Gluten – you’ve heard all about it and its bloat-inducing effects.
It’s a protein that’s found in grains including wheat, rye, barley, spelt and oats. Some people avoid it as they have celiac disease, a disorder whereby eating gluten triggers an immune response in the body and this can cause inflammation and damage to the small intestine. If left untreated, people who suffer from this disease could suffer from side effects such as digestive issues and nutritional deficiencies.
However, while only one in 140 people have this disease, a gluten-free diet has gained a lot of traction, especially in the past few years. Some people have decided to ditch gluten because it has supposed health benefits — plus it’s trendy too (celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Lady Gaga and Gwyneth Paltrow follow such a diet).
Gluten can also cause headaches and abdominal discomfort, which could mean you’re suffering from gluten sensitivity (a milder form) or gluten intolerance; this isn’t the same as having celiac disease as both conditions don’t cause any damage to your intestines.
With more restaurants offering gluten-free dishes, you can, thankfully, still enjoy foods such as breads, pastas and pizzas. One thing to note however — gluten-free food has a different taste and texture compared to its gluten-containing counterparts so you might take a while getting used to such food.
Here are 10 places to get gluten-free food that your tummy will thank you for.
This cafe’s mission is to improve their customers’ health “through a recipe of awareness, education and great, wholesome food”. With a menu full of gluten-free options, there’s the Rebel Breakfast (cage-free eggs, spiced chickpeas, mushrooms, peppers and avocado) on a gluten-free sour-dough rye toast, or order any of their sandwiches for lunch and swap for gluten-free bread. Otherwise, the Zoodle Bolognese is a must-try dish, made with gluten-free zucchini noodles (zoodle, geddit?). If you feel inspired to start cooking healthy, the cafe also provides healthy and raw cooking classes onsite.
At 28 Stanley Street, 068737, tel: 6224 7088. Visit www.foodrebelsg.com
Formerly known as Open Door Policy (same venue and owners but different name and concept), this restaurant’s all gluten-free menu is particularly creative. Serving dishes inspired by European flavours, you’ll get dishes such as Chilled Almond Soup and Pumpkin Gnocchi. Other delicious food to be consumed here include the Crispy Pig’s Ears (served with piquillo peppers, pickled kohlrabi, sriracha mayo & baby gem), Tuna & Quinoa Salad (served with braised baby turnips, avocado & super greens), Grilled Octopus (served with celeriac, capers, tuna mayo & seeds salsa verde), and Beef & Bone Marrow Burger (served with bacon jam, brie, spicy mayo & grilled cabbage).
At 19 Yong Siak Street, 168650, tel: 6221 9307. Visit www.thebutcherswifesg.com
Photo: Summer Palace
A Chinese restaurant that offers gluten-free dishes is rare enough but Summer Palace takes it a step further by having a special gluten-free menu. This Michelin-starred restaurant is known for serving classic Cantonese dishes as well as having an extensive dim sum menu. Diners who are gluten intolerant need not feel left out as they can now sample delicious items on this special menu such as Brown Fried Rice with Wolfberry, Pine Nuts, Mushrooms and Diced Kai Lan, Pan-fried Kurobuta Cutlet in Mongolian Sauce, and Double-boiled Pear with Gingko Nuts (Cold or Hot). And if you’re concerned about the soy sauce they use, fret not as dishes on the gluten-free menu are made with gluten-free soy sauce and you can request for gluten-free soy sauce as a condiment for your meal too.
At Level 3, Regent Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Road, 249715, tel: 6725 3288. Visit www.regenthotels.com/regent-singapore/dining/summer-palace
Raw food is at the heart of the menu here and the chefs are constantly busy creating innovative and unique dishes free of dairy, red meat, refined sugars, preservatives, artificial additives or colourings. The cafe aims to show Singapore that healthy food can be tasty, affordable and accessible to everyone, and organic ingredients are sourced where possible, so as to achieve the best flavour too. There’s plenty of gluten-free options here, such as Raw Mexican Nachos (house made raw tortilla chips with salsa, cashew sour cream and guacamole), Pad Thai Noodles (zucchini noodles with a fragrant and creamy Pad Thai sauce), and Zucchini Lasagne (layers of zucchini with taco ‘meat’, macadamia cheese, creamy cashew mayo, pesto & fresh tomatoes). You could also order a range of salads, brown rice bowls and pizzas, which can be made with a gluten-free base. The cafe also offers cooking and food prep classes for all ages.
At 779 Bukit Timah Road, 269758, tel: 6468 4482. Visit www.thelivingcafeasia.com
This is the perfect spot for a gluten-free brunch with its wide variety of non-gluten items such as I Love New York (creamy scrambled eggs with smoked sturgeon, smoked salmon & caramelised onions with hand-rolled sesame bagel (request for the gluten-free bagel). There’s also the Norwegian (avocado, grilled asparagus spears, poached eggs wrapped with Norwegian smoked salmon, Hollandaise sauce & salmon pearls on wholewheat brioche), and Turkish (poached egg with baked yoghurt, baby spinach & paprika oil, avjar, flat bread & chopped salad), both hearty dishes that are available in gluten-free options, to start the day right.
#03-01/02 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Rd, 238897, tel: 6235 3900, and #03-01, Scotts Square, 6 Scotts Rd, 228209, tel: 6636 1816. Visit www.wildhoney.com.sg
Everything on the menu here is handcrafted from scratch and made without artificial additives. Also, no refined sugar is added and all the food here is free from wheat and gluten. Their signature waffles are made from a house recipe of almond, chia seeds, coconut, eggs, rice, and are available with toppings such as avocado or scrambled eggs. All-day breakfast items include House-Made Oat-Free Granola and Paleo Toasts & Eggs, while lunch sees options such as Philly Steak Sandwich and Kimchi Pork Croque Monsieur, made of course with gluten-free bread.
At 71 Seng Poh Road, #01-35, 160071, tel: 6222 1369. Visit www.tianns.com.sg
Photo: Bread Street Kitchen/Marina Bay Sands
This restaurant and bar by Gordon Ramsay has a charming industrial-warehouse design and a separate gluten-free menu containing a selection of traditional British fare and European dishes. Start with their chicken liver and foie gras parfait with Madeira jelly and gluten-free toast; pick the slow roasted Dingley Dell pork belly with apple purée and whole grain mustard jus or the Irish Angus rib-eye steak as your main dish; then finish on a sweet note with a Diplomatico Reserva rum cheesecake with mango sorbet.
At L1-81, Bay Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue, 018972; tel: 6688 5665. Visit www.marinabaysands.com/restaurants/bread-street-kitchen.html
Photo: Coriander Leaf
This restaurant’s unique Pan-Asian dishes mix modern and traditional cooking techniques and the menu is based on five flavours – Fresh, Familiar, Spicy, Umami and Sweet. Gluten-free items on the menu include wok fried prawns with Sichuan peppercorn, lily buds and spring onions; string beans with woodear mushroom, chilli oil, pickled mustard leaf and a dash of dry red chill; young jackfruit with home-made curry powder, mustard seeds, black pepper, tamarind and cashews; and Samia’s signature frontier chicken with coriander seeds, chilli, yoghurt cream, arugula and lemon. These dishes are specially marked as gluten-free as the recipes contain no wheat or soy, and any soy that’s used is the gluten-free version. The focus here is on small plates so it’s an ideal dining destination for groups to come together and bond through food.
At #02-01 CHIJMES, 30 Victoria Street, 187996, tel: 6837 0142. Visit www.corianderleaf.com
Everything this bakery makes is gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free (they call it the Oh My Goodness! Trinity). Most of their items are also grain-free and paleo-friendly. Whether you want something for your bread basket or cookie jar, or for a special occasion, or just want to pepper your meals with some healthier items, they’ve probably got it. Order the Golly, their signature dark chocolate cake, or Golly Gee, the signature with a raspberry twist. For a change, try the Gollybells, their gluten-free bread and Gollybrekkie is the ultimate breakfast cookie. There’s a Singapore special too – Gollykek, a gluten-free and dairy-free pandan cake that melts in your mouth. Oh my goodness, indeed!
Photo: The Whole Kitchen
Struggling to find accessible and genuinely healthy and tasty food options? Well look no further, because The Whole Kitchen will be able to do just that. Check out their scrumptious products, all made from 100% natural and premium food ingredients, free from gluten, additives and low in natural sugars. They also have paleo, keto, low carb and vegan options, so you’ll never have trouble finding something that suits your needs. Try their new gluten-free muffins that come in four flavours: chocolate, lemon coconut, banana and orange chia. How about their chocolate cherries? Not only are these energy pearls nut free, but they are the perfect snack or treat for you or your kids! Did we mention you can shop online?
Various locations, visit www.thewholekitchen.com.sg for more.
By Balvinder Sandhu, April 2019
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