I love, love, LOVE sushi! And, Sushi is actually pretty safe to eat GFCF. Of course, SF is a whole 'nother thing, but it's possible, I promise! I still eat it all the time! Seriously! It is one of the easiest things to eat out since it is prepared fresh and to-order, so you can easily customize it!
Sushi rice, nori (seaweed paper that sushi is wrapped in) and of course the raw rish are all naturally GFCFSF.
Here are some things you have to watch for:
- The only dairy stuff that I can think of off the top of my head that is usually in sushi is cream cheese - so, if a roll I want comes with it, I just ask that they replace it with avocado or cucumber or something, it's usually not a problem.
- If only GF: Anything "tempura," fried, or labeled as "crunchy" - those all are done with wheat flakes
- If only GF: Avoid crabsticks. They almost always have wheat in them. You can ask if they use real crab or imitation. Real crab is fine. Imitation is not. They should be able to tell you if it is real crab or not - it's a fairly common question.
- If GF and/or SF: Soy sauce with wheat in it - so if you are both GF/SF, you'll have to deal with no sauce whatsoever or bring a bit of fish sauce. If you are only GF, not SF, bring your own wheat free soy sauce but still ask that they do not put ANY sauce on any of your sushi. I cannot emphasize this enough the waiter/waitress! Just so you know, some rolls don't say that they have sauce on them on the menu, but it arrives with a sauce on them! So, be very, very clear. This might get you a weird look - "No sauce?" "No sweet sauce?" "No soy sauce?" Just keep nodding - yes, NO sauce of ANY kind. They all most likely have soy in them and could have wheat in them.
- If GF and/or SF: Anything with eel because it almost always comes with soy on it or was marinated in soy
Here are some other words to watch for - most will not show up in your sushi menu, but they may be in entrees (if your sushi place offers other entrees) or in the appetizers:
- GF only: ramen, soba, udon, gyoza, panko, tempura, miso (this is soy based and can have wheat added in sometimes), dashi, salad dressing and marinades (of course all sauces can have wheat in them), tamago (an omelet that has soy sauce in it), flavored roe, fish cake, soy sauce, teriyaki, sweet soy, sweet sauce
- SF only: gyoza, miso, dashi, salad dressing and marinades (of course all sauces can have wheat in them), tamago (an omelet that has soy sauce in it), flavored roe, soy sauce, teriyaki, sweet soy, sweet sauce
Some safe options:
- Sashimi: all it is - literally - is slices of raw fish. So, you'd get a plate full of little pieces of raw fish. You could ask for a bowl of rice to come with it, but it won't have the "sushi" flavor because sushi rice has vinegar and some other stuff in it. You could ask for a bowl of sushi rice, but it depends on the place if they'll do that.
- If you can eat soy, a good appetizer is Edamame (salted and steamed soybeans)
- California Roll or Rainbow Roll - if GF: replace crabstick with shrimp
- Alaskan or Philadelphia Roll - if DF: replace cream cheese with avocado
- Any Nigri sushi (this is just a pillow of sushi rice, sometimes with a dab of wasabi and then the fish on top - no sauce, no veggies, nothing to worry about here - just don't order the eel one or tamgo if your GF or SF!)