Friday, October 19, 2007

Ben Thanh Restaurant in Waterloo

Eating out at Asian restaurants is often a challenge for Celiacs. So many dishes seem to have soy sauce, which of course has wheat in it. (Well, many brands do).

Luckily there are usually options for Celiacs. My first choice at Chinese food restaurants is usually Singapore Noodles - a rice noodle dish that isn't in a sauce. Of course, I always ask the server to ensure they don't use soy sauce or other sauces, or other gluten products. Sometimes it is tough to get a concise answer though! (If you have any suggestions of other dishes to try, please leave a comment!)

But...this review isn't about Chinese restaurants. It's about a great Thai restaurant on Northfield in Waterloo called Ben Thanh. It's actually a chain with a few locations in Ontario. (Guelph, Waterloo, Cambridge, Burlington, London and Hamilton).

The good thing about Thai restaurants is they usually have a lot of fresh options, and not as many dishes that are fried or are in sauces. Ben Thanh is great because they seem to know their dishes well. I've been there many times and the server always goes to talk to the chefs about what dishes would be safe for me to eat.

So far, here are my findings:
  • The Lean Beef Pho Soup is gluten-free, and makes a great meal. I don't eat the sauce that comes on the side.
  • The Pad Thai is gluten-free
  • The fresh shrimp rolls are gluten-free (shrimp wrapped in rice paper, with lettuce and mint). Again I avoid the sauce.
  • The fried spring rolls (again wrapped in rice paper) might be gluten-free, but I'm almost certain a separate fryer is not used (so I'd avoid them).
  • The Vermicelli platters all have meat that is marinated in soy sauce - stay away from these dishes.

So far that's all the information I've discovered. Been to Ben Thanh or other Thai restaurants? Please leave a comment if you have anything to share!

Oh and finally, it's always recommended to ask your server - don't just take my word for it. Preparation techniques or ingredients can change at any time.

Enjoy eating out!

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