Growing up my husband and I both ate the Nissin ramen noodles and later in college we ate a lot of them because at one point we both were in grad school. He was the person that introduced traditional ramen to me later in our late 20's in Orlando (and he has also been to Japan). Luckily, I had Tonkotsu 3 times before I found out I had Celiacs and then the quest for a gluten free ramen started.
I, so far, haven't found a restaurant that would make it for me for a multitude of reasons. It didn't hit Tampa until ramen became the "it thing" for this generation ie., millenials. Years ago no one would pay 8 dollars much less $15.00 for ramen because it was being equated to a 50 cent bag of Nissin noodles from the grocery store.
So, after about 6 to 7 years of being gluten free something happened, a restaurant had gluten free ramen on their menu. The waiter said it was gluten free, there was no soy sauce in the broth (thus, I think, not making it traditional ramen), and that it was safe for me to eat. So, I was like "Hell yea!" My husband was like, " order anything you want". Unfortunately, every last dish tested positive for gluten... This is where my love for wanting to help others and my love for science met and the feeling was odd..
So all my entrees tested positive for gluten. I literally ordered 3 entrees that were inedible for someone with Celiacs disease. I lay in bed the whole day thinking "Im going to get ramen today, finally". That didn't happen. But what did happen is that the manager and staff were really interested in the science and technology that fuels NIMA. They did not understand Celiacs disease, they didn't even know how the food tested positive. It was a harrowing experience for all of us because its easy for me to walk into a place and order something and then say "this has gluten", but I haven't had ramen in 7 years and I grew up on that for the most part.
So, everything tested positive for gluten up to 20ppm other than the steamed muscles. I didn't test the miso soup or the sushi rice (NIMA can't detect soy sauce or rice vinegar) and despite the staff being super accommodating and helpful after the fact, I had no way to be sure there was not tofu in my miso and I told them I can't have tofu; I also had no idea if the rice vinegar was distilled making the rice safe for me to eat.
Tonight was not a conventional dinner, however, the owner and the staff admitted their faults and wanted to learn and update their menu. There is nothing I value more than honesty. I often tell people I don't lie and they double take like "what, everyone lies, even small lies". Its not something I do and it sucks if people lie to you and it can make you sick. The staff was great, the manager did not charge me for anything I didn't eat, and they wanted to know more about science that surrounds the protein that is gluten: wheat, rye, or barley.
Its odd because I consider myself a scientist (I have a degree from an accredited college/university) and no one ever really looks at me as such. Tonight, was a learning and teaching experience. I wish them all the best. We all as humans are not perfect and I in no way considered this to be an insult on me. I left there only having some mussels, nigiri, 3 drinks, and miso soup.
When I first went gluten free I glutened myself so many times because I did not understand cross contamination. There is the stigma that encompasses being on a "gluten free" diet, the waiter even said " I didn't really take you seriously". What I want is understanding and I think I got that- I hope. I still love this place and I know they will get it right and I will be back. My husband loved his ramen.
|Steamed curry muscles|
|hubby's salad (not gluten free)|