We are a nomadic coeliac mother and daughter doing our best to live gluten-free. Being newly diagnosed as gluten intolerant or coeliac can be a little bewildering and understanding what to eat if you want to avoid gluten can be tricky at first, but eating well either at home or in restaurants is entirely possible as long as you know what to look out for. Although we have seen a more widespread consciousness of gluten intolerance over the past decade, and better labelling of products, it is still challenging to understand the full range of foods that are safe to eat. Even minimally processed foods such as nuts and dried fruits – which we initially assumed would be gluten free – can be contaminated during their handling.
Soon we found it necessary to assume nothing; to check every packet, tin and bottle we use, scouring labels in supermarket aisles and contacting manufacturers when in doubt. Having spent the time to do this, we thought that sharing some of what we know could help others in a similar position. Also in the hope that it might help anyone starting out on this journey, we have added a section with commonly asked questions and another suggesting alternatives that can be substituted in favourite recipes.
Travelling presents particular challenges. Knowing that this is one of the ‘crunch points’ that can affect the enjoyment of a holiday we have gathered together reviews of supermarkets, independent shops, restaurants and cafés in Hong Kong and Singapore as well as reviewing airlines. Such reviews are a series of snapshots, and present our personal opinions on our experience on a particular day. Typically establishments are unaware that their restaurants are being reviewed and no free food has ever been exchanged for the writing of any of them which enables all our reviews to be entirely independent and unbiased.
To our surprise, we found that the best restaurants to eat g-f both in Hong Kong and Singapore are not necessarily those who trumpet themselves as specialists in this area. Rather that accolade went to those who care passionately about the quality of the food they serve. Happily, these are the restaurants you would want to visit even if you didn’t need to avoid gluten. As they know the provenance of all of their ingredients, and care about what they serve, these establishments take dealing with food intolerances entirely in their stride. Best of all, they allow those on restricted diets to eat good food fuss-free.