This place is one of a kind in Kuala Lumpur at the moment, but is probably at the helm of a new wave of allergy conscious restaurants. I am surprised it took me this long before finding it.
The only place in town that actually has specifically labelled gluten-free items on the menu. Food caters to a health conscious crowd who dig the dress down, New York health deli style set up. The concept is that they provide organic, raw food that will nourish your body (and city-weathered soul). Wait staff were not very well versed in the menu offerings, even though the menu itself was clear.
The food itself tastes healthy and, well, alive. My husband and I shared the beef stew. Grass fed beef tasted great–the gravy was herby but fresh–but the portion was rather skimpy. We thought the quinoa salad was great but the mayo dressing was a mismatch. The deliberate nuttiness of the salad was a nice touch.
My favorite was probably the “Living Enchilada,” a piling of lovely guacamole and other veggies on a frozen, sprouted corn-based tortilla. It was light but tasty, but a little spicy edge.
You’ll still have to remind the staff to be careful to prepare your meal in uncontaminated areas–they also prepare sandwiches using regular bread and the staff aren’t always too focused on preventing cross-contamination.
Living Food Bistro and Cafe, Menara Tan and Tan
- Allergy friendly: ****
- Taste: ****
- Atmosphere: Earthy, dress down ***
- Service: ***
- Cost: $$ Dishes range from RM15 to RM30
This is something I used to make a lot of when I was in the United States, and lo and behold, it turned out to be naturally gluten-free! There are a ton of fast-food burrito joints all over the US, and they are typically considered healthier alternatives to your regular fastfood.
Balanced, naturally gluten-free meal.
A burrito bowl is basically a burrito without the wrap. Easier to eat (no wobbly wet wraps) and easier to eat more of the good stuff.
- Beans (kidney, red, or lentils)
- Lime juice
- Coarse, raw salt (e.g. Himalayan or Celtic)
- Olive oil
- Meat (if you prefer)
The base is always rice, cooked in a rice cooker with tomatoes or other veggies if you prefer.
Make a side of beans—kidney, red, or lentils work well. Just boil the beans, adding a little salt and pepper to taste.
Then, the guacamole (my favorite part). Remove the skin and seed from an avocado. Add the juice of half a lemon or lime. Add a pinch of any raw, course salt (Celtic or Himalaya Rock are the ones we use at home—stay far away from table salt. It’s so bad for you.). Add some chopped cilantro (hard to get in KL, so you could substitute with coriander) and some small tomato cubes (say 4-5 grape tomoatoes or half a large one). A generous amount of olive oil goes into the mix as well (say 15-20 ml to start, I usually double that). Mix, making sure to mash the avocado well.
Finally, pepper stir fry. Cut up some capsicums in various colors in long, thin strips. Chop up a little onion. Stir fry with olive oil, salt and pepper. And voila! You’re done!
Add some chilli sauce if it’s too bland. You can stir fry and add some meat (beef, chicken or pork is usually used) cooked with spices (chilli, peppers, paprika powder) if you’d like to go non-vegetarian as well.
- Tomatoes–the more, the thicker the soup
- Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil
Make the guacamole as above and put on gluten-free bread, Cook down a bunch of tomatoes on your stove top—say 8-10 for two people. Just place tomatoes in a covered dish on low heat. Add a little water if tomatoes are hard and don’t cook down easily. When in a watery pulpy mess, transfer to blender. Add 3 table spoons of olive oil and a cup of parmesan cheese. Blend. Delicious.
Alternative Preparation: Guacamole with Tomato Soup