I always used to worry about what I would order for dinner just in my home country let alone when it came to gluten free dinning abroad!
But over the years of travelling to and from country to country, ordering out or eating at restaurants every single day, I have become accustomed to gluten free dining abroad.
And I can remember how in the beginning, I was always so worried about not being able to find something gluten free to eat. Or, how to communicate with the wait staff in some foreign country, that I can’t eat their beloved famous pizza or croissant, because it contains gluten.
Gluten Free Travel Is Easier Than You’d Expect
But alas, I have endured and am still fit and healthy to not only share the tale, but to also give you a heads up on the tips and tricks I have learnt when it comes to gluten free dining abroad.
Know what you can and can’t eat
Before you go somewhere abroad you should always do a little research on what types of foods are available in the country or countries you are travelling to. For example, if you are going to France, realize that they love bread, which on a gluten free diet you can’t enjoy. But you will find places that do serve Gluten Free options. So take it in your stride to hunt down a few places that can cater to you.
Choose what you know
If for some reason you are unable to research places to eat, for example a lot of places in Asia you can’t do that, so you have to be confident and go with what you know. What I mean by that is, if you are partaking in gluten free dining abroad, don’t order something that is deep fried, or something like a sandwich or a pizza. Because you know you can’t have that, so go for something with rice, vegetables and meat as a safer option. It also helps to ask questions about what is in the food, which brings us to our next gluten free dining aboard tip.
Learn some of the language
Yup, that’s right, learn some language. Don’t get me wrong here, I am not asking you to take 6 months of Spanish, French and Italian to get up to scratch before you go travelling. Instead, all you need to do is learn a few Gluten Free phrases in different languages so you can make it easier on yourself to find gluten free food abroad, like “Is there wheat in this meal”. Not only that, but it’s always polite to speak the native tongue of the country you are visiting, even if it is just a few words. It’s a lot more refreshing to the locals as they can see you are at least trying, unlike most obnoxious tourists on holiday.
Inform wait staff and ask questions
So, assuming you now know a few Gluten Free phrases, or, should the restaurant wait staff speak English, ask them about the meals and whether or not they have a gluten free option. If not ask them if there is wheat in a meal you would like to try. Again, use your common sense and don’t try to order a gluten free baguette. Instead if you get stuck, go for maybe a steak burger/sandwich without the bread. Or again a rice dish, something with just meat or vegetables. Something that you know is gluten free.
Be confident and learn
Last but not least is that you need to be confident and you will find something gluten free. I used to be horrible at this and sat down at restaurants, looked at the menu and became pessimistic with the options available. You can’t do this, you need to make things work, which means knowing you can alter a meal or change ingredients to suit your gluten intolerance. You need to be confident you can talk to the waiters or chef about what you can and can’t eat and work something out with them. Not every place in the world will cater to you, which is a great learning curve. But you do need to realise, they will cater to you if you ask and suggest things.
So there you have it, 5 gluten free dining abroad tips that will get you through those travel nerves and allow you to relax and enjoy your time away. Rather than stress out because you may not be able to find anything gluten free to eat. Which couldn’t always be further from the truth, and I of all people know that more than anybody.