I love Chinese-style cooking. I just can’t get enough of the crisp vegetables, tender rice, marinated meats, and tangy sauces. But because wheat is often a main ingredient in soy sauce, it can be hard to find Asian dishes to satisfy gluten free diners. Wild Rice Market Bistro on the Quay combines unique, Chinese-inspired flavour with fresh, local, organic ingredients. It’s gluten free dining done right!
Gluten Free Options at Wild Rice:
The vegan curry: This richly-flavoured curry is gluten free, and served on a bed of fragrant jasmine rice. If you’re craving protein, you can add chili tofu, chicken, or prawns. It’s a very generous portion, so you won’t leave hungry!
The Asian chicken wrap: It’s wrapped in rice paper instead of a tortilla, so it’s gluten free. It’s stuffed with chicken, tomatoes, blue cheese dressing, and buffalo sauce. I love wraps, and this one exceeded my expectations.
The garlic prawns: Who can say no to garlic prawns on a bed of cilantro turmeric rice? It’s delicious, and completely gluten free.
The chicken wings: Unlike many restaurants that coat their chicken wings in batter, Wild Rice offers gluten free wings. Just make sure to let the server know you need the gluten free option, because the menu does mention batter.
The yam fries and polenta fries: Who doesn’t love a good yam fry? Especially with roasted garlic mayo. The good news is that the yam fries are gluten free! If you’re in the mood for something a little different, the polenta fries are also gluten free.
The salt and pepper squid: Squid may not be at the top of everyone’s food list, but based on how much I miss sharing a plate of succulent calamari, I think it’s up there for me! Jalapenos add a little spice to this gluten free dish.
The sweet chili chicken and fries: This is a sweet and spicy gluten free option for people who may be missing chicken and fries.
The sauteed kale and mushrooms: This starter is both vegan and gluten free.
The kale caesar salad: The cashew tofu dressing, roasted garlic, and a balsamic reduction might just make kale worth eating!
The butternut and kabocha squash soup: This rich and hearty soup is gluten free. Just make sure to order it without the crispy onions, as these are not gluten free.
The chocolate cake: Yes, gluten free chocolate cake. Your eyes do not deceive you! It’s topped with chocolate sauce and a scoop of good old vanilla ice cream.
The Callebaut chocolate pyramid: If you’re not in the mood for cake, there’s a second gluten free chocolate option. Rich Belgian chocolate and pears poached in red wine will definitely make you want to save room for dessert.
What to Watch Out For:
The soy sauce: Since many of the dishes are Chinese-style, soy sauce is a main component in some of the dishes. Anything labeled with “sweet soy” is not gluten free. If you have any questions about the sauce on a particular dish, just ask one of the staff members!
The wontons: Wontons are a common ingredient in many Chinese dishes, but unfortunately, they’re not gluten free.
The dumplings, buns, spring rolls, and potstickers: They look and sound delicious, but the casings of these Chinese mainstays are not gluten free.
Wild Rice prides itself on catering to a wide range of dietary restrictions while maintaining a unique and fresh flavour. Their menu is, by far, the easiest menu to navigate, because all of the gluten free options are clearly labeled. The staff members know the menu quite well, and are able to explain any modifications needed to make your favourite dish gluten free. The last time I was in, the server explained that the gluten free Asian chicken wrap has pan fried chicken instead of deep fried chicken, and made sure that was OK before entering the order. Since modifications may be necessary, it’s a good idea to let the staff know that you’re gluten free. Although the kitchen is not a 100% gluten free environment, they are careful to avoid cross contamination.
Wild Rice is conveniently located in the River Market on the Quay. Large windows look over the waterfront, giving diners a lovely view of the river and mountains. In warm weather, there’s also a large patio area. Concrete and a shiny open-concept kitchen give off an industrial vibe, which is relieved by warm wood tables, colourful paper lanterns, and local artwork on the walls. It’s a popular place on weekends (especially sunny weekends), so reservations are recommended. You can make reservations directly through their website, or by giving them a call.
If you’re looking for a wide selection of fresh, delicious gluten free food, then Wild Rice is definitely the place to go. Their unique dishes, convenient location, knowledgeable staff, and easy to navigate menu make it a dream for gluten free diners. It’s a great place to enjoy a cocktail, meal, and a view.
If this is your business and your gluten free options have changed, please let me know! My goal is to provide the most up to date information on New Westminster’s gluten free choices.