Triangle Area, please feel free to pass it along to the rest of us!
Also, I continue to carry individual packets of San-J Wheat-Free Organic Tamari Soy Sauce (ordered from Amazon) in my purse and have found them handy not only when having sushi, but when dining on other gluten-free items that could use a little extra quick-fix umami-ness.
Where: Grand Asia Buffet, 7371 Six Forks Rd., Raleigh, NC 27615
GF Menu: No.
What I ate: All-You-Can-Eat Lunch Buffet
How to order it: Let the server know what you would like to drink. Visit the buffet in the middle of the restaurant.
When enjoying Asian food, GF diners should be careful about Soy Sauce. Many entrees are sauteed in soy sauce or soy sauce is served for dipping. If you read the label on soy sauce, wheat is usually listed as the second or third ingredient. The bottled soy sauce on the tables at Grand Asia contained wheat at the time of this posting. Fortunately, I had brought my own packets of San-J Wheat-Free Organic Tamari Soy Sauce. You can find this brand at Whole Foods and other local health food stores.
Things to eat:
- Sushi & California Rolls (only those without tempura batter, tamago (sweet egg), or crab sticks in them)
- Some sauteed vegetables and seafood (if you can determine they were not sauteed in soy sauce)
Things to avoid: Fried items such as dumplings, tempura, and many of the desserts. Exercise caution with anything that may have been stir-fried in soy sauce.
What it looks like:
This was the first of many plates I filled with edamame, ginger, sushi, and california rolls. Each time I visit the Grand Asia Buffet, the sushi has been consistently well-stocked, fresh, and delicious. Since this is a popular destination for families and groups during both lunch and dinner, the sushi is replenished frequently by the tireless sushi chefs.
Add a bowl of fried plantains to your meal, as shown above, for an exquisite warm dessert. My handy Food Lover’s Companion (Barron’s Cooking Guide) notes that plantains (aka the “cooking banana”) “…are high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fats; they’re also rich in potassium and vitamin C.”
Green Note: If you would like to educate yourself on sustainable seafood, the Monterey Bay Aquarium website offers a downloadable Pocket Guide to ocean-friendly fish on the Sustainable Seafood Watch.