Whether you’re a celiac or just intolerant to gluten, travelling can bring on a whole load of anxiety about eating the wrong foods. This especially used to be the case in Hong Kong where gluten reigns supreme and understanding of intolerances lacked. But times are changing, and in the years I have lived in Hong Kong a modern, developed gluten free scene has developed making it wonderfully easy to navigate if you know where to go! So here’s my gluten free guide to Hong Kong.
The below are places that can specifically cater for gluten intolerances but if you want to dine more adventurously then get your hotel to write down the phrase for “no gluten please” for you in Cantonese to make navigating on your own a little less scary.
Committedly Gluten Free Dining
These are my picks of Hong Kong’s top spots for restaurants and cafes that cater specifically for gluten intolerances.
On the Go/Quick lunches and dinners
If you have a sweet tooth then head here for a sinful indulgence – buckwheat flour crepes – this is what they use for their savoury options but ask in advance and they can make whatever you wish using this GF option.
One of HK’s newest contenders the main focus is on farm to table dining with as many ingredients as possible sourced locally and plenty of gluten free delights.
It looks beaten up from the outside but the owners here really know their stuff. The food is nutritious and delicious and lots of items are GF.
Specialising in quick on the go salads and wraps their food is healthy with a middle Eastern twist. Best of all, they make delicious gluten free flatbreads and sell gluten free beer so you can really indulge.
Best for a quick lunch Noodlemi serves up delicious Vietnamese food and most of the menu is gluten free. My favourite is the pho but there are plenty of other products using rice flour rather than wheat.
This new Paleo friendly restaurant has a highly acclaimed chef who serves up delightful healthy but delicious food. Come here for a more substantial meal – delicious main courses and wonderful desserts.
A modern but cute little vegetarian restaurant down in Sai Ying Pun it’s the perfect spot for a full meal or a spot of afternoon tea. I love their cakes but their main offerings hit the spot just as much. Also check out their new sister operation Prune for more casual offerings.
Just opposite Grassroots Pantry is Locofama, a trendy super cool organic restaurant, which can cater for your gluten intolerance and has a great deli next door selling take home gluten free goods.
One of Hong Kong’s original gluten free cafes it’s also vegetarian so is super healthy on every count. There is a restaurant upstairs for proper meals but also a takeaway bar downstairs with salads and cakes galore. Visit their Wan Chai location for more of a take away focus.
Nestling on a back street in the trendy Star Street area Maya Café is a vegan Mediterranean hotspot which can also rustle up some mean gluten free offerings.
As you can see by the above list, eating GF is easy enough if you are happy to eat in more casual establishments. But if you’re celebrating or if you’re visiting and want to try some different cuisines then finding reliably gluten free food in Hong Kong is going to be a bit tougher.
My advice is to stick to the main hotels and best known restaurants and let them know in advance that you require a gluten free meal. These are ones that I have successfully tried and tested….
- The Four Seasons – all restaurants can cater for you with advance warning and you can even have a fully GF afternoon tea if ordered beforehand
- Upper House – whether you’re in the bar or restaurant GF bread is always available and intolerances fully respected
- The Intercontinental – the level of detail here is great, including GF soy sauce on request in their Nobu restaurant
- The Grand Hyatt Hong Kong – as a larger hotel they definitely do need notice but all the staff in the Steakhouse when I dined there were fully informed of what I could and couldn’t eat – even alerting me to gravies I had to avoid.
- The Landmark Mandarin and Mandarin Oriental – both are well versed in dealing with intolerances
- Liberty Private Works – one of my favourite restaurants in Hong Kong – it can’t provide a GF environment but can omit the gluten in their delicious food
- Magnolia – this is a private kitchen focusing on Creole food – go in a group and go hungry and they make delightful gluten free corn bread which will have you full to bursting along with everything else on their set menu.
If you’re wanting to pick up some groceries or take home snacks then these shops are your best bet:
- Spicebox Organics
- Nature’s Blessing
- Little Giant HK
- Health Essential
- Olivers, 360, Great Food Hall
- Nature’s Village
- Just Green
So, that’s my quick summary of the best gluten free dining options in Hong Kong. Get in touch if you have any more detailed questions….