A couple months ago a FaceBook post caught my attention: Gluten Free Chinese Buffet! Whoa, wait did I just read that right? Scroll back up….Yep! I DID!!! Once a month the Bean Sprout in Toronto is offering a safe for Celiacs gluten free buffet, dine in or take out. I saw this in November, now 4 months later, finally, we made it. It seemed we were always in the T. on the wrong day (we live about an hour away). This time my hubby was kind enough to send me a google invite for this awesome event. So we made the plans, gathered up the fam and headed into my hometown for the day.
The Bean Sprout Gluten Free Chinese
A tiny place, in need of superficial repair, just off the DVP in the North York neighborhood of Toronto. Once a month The Bean Sprout’s owners give up their day off to put together a Gluten Free chinese buffet. Yep! Full Canadian style Chinese food, all safe for Celiacs. This was a buffet grown out of love of a son with celiac disease as well as numerous food allergies.
Coming from experience means they understand how to create safe, yummy food. In my party of 5, 2 of us suffer from celiac; as is often the case for families such as mine the ones with the disease govern the dining locations. This does not always work out great for the rest of my clan. This time around though we seemed to satisfy not just us Celiacs but also the regular eaters. Actually The Bean Sprout did more than satisfy; my normally 1 plate hubby went back through the buffet for a total of 3 plates! The meat eating boys were super impressed with the chicken and beef dishes. For my vegetarian daughter and myself…more delicious offerings to completely stuff our faces and I do mean stuff!
Super fresh, super clean, super tasty. 12 does not sound like a lot but when presented in the buffet it’s too much to take at once. A noodle dish, best ever GF fried rice, the classic mixed vegies with broccoli, an awesome garlic potato that my daughter couldn’t get enough of, bean sprouts, chicken with pumpkin, spicy thai chicken, beef with mixed veg, fried fish…. I’m missing 3…
I sampled, okay, over ate, every vegetable dish offered plus a small piece of the fish. Vegies were all awesome, the fish was thick and flakey, perfectly cooked as I was able to get it right as it came off the grill. My hubby’s second piece was a bit overcooked. Definitely not the fault of the chef. Buffets are a finicky thing, the food has to be cooked to regulation temp then held at regulation temperatures. And I must commend the chef he did not stop cooking, by doing small batches of each dish at a time he was able to keep everything fresh, cooked perfectly, nothing sat long.
Since I do not eat meat I asked the opinions of my 3 boys. A win! My oldest (non-celiac) loved the beef, soft and tender with just the right amount of flavor. My second son (celiac) was extremely impressed with the battered chicken, thin batter over tender meat, unlike other gluten free batters the Bean Sprout has made one that fries up crisp and stays that way even covered in a sweet, sticky, spicy sauce. Hubby? Well he just loved it all, usually quite fussy about his food (he is Adam Cooks Everything) every dish impressed!
Overall a giant win! 5 for 5 of us not only enjoyed our food but were impressed by the quality of both it and the service. I highly recommend a visit to this unassuming gem.
Yumm factor: 5/5
Family Score: 5/5
Dollar value: 5/5 – $20 a person for dine-in; decent value for the fact that all food was safe for people with celiac disease. No worries of cross contamination across a wide selection of dishes. Of note The Bean Sprout offers 3 take out options:
Lunch pricing: Small $9, Medium $12, Large $14 plus taxes.
Buy Again: Yes, yes and yes!
Health Benefits: 4/5. Of course this completely depends on how you choose to manage your plate. Chef M. Chen offers up high quality meats and vegies, though some are fried. By balancing portion sizes and loading the plate with vegies first this can be a good healthy option for dining-out.
Final Score: 5/5
I love, love, love the fact that this gluten free buffet is not just GF but also safe for celiacs! I also love that they are constantly coming up with new recipes (check out their FaceBook page).
Not yet sampled The Bean Sprout offers a selection of gluten free frozen items for home enjoyment. At $9 to $12 a packaged we opted to bring home only 4: Vegan dumplings for yours truly, pork buns, chicken dumplings and beef dumplings for my celiac son. Once we cook these up I will write a product review to let you all know how they turn out.
I am truly sad that this place is just over an hour from me; but the next date is already marked on my calendar and I am counting down the days!