New Gluten Free Menu at Henry Wong

It is notoriously hard to find a Cantonese restaurant that caters for a gluten free diet. The desire for chefs to coat everything in soy sauce and batter is a common occurrence and it is for this reason that I hadn’t eaten a Chinese meal in a restaurant in about nine or ten years, which is crazy considering how much I love this cuisine. You can imagine my delight when I was invited along to sample the new gluten free menu at Henry Wong in Harborne to find that I could eat a large selection of beautiful dishes.

Henry Wong specialises in both traditional and contemporary Chinese dishes and the diverse menu could satisfy even the fussiest of eaters. Thanks to the freshness of the food on offer, a large amount of the normal menu can be made gluten free and it was fantastic to be able to visit a restaurant where the staff were so knowledgeable about allergens and could prepare vibrant dishes without any fuss.

For starters, we were treated to the popular chicken and shitake mushroom yuk sung with pinenuts, as well as asparagus and soft shell crab with garlic and chilli. The dish that particularly stood out for me here was the crab, it was really succulent, coated in a delicious batter and drizzled in a garlic and chilli sauce which is always a winning combination for me. I can sometimes find that chefs overcook asparagus, but here it was cooked to perfection and complimented the crab dish perfectly.

img_2937

Next on the menu was the main course of honey pepper king prawn, sweet and sour chicken, steamed sea bass with ginger and spring onion, pak choy in garlic sauce, sizzling beef fillet in black pepper sauce, accompanied with egg fried rice.

img_2943

When I was younger and still eating normal Chinese food, I always opted for sweet and sour chicken and beef in black bean sauce, so I was chuffed to be able to tuck into these amazing dishes once more – the beef dish in particular was really tender and juicy and much more tasty than how I remember it from takeaways years ago. Another pleasant surprise was the sea bass; other than prawns I wouldn’t usually opt for seafood at a Chinese restaurant but combined with the ginger and spring onion – two of my favourite ingredients for oriental food, I was really impressed by the dish and would definitely order again.

img_2948

img_2942

For dessert, a beautifully presented fruit platter came out bursting with a variety of berries and melon, as well as strawberry cheesecake and fudge cake, topping off what was a fantastic night of amazing food – the cocktails and mocktails on offer were amazing too by the way!

img_2955

img_2959

Overall, I can’t praise the gluten free menu enough at Henry Wong. The staff  have obviously put a lot of effort into learning about Coeliac disease and how to cater for special diets, whilst maintaining the same standards of exceptional cooking that goes into the normal dishes.  The great thing was that they are so keyed up on how to prepare gluten free food that you don’t feel different when eating there, you are made to feel like a regular diner. I can say for certain that I will be visiting again in the next few weeks and I can’t wait to be sat around the table with my chopsticks, tucking into another beautiful selection of gluten free dishes. If you’re ever in the Birmingham area, you must take a trip down to Henry Wong, it’ll be a firm favourite with both gluten free and normal eaters.

img_2951

Chinese sweet chilli turkey with king prawns

One of the things I have without a doubt missed most being gluten, wheat and milk free….is Chinese takeaway. Being surrounded by people on a Saturday night scoffing their way messily through sweet and sour chicken, crispy shredded beef and chow mein is one of the hardest things to resist.

In my opinion Chinese food is one of the cuisines in the Free From range that really needs addressing. There is a big market for an easy Gluten free Chinese takeaway meal but in my experience, restaurants and take away houses aren’t really catering for our needs and it is extremely hard to find something to eat when a main meal can consist of wheat laden noodles and flour battered chicken.

I have to admit, I invented this dish as a bit of a spur of the moment thing. I had a selection of food in my fridge and really felt like having a sweet and sour based dish. Thankfully, Sweet Mandarins Sauces came to my rescue with their gorgeous sweet chilli condiment which I use on a wide variety of dishes. If you haven’t tried their sauces already, you really are missing out. Here is a link to their website – http://www.sweetmandarin.com/

Serves 1 – 2

Ingredients

  • 1 – 2 turkey breasts
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 red onion
  • Tamari soya sauce (I used Meridian’s Free From sauce which can be found in supermarkets and Holland and Barrat)
  • Sweet Mandarin’s sweet chilli or sweet and sour sauce (can be found at Tesco and Sainsbury’s)
  • 1 – 2 peppers of any colour
  • Chinese five spices
  • Paprika
  • Basmati rice
  • King prawns

1)    Chop the sweet potato, pepper and red onion and place in the oven for 30 minutes to go soft and crispy.

2)    Heat some olive oil in a pan and brown the turkey – sprinkle on around half to one tsp of Chinese five spice and half a tsp of paprika to taste and turn down the heat.

3)    Boil the basmati rice according to pack instructions.

4)    Pour in some of the Sweet Mandarin’s sauce according to personal taste (I used around 25ml)

5)    Drizzle in some of the Tamari soya sauce.

6)    Pour in the king prawns and fry until golden.

7)    Season with a little salt and pepper.

8)    Toss the sweet potato, pepper and onion in with the turkey sauce mixture and blend together.

9)    Drain the rice and serve with the turkey mix.