Gluten Free Bangkok

If my last couple of posts have just been far too long for your tastes, then fear not. This one will be nice and short*. Unfortunately for fellow coeliac and/or wheat and gluten intolerant folk, that means that no, I didn’t find much gluten free food in Bangkok. I really tried, but unfortunately it’s not a city that understands gluten free.

Here are the few places I did find, in order of recommendation.

*so I’ve just finished writing and turns out I wrote quite a lot again. soz.

Theera Gluten Free Bakery

This was my oasis in a city of things I can’t eat, and of course I only found it on my last day. It’s a slight ways out of the main tourist areas but it’s 100% worth the trip if you can’t eat gluten. They do a great breakfast and lunch, and they have some cakes, bread and energy ball type things to take away to tide you over until you find your next safe food venue. I ate all mine on my cheapo-air flight to Jakarta where no other food was provided. Woop!

Anyway, back to Theera. That day I had a fried breakfast with waffles, because waffles.

The waffles were good, but honestly I wish I’d had something else because it came up a bit short of a Traditional English. Which was only to be expected seeing as I was in Thailand.

S had a duck curry with rice. I tried a bit and it tasted just as good as it looked.

They also had exciting drinks on offer which were just right in the heat.

I soon moved on to the cake course, which was absolutely delicious. They gave me two forks, oh how naive.

No dry and crumbly cardboard here – this vanilla cake was rich and delicious. I don’t know what the icing was but it was light and airy. And, even though it was served with maple syrup drizzled over it, not too sickly.

The interior was comfortable, air conditioned (!), peaceful and clean. The staff were very friendly.

I highly recommend Theera and I’d go out of my way to visit it next time.

Kyochon Chicken

This Korean chicken joint is located at the back of Siam Square One, adjacent to Siam BTS station. It’s super convenient if you’ll be in the area doing some shopping. They have good value Korean fried chicken and rice which makes for an ideal lunch.

Just watch out for the following:

> Not all their dishes are gluten free and the ones that are aren’t marked. As far as I know, the Sal Sal chicken is the only gluten free chicken on the menu: they couldn’t vouch for the other types. Please re-check every time you go in case the recipe has changed and if in doubt… don’t eat it.

> They don’t have a website so I have no idea when they’re open. It’s a cafe so I’d suggest daytime rather than evening.

> There are no loos in the restaurant itself, you have to go into the main shopping centre where there are semi-western style toilets (western actual loos but BYO loo roll/take it from the one dispenser on the wall as you walk in).

> Try the strawberry salad dressing. It’s an experience.

La Tavola & Wine Bar

(inside Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel)

I don’t know whether anyone else gets this, but after about a week surviving on boiled rice and plain stir fries I was desperate for some good ol’ western carbs. So I did a google and I found possibly the only Italian restaurant in Bangkok that serves gluten free food. It’s inside the Renaissance hotel, which is right next to the Chit Lom BTS stop. It was also walking distance to our hotel which was most convenient. So off we went.

We were the only people in the restaurant! It was nice though.

Imagine my rapture when they brought out real, live gluten free bread. Look. At. It. Boiled rice, in your face.

Again, the gluten free options weren’t noted on the menu but were offered by the staff on enquiry. They had gluten free pasta available (no pizza, sadly) and could do either penne or spaghetti with almost any of the sauces listed on the main menu.

I went for trad ragu, and it was delicious. There’s not too much more I can say than that, really.

Yes, it was a bit of a pricey restaurant. But seeing as we’d been eating in food courts up until that point we justified the splurge. And sometimes you just need a slice of bread, y’know?

Vistacafe

This place was right next door to our hotel, and it provided me with a chocolate cake in a time of need for which I will be forever grateful.

It’s a health food shop so you’ve got to watch out for the ‘low gluten’ type spelt things, but they do have a small selection of actual gluten free things. Mostly cake to be honest, I don’t think you could get an actual gluten free meal here from what I saw.

General tips

Unfortunately it’s just not that easy to get hold of gluten free food in Bangkok. You would think it would be, but soy sauce is so ever-present it’s a real nightmare to avoid. Sometimes they even put it in curries – you just never know. So, never assume.

> I got my hotel front desk to write out ‘no soy sauce, no oyster sauce’ in Thai on a piece of paper for me which I would brandish wherever we went. Sometimes it worked, sometimes I got blank looks, I adjusted my course as a consequence.

> We ate a lot in food courts, because there was usually something there I could eat, and no judgement if I ate something strange or ‘not a meal’ like a plate of plain boiled rice.

> Our hotel had no clue about gluten free, so if you can stay somewhere that does that would be an excellent start.

> There isn’t really any packaged gluten free food in the supermarkets, so find what you can that’s naturally gluten free and stock up on it. We found a place near us that had some prepackaged fruit and yoghurts so we ate those a lot.

> Look for the fresh fruit street vendors which are fairly common. They sometimes do juices and smoothies as well.

> This is a slightly left field suggestion, but go on a cooking course! The one we went on not only made sure I could eat all the food I cooked, but gave me a good understanding of how some common Thai dishes are made and what bits I would need to avoid. Plus, it was great fun.

And that’s it. Have you been to Bangkok? Anything to add to my rather paltry list?

-Rachel

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8 Comments

  1. Jen
    21st July 2017 / 09:12

    I am a sucker for a good vanilla cake and this one looks absolutely amazing! I’m glad you found this place even though it was on the last day.

  2. 22nd July 2017 / 00:45

    This food looks amazing! Absolutely amazing!

  3. 22nd July 2017 / 03:58

    going on a cooking course is actually brilliant! i know when we went on a food tour in rome, we could say whether or not we were gluten free or anything and there was a person on my tour who was so they were accommodated everywhere we went. it sucks though because you really rely on being able to eat something, but like you said, it’s in soy sauce and other sauces and all sorts of things. i guess next time you could pack a bunch of food, but where’s the fun in that?

  4. 22nd July 2017 / 04:40

    That sucks that it was so hard for you to find some gluten free options while you were in Bangkok, but it sounds like what you did eat was delicious! I probably would have laughed at them for bringing me two forks with my cake too! That was so smart that you got the front desk to write out no soy sauce and no oyster sauce in Thai for you! I never would have thought about doing that!

  5. 23rd July 2017 / 11:07

    How sad that there weren’t many gluten-free options, but the food you did find looks really good!

  6. 23rd July 2017 / 22:45

    I am so so desperate to go to Bangkok! It’s a shame that certain countries don’t understand gluten free or (in my case) vegetarian, I had a few troubles in Paris!

    http://www.diaryofanexpatgirl.com

  7. 25th July 2017 / 17:04

    I haven’t been to BKK in years, but living in Asia, finding gluten free options is definitely a struggle! I tried to go as gluten free as I could here in Sing a while back and it was hard! That cake looks awesome t hough!!

  8. 25th July 2017 / 18:21

    Umm, don’t mind me… I’m just over here dreaming of that cake.

    I can NEVER find safe baked goods when we’re on vacation so I’m totally jealous!

    Have you ever seen the gluten free translation cards? We’ve used them in countries where language barriers were an issue and they really helped.

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