Category: Restaurant Reviews

Gluten-Free in Vietnam! Hum $$ 18/20

I just came back from a short trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam where, overall, I thought I survived pretty well!

The gluten free dining card came in handy, although, to be honest, there are really two major things to watch out for: 1. sauces (mostly soy sauce), and 2. MSG (bot ngot). Most all noodles are rice noodles (so little cross contamination fear) and few other things offend. One needs to be super careful about the two items just mentioned though, as they are ubiquitous. I couldn’t find a pho I could eat because of the MSG that was used to make the stock (almost all of them mix it in). (P.S. But I did find a pho shop in Hong Kong that didn’t and that was amazingly good–in another post!)

Papaya and mango salads were usually fine from any restaurant or street vendor (with street vendors, you have the added benefit of watching them prepare food and looking at the labels of the vinegars they use). Also fried rice or noodles with just salt, veggies, and meat were safe. Just tell them twice over to clean out the pan and use fresh oil. The fresh fruit juices are a life saver when you don’t feel in the mood of hassling someone who barely understands English about the requirements of GF food (a tip: ask for sugar free or they will dump in tons of sugar!).

2012-06-14 15.16.42 2012-06-14 15.16.49 2012-06-14 15.12.36

One place that astounded was a vegetarian place simply called “…hum.” Beautifully decorated with floating Buddhas and coconuts and explicitly aspiring to health- and earth-conscious eating, “…hum”‘s food was exquisite.

The crystal salad (a variation of the papaya salad but made with aloe vera) was amazing, the mushroom rice was simple and energizing, the teas and juices most excellent, and the sticky rice with mango (for dessert) was out of this world. I could tell that they had *just* squeezed the coconut milk and made the organic rice.

2012-06-15 18.26.44 2012-06-15 18.56.05 2012-06-15 18.55.49 2012-06-15 18.26.03

Pricey for Vietnam standards but excellent fruit and vegetables used. Totally worth it.



Ho Chi Minh City




  • Allergy friendly: ****
  • Taste: *****
  • Atmosphere: Earthy, spiritual, escapist *****
  • Service: ****
  • Cost: $$ Dishes range from RM20 to RM30 (expensive for Vietnam)



Cantaloupe @ Troika $$$$ 17/20

Troika Sky Dining is slick and modern, incorporating Canteloupe (French influenced), Strato (Italian) and Claret (wine and cocktail bar). Overlooking the KLCC park, with floor to ceiling glass, the views are amazing. Having chatted to the chef briefly, one night over many martinis, I was looking forward to trying out their food. We went as a large party and had decided on a degustation. The chef had to cater for ten, including one vegetarian and me, the celiac.

When we sat down at the table, it was clear that the staff were well prepped. A waiter spoke to me right away, explaining that they understood that I was strictly gluten free and asking if there were any other special considerations to take in to account. After reemphasizing the dangers of cross-contamination, sauces made with gluten-containing ingredients and deciding on the number of courses, it was pretty much a case of enjoying the food, wine and the company.


I particularly enjoyed the seared scallops and a foie gras dish. I noticed that where I had a dish with similar elements to the non-gluten free, that it arrived as a different course, so the chef was definitely on board with watching for cross-contamination.


Dinner was delicious and while pricey, it is definitely somewhere I would eat at again. Call at least the day before to let the chefs know that you need gluten-free. They said they would be happy to arrange GF pasta in the Italian restaurant as well.

Level 23A, Tower B, The Troika
19 Persiaran KLCC
50450 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2162 0886
Open Daily for lunch and dinner.

  • Allergy friendly: *****
  • Taste: ****
  • Atmosphere: Fine dining, modern architecture and a view. ****
  • Service: ****
  • Cost: $$$$ Mains range between $68 and $250