You need to be extra vigilant whenever you’re visiting a restaurant. This is because the staff that attends your requirement and the chef that prepares your food can be a varied bunch. Sometimes, even the best of explanations and gluten-free cards may not be of much use in these cases.
On one occasion I had requested for a simple plain side salad without any dressing. However, what I saw on my table a good few minutes later was the food along with a topping of crispy croutons! After I made this known to the waiter, he apologized and promised me a new one, only to find the same salad without crispy croutons this time! It was only after I explained to him in detail that he realized the mistake and prepared the salad exactly the way I wanted.
Giving tips to waiters generously or talking to the restaurant chef well before you visit the place can sometimes help you a lot. One of my favorite restaurants in Scotland never fails to serve me gluten-free items for each course. Just imagine some of these choices before you – lemon parfait, berry Pavlova, or chocolate roulade!
Options for Coeliac / Celiacs for gluten-free hostelling and backpacking experiences
It doesn’t matter the country you’re visiting, just make sure to carry along a cool bag or box with you. From my own experience, I can tell you that the inconvenience caused by extra luggage will not matter much to you as compared to the delight of savoring healthy and gluten-free foods. Thankfully, most hostels and backpacker type accommodations have freezers in which you can keep ice-pack for a day.
Almost every country in this world has a Celiac Society that you can consider visiting to collect more information about the places to eat gluten-free foods and precautions you need to take and so on. Maybe, they can provide you a list of safe restaurants or specialist suppliers that can be of help during your stay in the country.
If you’re lucky the Celiac Society you visit could provide you a list of gluten-free items that you can find in supermarkets of the country you’re visiting. However, do not base your opinions looking only at the ingredients listed on the products as different countries have a different set of rules and regulations surrounding gluten-free items.
I have had a bad experience and felt sick after failing to read the list of ingredients properly. It was only after I contacted the customer care of the product did I come to know that it contained 2% wheat flour, which they didn’t mention in the list of ingredients on the product cover.
Sometimes, it helps to behave like a squirrel (not referring to the one that climbs the tree!) in a foreign country. Always make sure to stock up important dry items wherever you go as they can come in handy when you’re hungry. While some countries score better in the availability and price factor of gluten-free foods, others require you to do more research and come up with suitable plans for eating gluten-free foods!