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6 gluten-free Asian noodles


Being gluten-free doesn’t mean missing out on the noodle party. These days, wheat-free pastas are becoming more common, from Old Spaghetti Factory to Godmother Pasta. But while noodles at those places will do in a gluten-free pasta pinch, thanks to our Asian-dominated culture, a variety of gluten-free Asian noodles with unique textures and flavors are easy to find. Some to seek out:

Rice noodles are probably the most accessible gluten-free substitutes, used in pad thai to pho. Ever popular Pho to Chau, with its beef pho-only menu, never disappoints. It’s beef pho all the way here, with your major choices being: small, medium or large ($7.25 to $9.25), sliced rare beef in the soup or out. Need a vegan option? Then try Nickie Cafe.
Pho to Chau, 1007 River St., 533-4549

Photo: Martha Cheng

Our favorite Thai rice noodles: Opal Thai’s stir-fried crab noodles ($12.25), tossed in the wok and minimally dressed with chili, lime and peanuts. It’s the closest we’ve found to Bangkok streets’ pad thai.
Opal Thai, Haleiwa, 66 Kamehameha Highway, 637-7950

Photo: Joel Chang

While Opal Thai accommodates vegan requests, for a raw, vegan take on pad thai, try Greens and Vines version with kelp noodles ($9.25). These springy, crunchy noodles are so much fun to eat. A kaffir miso blend offers a punchy mix of ginger and miso, rounded out by kaffir leaves that impart a floral, citrusy aroma. It’s tossed with a rainbow of veggies—bean sprouts, red cabbage, bell peppers, carrots.
Greens and Vines, 909 Kapiolani Blvd., Unit B, 536-9680

PHOTO: Linny Morris

Thin, chewy buckwheat vermicelli (yes, buckwheat is gluten-free; despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat at all) is available in most Korean restaurants around town. At Shillawon, we like it in the mulnaengmyun ($9.95), served in an iced soup and accompanied with mustard, vinegar and apple slices, and as bibimnaengmyun ($9.95), tossed with a sweet Korean red chili sauce.

Shillawon, 747 Amana St., 944-8700

Photo: Martha Cheng

The best chicken long rice (made with slippery cellophane noodles) is the one mom/auntie/grandma makes, but the one from Ono Hawaiian Foods on Kapahulu ($5.75) is no slouch. Shredded dark meat chicken and green onions finish off this savory, thick concoction where the silky noodles are simmered extra long, soaking up every bit of the broth.
Ono Hawaiian Foods, 726 Kapahulu Ave., 737-2275

Photo: Kathy Chan

Sweet potato noodles are the foundation of Gina’s jap chae ($6.50), glassy noodles rich with sauteed cabbage, onions, and carrots. It’s seasoned with toasted sesame oil, shoyu* and sugar. And thanks to a heavy hand of black pepper, this jap chae is significantly more spicy than most versions in town. That is a good thing.
Gina’s BBQ, 2919 Kapiolani Blvd., 735-7964


Photo: Kathy Chan

* for a discussion on whether soy sauce is gluten-free: http://www.celiac.com/articles/23061/1/Is-Soy-Sauce-Gluten-free/Page1.html


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