Welcome to the final instalment of this trilogy of posts, dedicated to talking about my own experiences of eating gluten free food around the world. Part One featured New Zealand, Australia and Bali. Part Two was on Java, Central Malaysia, Borneo, Cambodia and Vietnam. And now today it’s the turn for Lao, Thailand and Sri Lanka. As always, I will list a typical day’s meals from the country below the summary.
We were warned by a fellow traveller that people in Lao like to take their time when it comes to preparation of food, and she wasn’t wrong. It once took over forty minutes to get two plates of fried rice. But as tourism slowly grows in Lao, so does their understanding of customer service and restaurant etiquette. One evening, we enjoyed a stunning three course meal to sample some of lao’s traditional dishes, such as chicken wrapped in bamboo, dried buffalo meat and sweet, purple sticky rice. But for the most part, we were eating the cheap dishes that are similar all around South East Asia.
Breakfast: Omelette and fresh fruit.
Lunch: Fresh Spring rolls or chips.
Dinner: Jacket potato or fried rice.
The best thing about the busy cities in Thailand is the ease of which you can get familiar, western food. I had gluten free blueberry pancakes in Chang Mai, quinoa salads in Bangkok, cosmopolitans on Koh Tao. This was good for us, as neither of us like Thai food. The combination of chilli and coconut in their curries didn’t appeal, and I was excluded from other more traditional dishes due to my intolerance. I still think we managed to eat well in Thailand due to the famous Thai hospitality and the well established import business. I must quickly mention the smoothie sellers in Thailand, particularly on the islands, are very good. Just ice, your chosen fruit and a dash of coconut sugar, blitzed together in a high speed blender to make the most delicious, refreshing drink. My favourite combination was banana and coconut.
Breakfast: Banana porridge, or coconut milk porridge with tropical fruit.
Lunch: Fried spring rolls or fried rice, the usual suspects!
Dinner: Sweet and sour vegetables with rice.
The food in Sri Lanka was so good, I’m still craving it now, a full two weeks since we left. Colombo is not the place to go to get good grub, or at least we couldn’t find it. But as we gradually settled into our tour of the country, we discovered the wonderful rice and curry was predominantly served at lunch time, and we would have to rely more on our guest houses to supply our evening meals. It was an arrangement that we soon became accustomed to, as the cooking was excellent and always generously served. Particular places, like Ella for example, are more used to tourists and will serve curry and rice in the evenings, but this is not the norm. If curry is your favourite meal, you will fall in love with the spice blend, balance of flavour and amount of variety involved in Sri Lankan cooking.
Breakfast: String hoppers (rice noodle cakes) with dahl and coconut sambal.
Lunch: Rice, with aubergine, potato and green bean curries, with lentil dahl and poppadoms.
Dinner: Rice, with okra, beetroot and pumpkin curries, with on the bone chicken curry, lentil dahl and poppadoms.
Thus concludes my foodie tour of the world, or at least part of it! I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts, and if you are planning a holiday to any of the destinations, please feel free to message me for more info and I will try my best to be useful.