Gluten Free Asia – Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Japan

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After receiving numerous requests about traveling gluten free to Asia, I’d like to share some suggestions that have helped fellow travelers feel safe eating gluten free, dairy free and even vegan while experiencing Asia.

Now find restaurants and food ideas when traveling to Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, China, Japan, Bali, Cambodia and more.

A recent article in Timeout Hong Kong featured a few restaurant suggestions for gluten free meals too! Another article from Myanmar Times features healthy gluten free and vegan options in Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia and Bali.

Another excellent source for gluten free eating in Japan is this Ctrl Alt Eat Blog post which details a number of choices while traveling throughout Japan.

I would also highly recommend carrying gluten free chef translation cards with you at all times to assist in communicating your dietary needs. Out of the various gluten free dining cards we offer, we have a gluten free card in Korean compliments of Seoulist Magazine.

For other Asian languages, check out these company links that provide cards in Chinese, Japanese and more for free or purchase. I would make extra copies of the translation cards because a lot of time chefs and restaurants want to keep your copy for future gluten free customers.

As an fyi, Seoulist Magazine is a Seoul South Korea-based company who published an excellent guide to gluten free traveling in Korea including traditional gluten free foods as well as those dishes which contain gluten which I highly recommend!

Since a lot of Asian dishes are prepared using soy sauce, bring individual packets of gluten free soy sauce available from vendors such as San-J in the US. Some people like to bring multiple bottles of gluten free soy sauce too – your preference!

In addition, remember that most major cities in Asia offer a very wide range of ethnic restaurants without gluten free menus. Based on this, I recommend that you understand the ingredients, food preparation and precise questions to ask to make sure your ethnic meals are safe while traveling in Asia or around the world as detailed in our Let’s Eat Out series.

Share with us your experiences while traveling gluten free throughout Asia!

by Kim Koeller in Asia, Explore & Eat Leave a comment

Avoid Cross Contact in Gluten Free Restaurant Meals

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Tips for Food Service 2One question that I frequently receive while presenting at conferences is how to ensure that there is no cross contact with foods that contain gluten and other allergens. I’d like to share with you a few  thoughts and questions that you can ask restaurant staff while ordering your meals. These help to ensure that cross contact mistakes are not made and that your meals will be safe for you to eat.

Cross-contact occurs in two primary instances. First, when the menu item is prepared in the same frying oil or boiling water as other foods containing common allergens. And second, when microbes or food particles are transferred from one food to another by using the same knife, cutting board, pots, pans or other utensils without washing the surfaces or tools in between uses. Read more

by Kim Koeller in Expert Tips, Explore & Eat, Plan, Shop & Cook Leave a comment

Gluten Free and Allergy Airport Food Tips

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airport tipsAt the airport and want to buy some quick gluten free and allergy friendly snacks for the flight or looking for a gluten free meal? Well, thankfully now, airports around the world are beginning to offer healthy, gluten free and allergy friendly snacks to travelers at food stands, quick service carry-outs and markets.

One of my favorites is Cibo Express Gourmet Markets which can be found at major airports across the US and Canada.

CiboAt Cibo, you can typically find an assortment of naturally gluten-free and allergy free foods including certified kosher foods. This quick service carry-out establishment is filled with healthy foods such as fresh fruit, freshly cut vegetables, hard-boiled eggs and salads. They are also now carrying gluten free and allergy free treats such as brownies, cookies and candy as well.

Woman checking food labellingWhile there are many allergy-friendly options available at Cibo Express and similar markets around the US and the world like Boots at the London Heathrow International Airport, you still need to be sure to read all the product labels of items you are interested in before making your purchase.

Also we are now seeing more and more fresh food stands offering gluten free items for sale. I will always remember how absolutely thrilled I was when I found gluten free and dairy free muffins at the food stand in the 3-gate terminal in Rotorua New Zealand. It just made my day!!

Also I love stopping by the Giraffe Restaurant in London’s Heathrow Terminal 1 and 5 as well as throughout the UK with their very clearly marked gluten free menus.

That being said, I always, always pack snacks with me before heading to the airport just in case I am not able to find any safe gluten free and allergy free snacks or if I don’t want to take the time trying to find something that I can eat.

ChipotleAnother favorite go-to eatery is Chipotle Mexican Grill for a number of reasons from an allergen perspective:

  • It is easy to navigate for a gluten free option. My favorite is the burrito bowl.
  • The only ingredients that contain dairy are the cheese and sour cream.
  • They do not use eggs, mustard, sesame, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts or any other kind of nuts in their food.
  • Servers are willing to change their gloves when requested to avoid possible cross contact.

If I can’t find a Cibo Express or Chipotle in the airport, then I use the iCanEat Fast Food Apple app to help me find allergy-free menu options from one of the other 35-plus U.S. fast food and quick service chains that are commonly located in airports.

36 Fast Food Icons Jan 14 smaller

Let me know some of your favorite places to eat and buy snacks in airports!

by Kim Koeller in Expert Tips, Explore & Eat, North America, Plan, Shop & Cook, Uncategorized Leave a comment

Gluten Free Travel in Spain – Sin Gluten

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Travel Gluten Free in Spain

GF Spain 1When thinking about traveling to Spain gluten free and allergy free, I immediately smile as I fondly remember exploring the food and culture across this country numerous times.

I found many safe and delicious restaurant dishes both in restaurants offering gluten free menus recommended by FACE – Federación de Asociaciones de Celíacos de España as well as in ethnic restaurants using my iEatOut Apple app and gluten free dining cards.

GF Spain 2In addition, I discovered ‘jamon Iberico’ which is very delicious cured ham from the Iberian Peninsula and highly recommended! Also, if you want to try authentic gazpacho, some recipes call for wheat flour while other ones do not so be sure to double check the ingredients to make sure it is safe for you to eat!

GF Spain 3Also, much to my comfort, I found the incredible grocery store chain or “supermercado – El Corte Ingles” in Madrid that had multiple aisles of gluten free and allergy friendly food products. In addition, I was surprised to even discover delicious gluten free and dairy free croissants, bread and rolls from ProCeli in Barcelona!

I hope the following tips help to ensure your safe gluten free and allergy free travel throughout Spain and remember to have a glass of tasty Rioja wine for me too!

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by Kim Koeller in Europe, Explore & Eat, Uncategorized 3 Comments

Gluten Free Beer Around the World

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I am thrilled with the growing number of gluten free beer options that are currently available around the world. Especially considering since I had the very “tough” job of being the North American representative for the world’s first gluten-free beer festival in Chesterfield, UK a few years ago! It’s great to see the wide range of gluten free beer available that now includes lagers, pils, pale ales, blond ales and amber ales from Australia, Canada, Europe and the U.S.

Taste testing the local gluten free beer during my travels is one of my top priorities – in addition to checking out the local gluten free / dairy free bakeries, food products and restaurants of course!

For more details about the specific ingredients and brewing process, visit the respective brewery websites. Here’s to enjoying gluten free beer with your friends and family while at home and during your travels anywhere across the globe! Read more

by Kim Koeller in Australia / New Zealand, Europe, Explore & Eat, North America, Products, Uncategorized Leave a comment