One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. – Virginia Woolf
I was recently lucky enough to head back home to South Africa. My first stop was Joburg. Due to the lack of car, Adam and I stayed at my mum’s flat a lot, and consequently devoured rather alarming amounts of her cooking. Chicken curry in various forms, mutton curry, biryani, chops chutney, dhal ghos…my curry-soaked heart was very happy!
Our second and final stop was in Durban, and this is where I really began to indulge in gluten-free restaurant food. In Korea, it is virtually impossible for me (especially living where I do) to eat at western restaurants because there is gluten in EVERYTHING. Pizza, pasta, sandwiches, burgers…even the salads often have bits of fried chicken in them, and really, if I wanted fried chicken, would I really want it with salad dressing?? So, I usually don’t bother. I love Korean food, so I stick with that.
However, since gluten-free eating is more prevalent in SA, I decided to go all out and eat as much as I could (my spare tyre can confirm that I did a good job there). I put together a short list of delicious gluten-free meals and where you can find them. Enjoy!
- Circus Circus: Cajun Chicken Salad
Few words can describe how much I loved this salad. It is a pile of chicken in a spicy sauce, avo, lettuce, carrots and cucumber. I asked for extra avo because, why not? This was truly tasty and flavourful, and was my favourite restaurant GF meal.
Circus Circus also offers a GF option with all their pasta dishes, at a minimal extra charge. While you can definitely tell that you are eating GF pasta, the taste of the dish is not lessened at all.
Circus Circus has a few branches around Durban, but I have always eaten it at Gateway.
2. Fresh Earth Bakery: bread, wraps, etc.
I heard about this bakery while in Joburg, but did not have time to visit it. Luckily, a health shop in Sunningdale stocks the brand, and I was able to get a loaf of white bread AND some wraps. Both were absolutely divine! The bread was so close to normal that I wanted to cry after tearing off a big chunk and wolfing it down. I also made myself toasted cheese after about eight months, and it was heavenly.
3. Tree Yoga Studio and Cafe: super smoothies, dessert, muffins
This was another recommendation from a friend. The menu is great for health food nuts, or for those who haven’t eaten a muffin in quite a few months. Tree’s menu is loaded with goodness: nut milk, super smoothies, wheatgrass shots, and a whole lot more. I, having decided to take a break from healthy eating, avoided most of the nutritious items and skipped straight to the sweet treats section. I got a chocolate muffin, and, mostly so I wouldn’t feel bad, a smoothie called Almond Strong. Both were insanely good. The muffin had a delightful crunch due to the presence of chia seeds, and it was not as dense as other GF baked goods I have eaten. The smoothie consisted of dates, spinach and almond butter, and it was so creamy! I enjoyed this place so much that I went back a second time.
Tree Yoga Studio and Cafe is located in Umhlanga.
4. Refresh Good Food Cafe – chicken breasts and baby potatoes
My mouth is watering thinking about this meal. Soft, buttery baby potatoes alongside a marinated chicken breast. Yes, please. The breast was actually the worst part of the meal, being a bit dry. The topping stole the show. A mound of butternut, avo and slowly-melting feta — can you say foodporn?? Refresh serves a variety of dishes, from sushi to sandwiches. There’s something for everyone!
You can find Refresh at La Lucia Mall, right next to (and leading into) Food Lovers Market.
5. Simply Asia – mung bean noodles
This restaurant, found countrywide, offers a gluten-free option with all their noodle dishes. You can have mung bean noodles, which are naturally gluten-free, at an additional cost (this seems to be unavoidable when choosing a GF option of anything). They are they rolled up, worm-looking translucent thingies in the pic above. Don’t worry, they taste better than they look! However, I will say that they were less flavourful than normal noodles, and I don’t know if I would shell out for them again. I’d probably just go for a rice dish instead.
Simply Asia has branches all over SA.
And there you have it! I am going to cry in a corner while I eat some nuts at school. This was not a wise blog post to write on an empty stomach.
Have you eaten anything GF recently that blew your mind? Comment below and let us know! We’re always looking for new and exciting food recommendations 🙂