Thursday, February 16, 2012

Restaurant Review: Panda Asian Fusion (Freehold, NJ)

Through a number of different websites, I pieced together that Panda Asian Fusion (335 West Main Street, Freehold, NJ) has gluten free offerings (unfortunately they don't have a website of their own). There were even rumors floating around that they offered a gluten free egg roll! On a trip to that area Super Bowl Weekend, I stopped in to see what was what.

Gluten Free Egg Roll at Panda Asian Fusion in Freehold, NJ
Panda Asian Fusion is small but modern store front restaurant (in the strip mall with Chipotle). They have a sign in the door that they offer gluten free items but do not have a gluten free menu. They told me that they could do almost anything gluten free and that I should just ask. I was on my way to dinner with a friend later that evening so I just had a quick snack.

Always cautious about dairy I discovered that their eggroll wrapper is made from a sheet of bean curd. The resulting egg roll is extremely crispy but difficult to cut (especially since one does not get a knife at an asian restaurant). I found that picking the eggroll up worked just fine!

The texture wasn’t the same as a gluten containing egg roll but the wrap did a good job of getting the eggroll contents (and more importantly that orange eggroll dipping sauce) into my mouth.

Before I left I asked since they say 90-95% of the menu could be done gluten free, what couldn’t. The response was that they can do pretty much anything except the won-tons as they have both gluten free soy sauce and gluten free breading for the items that require it. [We also discussed the spare ribs but I didn’t really understand the deal on these, they have gluten free spare ribs but they can’t make the spare ribs on the menu gluten free? I apologize but since I can’t handle pork either, I didn’t really press the issue.]

Gluten Free Vegetable Stir Fry at
Panda Asian Fusion in Freehold NJ
This is definitely somewhere I’d like to return and try more off their gf menu!

Update 5/2/12:

I've since returned to Panda Asian Fusion for lunch with another GF friend of mine.  Our waiter informed us that no, they can't do breaded items gluten free but will do the same dishes with unbreaded meats instead.  We also discovered that the egg rolls are not fried in a dedicated fryer.  [Neither of us are super sensitive to cross contamination and had them anyway but that is an individual decision.]
Panda House on Urbanspoon

If you're looking for a gluten Free Egg Roll you can make at home try:

Feel Good Foods Gluten Free Egg Roll Review

If you're looking for other restaurants try here:

Restaurants in New Jersey with Gluten Free Menus

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