Gluten Free Travel

Gluten Free Bali

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Bali was one of our stopping points during our honeymoon and we spent time in Seminyak and Ubud. There are a tonne of free from options to be discovered in these towns, with lots of menus marked up with gluten free dishes. However, I actually found Bali to be more challenging as a coeliac than anywhere else in Indonesia. Many places have a very loose application of gluten free standards, with cross-contamination being rife. Don’t get me wrong, it is super easy to be gluten free here, you should just never rely on a “gluten free” menu to be fully accurate and always ask questions about what is safe for coeliacs/choose sensibly if there is a language barrier (i.e. avoid the deep fried options and any mysterious sauces). Don’t let yourself be lulled into a false sense of security by gluten free claims.

Seminyak

Seminyak is a firm favourite on the tourist trail and is full of fancy beach clubs, hip restaurants and poolside cocktail bars. If you like your beach holiday with a large dose of glitz and glamour, then Seminyak is the place for you. We spent a few days here and ate A LOT of good gluten free food!

Restaurants and beach clubs with gluten free options

Mama San Restaurant – Mama San in Seminyak is one of the current culinary hotspots and conveniently they have a gluten free menu. If you are coeliac, please let them know as they have a specific person in the kitchen who cooks for people with serious allergies and intolerances. You may need to speak to the manager to get your dietary requirements across, as the allergy card I gave them sent them into panic mode! After some major back and forth, we shared starters of salt and pepper squid and fishcakes to start – both very tasty, followed by some wonderful curries for our main course.

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Petitenget – I had a brilliant gluten free brunch at Petitenget and it is a lovely chilled spot with beautiful tiled floors. My dreamy brunch was gluten free bread topped with avocado, spinach, poached eggs, chilli flakes, ricotta, parmesan shavings – what’s not to love about that. Note, if you are coeliac like me then ask them to heat your bread in the oven rather than the toaster, as the latter is used for gluten bread too.

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Monsieur Spoon – this French bakery offers a sizeable range of gluten free cakes and desserts, with around six different gluten free varieties in each branch we visited. A top pick for me was this amazing gluten free raspberry and almond tart from the Monsieur Spoon in Seminyak – seriously delicious with an excellent gluten free pastry crust. You will find branches in Seminyak and Ubud and the gluten free cakes are stored away from the gluteny cakes.

Pitaya Self Serve – when it’s hot outside, hit the froyo. Pitaya are very good for free from choices, with their chocolate, natural and mango froyo all being gluten free. There is also a dairy free option available too. Fill your cup, select your toppings and you’re away.

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Potato Head – legendary beach club Potato Head is one of the best places in Bali for people watching, while you lounge by their beachside infinity pool. While you are there, be sure to try their wagu beef burger with gluten free bun – delicious! The bun wasn’t listed on the menu but thanks to a helpful tip from a fellow coeliac I knew to ask the staff and they dutifully provided a gluten free bun.

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The W Hotel – Woobar – the menu here is marked up with gluten free choices and this is a great choices for daytime sunbathing, sunset cocktails or partying late into the night.

The W Hotel – Starfish Bloo and other restaurants – not tried and tested, but all the other W Hotel restaurant menus are also marked up with their gluten free choices.

Sea Circus – a buzzing casual dining spot, with plenty of gluten free options on the menu (marked). I ended up having two main course (I was REALLY hungry) so I could try some of the options. Their goodness bowl, complete with gluten free bread on the side, was filled with lots of good fresh stuff but is still substantial enough to fill you up. Then let’s not forget the epic gluten free fish tacos (on gluten free corn tacos), plus they have gluten free brownies.

Kasava Resto & Bar – attached to the hotel we stayed at was this lovely little spot. I enjoyed my daily omelette with bacon and a watermelon juice on the side. Nothing to go out of your way for, but if you are passing they do a good job of catering for gluten free.

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Ginger Moon – lots of gluten free options and a marked up menu, although we didn’t get a chance to eat her so I can’t personally vouch for their coeliac friendly credentials.

Earth Cafe – another place we spotted with gluten free items on the menu, but we didn’t try it for ourselves. More than half of the items on the menu were gluten free. Vegetarian and organic cafe. Gluten free pizzas.

Local products

Caramel popcorn with cashews from East Bali Cashews. Super tasty. Purchased in Seminyak in the minimart. They have quite a range of gluten free products and all the ones we tried were really tasty. Plus it’s made in Bali and supports local farmers and community projects, so what’s not to love.

Albens apple cider – a gluten free alternative to beer while you are on Bali. It is locally made so doesn’t get hit by the huge alcohol taxes levied of imported wines and spirits.

Ubud

Ubud isn’t as Eat Pray Love as it used to be, but it is still a great place to base yourselves in while you explore the surrounding countryside and volcanos (I highly recommend the Mount Batu bicycle trip, cycling down through the rice terraces). There are some wonderful hotels with stunning pools overlooking the jungle.

Restaurants and hotels with gluten free options in Ubud

Komaneka Tanggeyuda – we treated ourselves to a private villa at this Komaneka hotel and we arrived to a personalised gluten free room service menu and jar of gluten free cookies. Breakfast here was always great, eating freshly baked gluten free plantain bread overlooking the jungle. We sampled their lunch menu too, including a  gluten free version of sate chicken, plus a chicken and manago salad. Excellent hospitality.

Monsieur Spoon – see above!

Atman Kafé – tonnes of gluten free and vegan choices at this Ubud café, with gluten free options marked on the menu. It is easy to eat gluten free here, just take care if you are coeliac and avoid choices that would be likely to be cross-cointanimated (pizza, deep fried items, toasted bread, etc). We tried their nachos, beetroot fritters and naked samosas (coeliac friendly as they are shallow fried in a pan).

Watercress – I had a good experience here, however I recently read another review from someone saying they got glutened, so definitely make sure you bring your coeliac card. We had really good food at Watercress in Ubud and loved our meal at Watercress. The gluten free options are clearly marked on their menu, they offer gluten free bread and they also do fab cocktails are fab here – lychee martinis and pina coladas sampled and fully approved.

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Padang Bai

Time to kill waiting for the boat to the Gili Islands? Fear not, you can grab a quick bite while you wait!

The Colonial Restaurant – we found time for a quick pitstop in Padang Bai for some lunch. Watermelon juice with vegetarian summer rolls – just ask for no soy sauce in the dipping sauce.

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Other useful gluten free Bali links (note I have not personally tried any of the below, so cannot confirm that they are suitable places for coeliacs to eat):

General Bali

Gluten Free Tilly’s Guide to Bali – top tips from lovely coeliac Tilly!

Gluten Free Food Safari – this company will take you on a grand tour of some safe gluten free eateries, sounds good!

Seminyak

Gluten Free Guide to Seminyak – additional gluten free recommendations for Seminyak are Shelter Café and Nalu Bowls, Café Organic, Alchemy, Bali Buda Café, ShiBoo Organic Superfood Café and Biku.

Grain, Seminyak – this restaurant has a gluten free menu and I have seen tripadvisor reviews from coeliacs saying they had a good experience.

Bambu, Seminyak – this restaurant states on TA it is able to cater for gluten free diets and a user on TA said they had a good gluten free meal at Bambu.

Wacko Burger Café, Seminyak – what a name…they offer gluten free burger buns on their website.

Sisterfields, Seminyak – we passed this spot a few times but didn’t get a chance to eat there. Cool little café with apparently a number of gluten free options on the menu.

Ubud

Ubud Gluten Free Kitchen – looks like they have lots of gluten free foods available at their Warung Schnitzel restaurant.

The Elephant, Ubud – gluten free options available and recommended by a couple of TA writers. Plus their talk about having lots of gluten free options on their website.

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