Nima Sensor Tests
We have been fortunate to acquire a Nima Sensor from the United States and have been busy testing food in Singapore. Here are a few of the items we have tested.
Please note that we recommend and test dishes that we believe to be potentially safe. Recipes, ingredients and preparation vary from place to place and can change over time. It is the the consumer’s responsibility to inquire about ingredients, preparation techniques, be aware of potential cross contamination sources and just good judgment and common sense when ordering food.
Hawker Center Food
Based on traditional recipes, Laksa should be gluten-free. But should is never good enough of an answer. We visited 363 Katong Laksa on Lorong Lipit in Holland Village and tested their laksa. We did not ask about ingredients nor request a gluten-free meal. We could see from the menu that the only noodles offered were rice noodles. When ordering we omitted the fish cake from the dish and did not add the samba sauce from the container on the table. In the testing capsule, we were sure to include a small piece of noodle as well as a good sample of broth. All good and we enjoyed our meal!
Please do not assume that all laksa is gluten-free. If the stall/restaurant has a different recipe or adds egg noodles, then the dish may contain gluten.
Farrer Road Chicken Rice
Farrer Road Chicken Rice (#01-98), Empress Market on Farrer Road
Hainanese Chicken Rice is often called Singapore’s National dish. Chicken is poached and then quickly chilled. Ginger, garlic and pandan leaves are added to the stock and it is used to cook the rice. Often there is a pale brown sauce spooned over the dish. We always request no sauce when we order. Accompaniments include fresh cucumbers, chili/garlic sauce and freshly minced ginger.
- Request the white boiled chicken. The brown roasted chicken may either be basted in honey or a dark soya sauce.
- Avoid the roasted chicken if you are not sure of the ingredients.
- Leave off the dark soya sauce as an accompaniment.
We have always made the assumption that rice porridge was inherently gluten-free. Many times we have asked the vendor at my favorite stall if there was any wheat in the recipe. He consistently told us that yes, they do add a little wheat flour to the mix. We didn’t totally believe him until we finally tested a batch. This portion also came with fried onions sprinkled on the top which we mixed into the soup.
Perhaps other porridges are gluten-free, but this one was not.
Thunder Tea Rice
Thunder Tea Rice is a Hakka Dish with a twist of local Singapore flavor. Ingredients include mustard leaves, Chinese spinach, long beans, cabbage, ikan bilis, bean curd, brown rice and roasted peanuts. The sauce served with it is typically made from roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, basil leaves, Chinese tea leaves and vegetable stock.
Before testing, we mixed the broth with the other ingredients and let sit for a few minutes. The Nima Sensor gave us a thumbs up for this dish. It is an excellent addition to a detox diet or a healthy lunch.
Notes: The stall we went to is located in La Pau Sat. We did not get the floss on the dish.
Vietnamese Pho is a noodle soup traditionally made with broth, fresh herbs, rice noodles, and meat. Ingredients typically include onion, ginger, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, cloves, fish sauce, fresh mint and/or thai basil.
Hoisin sauce was available at the stall, but not added to the dish that was tested. This sample got the thumbs up from the Nima Sensor. No sauces were added
- Location: Food Opera at Shaw.
- Specific order: Beef Pho. No extra sauce was added.
- Notes: Beware of stalls that also offer ramen noodles as an option. They are usually cooked in the same water as the rice noodles.
Biryani chicken has the potential to be gluten-free, but not all are safe. This version contained small amounts of gluten. We did not specify gluten-free nor inquire about ingredients on this test. The main ingredients typically include chcken, rice, ghee, onion, ginger, garlic, a variety of pices, pandan leaf, evaporated milk, tomato, corriander, oil and chili.
We ordered chicken biryani at a hawker center. It was late in the lunch hour and we suspect that the stall had run out of the traditional chicken in curry sauce and a different dryer chicken was placed on top of the rice. We tested a little bit of each item together in the Nima. This particularly stall also served roti prata so the potential for cross contamination is high.
We will test additional Biryanis in the future.
Buffalo Hot Wings
Buffalo hot wings are a bar favorite. Decker BBQ in Robertson Quay has a dedicated gluten-free fryer for their wings andfrench fries. We tested the chicken with some sauce and it looks safe. A blue cheese dip comes on the side which we did not test.
Notes: Be sure to let them know you are gluten-free and request that they change gloves and do not add any bread slices to the tray.
Japanese Hot Pot
A tower of beef and pork slices resting on a bed of vegetables with pork bone soup base. This looked like a great option on the menu, but when we tested the broth it was not gluten-free. The Nima Sensor does not detect soy sauce well so we suspect there was either an ingredient in the soup base that contained gluten or the possibly of cross contamination from wheat pasta in the kitchen.
We did not specifically ask about ingredients or ask for gluten-free.
Nasi Ulam Istimewa
Nasi Ulam Istimewa is the most amazing rice dish we have ever tried. Served room temperature, it is a spectacular dish of rice with raw herbs, vegetables, minced fish and salted fish.
We tried this at The Peranakan Restaurant at Claymore Connect on Claymore Road. We did not specifically request gluten-free. We are looking forward to going back and exploring more of the Peranakan specialties.
A great rendang is a work of art. We do not always have time to prepare the dish from scratch and a good packet of sauce can help deduct the work. Brahim’s Kuah Rendang Sauce tested gluten-free in the Nima Sensor. The packaging does not specify gluten-free, but there are no gluten containing ingredients listed on the label We purchased this packet in the grocery section at Mustafa.
Little things can sneak into foods that are usually safe. In this instance, a brand change in one ingredient adds a detectable level of gluten to the BBQ sauce. Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce is labeled gluten-free in the USA, but the UK version contains barley malt. Be sure to check ingredients carefully!