Gluten free and delicious



Traveler with a gluten intolerant partner

If you are gluten intolerant or celiac you can eat relatively stress free at a good Vietnamese restaurant. All the noodles on a Vietnamese menu are made from rice, tapioca or mung bean. If you see the word “bun” or “pho” you are safe knowing they are both a rice noodle based soup and gluten free. The Vietnamese don’t use as much soy as you would think. Much of the flavour comes from fish sauce, so if you are vegetarian be aware that fish sauce will be in most dishes. You can enjoy  the gluten free Vietnamese food right here in Chirn Park. 

Did you know pho is actually the noodle - not the soup

It is completely made from rice, making it gluten free.

Gluten free vietnamese
Author making fresh rice paper for rice papers rolls.
Vietnam's most popular dish. Pho.
Gluten free noodles
Fresh noodles in market in Hoi An, Vietnam

Gluten free Vietnamese

Did you know that the Quan 55 menu is full of gluten free options? And in the author’s opinion the best dish on the menu is the Grilled NZ mussels. The mussels are grilled with shallots and a butter sauce and topped with peanuts. I am sure if you have a nut allergy the peanuts can be left off but they do add a delightful crunch to the dish. Of the eight small plates on the Quan menu four are gluten free. These include the popular rice paper roll with prawn and pork,  and the grilled stuffed squid.

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More tasty gluten free options

The gluten free options continue in the medium plates with three of the six options being gluten free. The shredded chicken salad is a fresh and tasty salad full of flavour with mints and cabbage, it is served with the traditional Vietnamese dressing Nuoc mam. Don’t be look over by the sweet and sour chicken, this is not your old school Chinese sweet and sour dish , this dish is full of subtle flavours and is not drowning in a sweet sauce that you usually associate with this dish. 

Even more gluten free Vietnamese food

Everything on the large plates menu is gluten free. Yes everything.  There are 14 delicious dishes that the gluten intolerant can enjoy knowing there will be no nasty after effects. Work your way through the menu starting with the superbly flavoursome beef noodle soup (pho). The sea barramundi in pepper sauce is a crowd favourite the barramundi filets are simmered in a pepper caramelized sauce that is just amazing. Then move onto the ginger prawns, sizzling chicken and the rice noodles with tofu. 

Growing fresh food in vietnam
Most vietnamese food is gluten free

So much of Vietnamese food is just fresh vegetables and herbs such as lemongrass, ginger, cinnamon and chili. Lime is used widely, as is fish sauce. And rice is a staple in the Vietnamese kitchen. All this makes it very easy to enjoy a gluten free Vietnamese meal at Quan55

These Gluten Free Menu Items Are Available (accurate at the time of writing, check menu for updates)

The menu has GF next to the gluten-free items so you shouldn’t have too much trouble sorting out which items you can eat. Some items can be presented gluten-free if you ask. For instance, the rare beef salad is not marked GF but can be if you avoid the crackers that it is served with. It’s even a good idea to check with the staff on the night. The crackers may or may not be gluten-free, depending on who the supplier was. The restaurant has to err on the side of caution when labelling the menu but you might find that the current batch of crackers are okay.

My husband has also eaten the soft shell crabs without any complaints. We checked with the kitchen on the night and found they were covered in cornflour prior to frying. So no issues there. If you’re fully coeliac you might need to check what else was fried in that oil. These are our observations only and not recommendations.

As a side note, the spring rolls are almost always gluten-free in Vietnam but rarely are in Australia. In Vietnam, they are made with rice papers (especially in the north). The fresh papers they have there fry up quite nicely. In Australia, they have adapted to local ingredients and are almost always made with wheat-based pastry. 

Below are a list of menu items that are considered gluten-free.

Shredded Chicken Salad (GF)
Chicken mixed with red & white cabbage, mints, traditional dressing & served with prawn crackers (Not GF)
Sizzling Chili Chicken with Lemon Grass & Vegetables (GF)
Beef or Chicken stir fried with chili; lemon grass & seasonal vegetables served on a sizzling plate.
Marinated Chicken/Beef/Tofu Noodle & Spring Roll Noodle Bowl – Peanuts (GF)
Chicken/Beef/Tofu stir fried with lemongrass, served with mints, cucumber, beansprouts, pickled vegetables & spring roll.
Grilled Large Sea Scallops with Roe (2) – Peanuts (GF)
Sea scallops grilled with shallots butter sauce, topped with peanuts.
Grilled NZ Mussel (6) – Peanuts (GF)
Mussel grilled with shallots butter sauce, topped with peanuts.
Crispy Prawn & Pork Crepes
Crepe made from rice flour with prawns, pork, beansprout, onion served with Vietnamese mints & lettuce to wrap.
Fried Rice (GF)
Vegetarian or chicken fried rice.
North Vietnamese Sweet & Sour Chicken (GF)
Chicken pieces tossed with sweet & sour sauce.
Beef Noodle Soup – Pho (GF)
The famous Vietnamese pho served with beef brisket, beef balls, slices of rare beef & garnished with beansprouts, red onion & basil.
Clay Pot Prawns (GF)
Whole large prawns cooked in a caramelized fish sauce, garnished with shallot & chili.
Sea Barramundi Fillets in Pepper Sauce (GF)
Fillets slowly simmered in a pepper caramelized fish sauce, garnished with shallot & Chili.
Chicken with Chili & Lemon grass (GF)
Chicken cooked in a master stock then with grilled, served with chili & lemongrass sauce.
Sizzling Chili Beef with Lemon Grass & Vegetables (GF)
Beef or Chicken stir fried with chili; lemon grass & seasonal vegetables served on a sizzling plate.
Sizzling Chicken & Ginger (GF)
Whole pieces of chicken stir fried with ginger & seasonal vegetables then served on sizzling plate.
Pork Belly & Eggs (GF)
Slow cooked pork belly & egg in coconut juice & fish sauce.
Beef Stew (GF)
Beef shin slowed cooked in a special spice broth with carrots & potatoes.
Chicken Curry & Taro (GF)
Chicken pieces cooked in curry spices, lemon grass, coconut cream, taro & carrots.
Ginger Prawns (GF)
Large Prawns in a light batter, seasoned then tossed with ginger, garlic, onion & shallot.
Rice Noodles with Tofu – Vegetarian (GF)
Rice noodles served with tofu, cucumber, bean sprouts, mints & soy sauce dressing.
Vegetable Stir Fry & Tofu – Vegetarian (GF)
Seasonal vegetables stir fried with tofu served on sizzling plate.
Steamed Vegetables (GF)
Salad Mix (GF)
Pickled Daikon & Carrots (GF)
Bowl of Rice/Noodles (GF)
Grilled Stuffed Squid(GF)
Whole squid stuffed with pork mince, glass noodles, capsicum, shallots garnished with Vietnamese mints.
Rice Paper Rolls (2) (GF)
Prawn, pork, cucumber, mints & vermicelli noodles wrapped in rice paper.
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