Since this is my final Gluten Freedom column, I thought that there would be nothing better to do than to come full circle: discovering the food that I love at home in my second home. Homesickness comes in a lot of forms: when you’re stressed out and all you want is to sleep in your own bed, when you miss your dog, or when you miss your mom’s home-cooked meals. For me, my bed has so many foam pads that I could sleep on it for days, and the only pet I have is my fish. The one thing that really does get me is the food from home. Returning with renewed determination after spring break back in New York, I believe that I have finally found what I was looking for: a taste of home in the district.
Before listing this best of the best gluten-free edition, I think a quick background is in order. I was adopted from South Korea as an infant by two lovely parents, my Italian mother and my Italian-Chinese father. I grew up in Long Island, New York before coming to Georgetown. These distinctive cultures have formed my somewhat unusual taste buds and in turn, this smorgasbord of a list.
453 K St. NW (Chinatown)
1805 18th St. NW (Dupont Circle)
I would like to start with the foods of my homeland. I have not yet ventured to Annandale, but I have made it far past the Verizon Center and into Chinatown to stumble upon Mandu. A mandu is basically a kind of dumpling widely eaten by most Koreans, but especially enjoyed by poor college students because they’re cheap and delicious, at least in Korea. The mandu served at Mandu were absolutely satisfying. The restaurant has different types — vegetable, shrimp and beef — suited perfectly for anyone’s needs. As for the main dish, I ordered bibimbap, which is a traditional Korean dish of rice, vegetables, meat and an egg served in a hot stone pot. It might sound a little odd, but it tastes delicious. If I could only eat one meal for the rest of my days, it might be bibimbap … or pizza.
2003 P St. NW (Dupont Circle)
3282 M St. NW (Georgetown)
You can call me a “bad New Yorker” for even attempting to eat pizza outside of the tri-state area, but when the pizza craving hits you have to step outside of your comfort zone a little bit. Pizzeria Paradiso serves a personal-size thin-crust, gluten-free pizza that’ll make your heart melt, just like the cheese all over the goodness of the pizza. They’ll make any of their specialty pies on the gluten-free crust or you can be creative and choose your own toppings. If the weather’s nice out, I recommend going to the Dupont Circle location to eat out on the patio for pizza al fresco and enjoy some great people-watching.
1100 Wilson Blvd. (Rosslyn)
I know that I wrote about China Garden before, in my column on the best brunches, but it’s just so good that I need to write about it a second time. Dim sum is a quintessential meal when I’m home and has become one at my second home as well. Thanks to my likeminded dim sum loving friends, I can enjoy all of the gluten-free goodness that China Garden offers. Whatever you do, be sure to order the sticky rice in a lotus leaf and any dumplings with rice noodles for those who are gluten-free, though I’ve heard that all of their dumplings are delicious.
Wherever you’re from (sorry if you’re not from the best state of New York and more specifically, Long Island), you can find gluten-free places to eat your homesickness away. It might’ve taken me almost two years, but at least I have the rest of my time on the Hilltop and in the district to enjoy my new finds. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the gluten-free journey with me. Happy eating!
Christina Wing is a sophomore in the MSB. This is the last appearance of GLUTEN FREEDOM in the guide.