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.
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.
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.
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.