I had always thought Mexican, Thai and Vietnamese were the best options for eating out naturally on a gluten-free diet. I discovered this week that I could add Korean food to the mix.
The diet is largely soy based. From pastes to sauces soy is the major ingredient. Unlike other “soy” sauces, it appears that Gan-Jan is soy and salt and that is about it. The Guk-Gan-Gang is a lighter dipping sauce version.
Another key component is red chili which gives the food a delightful kick. The small dishes to start the meal are all fermented basically with garlic and chili. Cucumber, cabbage, bean sprouts and daikon, were placed at the table each with a varying degree of fire.
What I love is that every cuisine has its unique and beautiful presentation as dishes are presented at the table. Korean dishes arrive bubbling in a bowl or crackling on hot stone plates to give a crust to the rice or protein…truly beautiful. We ordered so much food and yet I did not walk away unpleasantly full.
It helped to go to lunch with a native Korean who knew about my gluten-free diet for the past 17 years and she pointed out the two things that I should skip. The Scallion Pancake was one of them but it looked so good that I am going to find some Guk-Gan-Gang and make a gluten-free version at home. The recipe looks really simple and I think I could make all kinds of quick and easy dinners with different ingredients! The other was dumplings, which I don’t mind skipping.
We did not order dessert and we did not order drinks. I could have used the Korean version of a Thai tea to cool down my mouth! Next time I will peruse both options, and it will be soon because the food was fresh, healthy, spicy and so good.