Hong Kong: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

This year I took my very first trip to Asia to visit a friend in Hong Kong. A city full to the brim with amazing Dim Sum and other traditionally glutenous treats, I was sceptical about just how well I would eat when I was there. I had heard endless reports of just how hard it is to come across safe gluten free options and so took it upon myself to research every single place I would be eating. What happened? I ended finding some amazing places and never went hungry. From Dim Sum to Venezuelan Empanadas, from crepes to epic toasties – Hong Kong really does have it all! Check out my guide for a number of options within Hong Kong itself and a bonus addition for Macao, which is just an hour’s ferry ride away and well worth a trip.

Sweetpea Cafe

tempImageForSave (8)

Officially Hong Kong’s sole 100% spot, Sweetpea Cafe really found a gap in the market. This gorgeous little cafe is hidden away in the hilly streets of Hong Kong Central and has a menu with more options than you would think from the size of the place itself. Get ready to be wowed by the impressive cake counter as soon as you walk into the shop, which offers a selection of vegan and sugar free cakes too. The sandwiches here are all delicious, and individually made to order, including a selection of toasties. However be warned, Sweetpea Cafe works on a cash only basis and prices are high as, unsurprisingly, gluten free products are hard to source in Hong Kong. I thought this was a great shame however as I would have quite happily eaten breakfast here most days had it been more affordable. Definitely a must-visit, if for nothing more than a wonderful slice of cake and a latte with homemade nut mylk! Closed on Mondays.

Where?
4 Shin Hing Street
Hong Kong Central

Fresca

tempImageForSave (2)

Another Hong Kong Central find, Fresca offers up healthy breakfast and lunch options which you can either enjoy in-store or to go. Fresca is most known for its amazing salad bar, which boasts many gluten free options that can be mixed and matched for a decent sized lunch. The cafe also offers several gluten free sweet treats however, which are widely advertised. Their steamed muffins come in several flavours and are made using all natural ingredients. I opted for salted caramel, which paired nicely with a coffee. The gluten free crepes are undoubtedly the yummiest thing on the menu at Fresca however, and come stuffed with either banana and nutella or baked apples and summer berries. Closed on Mondays.

Brickhouse

tempImageForSave (5)

Everyone headed to Hong Kong must put one night aside to head to Brickhouse where nearly all tacos are gluten free! Even better, if you go on Monday or Tuesday, the restaurant has a great deal on tacos between 6pm and 8pm and always has a delicious taco of the month on offer. Several starters are also gluten free – just be sure to ask a member of staff for guidance on the menu. Brickhouse fills up pretty quickly most nights so get there early to avoid disappointment. We were lucky enough to sit at the bar in front of the chefs and so got to watch all our delicious food being prepared (which is basically my version of being in a toy shop). Don’t forget to wash your food down with several of the house margaritas – they’re fantastic! Closed on Sundays.

Where?
20 D’Aguilar Street
Hong Kong Central

Yardbird

tempImageForSave (7)

For the most delicious rice dishes you’ll try during your entire stay, head straight to Yardbird. This chicken-lovers paradise is located in the bustling Sheung Wan area of Hong Kong and pays great attention to dietary requirements. A number of rice dishes – including the unbeatable Chicken Rice – are gluten free and both incredibly filling and good value for money. While the fried chicken on offer at Yardbird is also gluten free, it is not coeliac safe due to cross contamination and the use of a shared fryer. While this was heartbreaking to learn at first, I quickly got over it when I received my main and a delicious steaming bowl of edamame beans. Top marks for both food and the general vibe at this Soho hotspot. Closed on Sundays.

Where?
154-158 Wing Lok Street
Sheung Wan
Hong Kong

Picada

tempImageForSave (6)

I did not expect to find so much amazing Latin American food in Hong Kong but I really hit the jackpot with Picada. Not only does this restaurant offer an amazing variety of meat and fish dishes as main courses, but an impressive starter selection too including (lo and behold) gluten free fried chicken AND gluten free empanadas. Of course we had to order both and we were by no means disappointed. It was hard to believe the fried chicken was gluten free and the empanadas were not only beautiful (pink, green and yellow) but each and every one delicious. Picada also has a delicious selection of cocktails and live music on the weekends – what’s not to like? Closed on Saturdays.

Where?
2F & 3F LKF 29 Building
29 Wyndham Street
Hong Kong Central

Madame Fu

I was told that gluten free dim sum was not a thing. Whoever told me this was oh so wrong. Madame Fu – a beautiful eatery tucked away in the brand new Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts – offers a fully gluten free menu to diners upon request which includes a selection of phenomenal dim sum. A little on the pricier side, this restaurant also has a selection of gluten free main dishes and desserts which are all almost too pretty to eat. I highly recommend a trip here for lunch one day when you’re wanting a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Where?
Shop 03-101A Blk
3 No.10 Hollywood Rd
Hong Kong Central

Mott 32

tempImageForSave (3)

Located in the Standard Chartered Bank Building, Mott 32 has two Michelin stars. The menu is mostly designed for sharing and offers up traditional Cantonese cuisine with a modern flair. Gluten free diners will receive an extensive gluten free menu upon request, which is almost identical to the regular menu with the exception of a handful of dishes. We ordered from the gluten free menu and shared everything, including lobster dim sum which was probably the most delicious thing I had during my entire stay in Hong Kong. While the meal was expensive it was totally worth it and an ideal spot for a special occasion or when you feel tempted to just treat yourself!

Where?
Standard Chartered Bank Building
4-4A Des Voeux Rd Central
Hong Kong Central

Pizza Express

tempImageForSave (9)

I was as surprised as you to see that not only does Pizza Express exist in Hong Kong, it offers gluten free bases too! With several branches across the city, rest assured you can give into those pizza cravings pretty easily whilst in Hong Kong. We opted for takeaway gluten free pizzas one evening as a no-fuss dinner and the bases were just as good as in the UK and the attention paid to dietary requirements also on a par. Check the company website for your closest branch.

Shopping

Filling up your suitcase with gluten free bread and other essentials before heading to Hong Kong is something I would highly recommend. However, a chain of supermarkets around the city – Market Place by Jason’s – has an impressive selection of sweet treats and snacks that you can top up with whilst you are there. I noticed a number of gluten free bread, cake and pancake mixes so ideal if you are staying in self-catered accommodation during your stay. Important to note there is no dedicated gluten free section in these stores so be prepared to scour the aisles like I did. Check the company website for your nearest branch.

Gluten Free at the Venetian in Macau

tempImageForSave (1)

During my time in Hong Kong, we took a day trip to Macau, via the Turbo Jet Ferry which took just under one hour. Known as Chinese Vegas, Macao is home to multiple famous hotels including the MGM Grand, The Parisian, Mandarin Oriental and more. We opted for a bottomless brunch at The Venetian where we sat for three hours plus indulging in The Portofino restaurant’s endless raw seafood, steak, cheese and salad bars as well as limitless mimosas, Bloody Marys and more. The gluten free options here were fantastic and I was given great guidance by staff on duty as to what was gluten free. I was brought my own basket of gluten free bread but I advise stating your dietary requirements when you book to ensure they have bread for you. Check the hotel website for current prices and table availability.

Tooting: The Gluten Free Suitcase Guide

Those of y’all who follow my Instagram account will know by now that I LOVE my neighbourhood. I grew up in South East London and three years ago switched things up by moving South West to Tooting. In the past three years alone, this area has seen an immense amount of change, especially when it comes to food! Home to the famous Tooting Market and Broadway Market, this area has something for everyone, and is especially great when it comes to gluten free. Enjoy reading through my guide and seeing for yourself just how awesome this southern corner of the capital is!

Boom Bap Burger

tempImageForSave

I’ve tried a lot of burgers in my time, and since going gluten free seven years ago, I’ve tried even more. However, top of my list for anyone visiting Tooting has got to be Boom Bap Burger, which offers delicious gluten free patties, packed full of flavour, and perfectly sguidgy gluten free burger buns to boot. The french fries are fried in their own separate fryer and are the perfect vehicle for mounds of cheese if you’re in the mood for epic cheesy fries to accompany your burger. Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Unit 2, Tooting Market
20 Totterdown Street
London SW17 8TA

Mamma Mia Pasta

IMG_4750

If you’re a gnocchi fan like me, you won’t be disappointed that gnocchi is your only gluten free option at this family-run pasta restaurant inside Tooting Broadway Market – you’ll be ELATED. Gluten free gnocchi is still incredibly hard to come across on the London restaurant scene and here at Mamma Mia Pasta, the chef will top it with any sauce you desire, whilst taking extra care to avoid cross contamination. I highly recommend you opt for the slow cooked tomato and basil sauce with burrata – absolute winner! State your allergy or dietary requirement and you’ll be wonderfully taken care of. Closed on Sundays and Mondays. 

Where?
Tooting Broadway Market
The Cave
29 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RJ

Herbies

Tooting is now home to Herbies – the market’s first vegan takeaway restaurant, which is both reasonably priced and perfect when you’re in the mood for something on the healthier side. Currently gluten free on the menu are the turmeric cauliflower with a zesty tahnini and lemon dressing, the garbanzo salad with a chive dressing (without the pearl barley) and the signature squash and green bean satay, served with cauliflower rice. A little birdie also told me that the Herbies kitchen is working on a gluten free batter for its indulgent fried items so watch this space! Closed on Mondays.

Where?
Unit 13, Tooting Market
20 Totterdown Street
London SW17 8TA

Plot

IMG_2916

Another sleek addition to Tooting Market, Plot specialises in small plates with a Michelin-star-style twist. The menu changes frequently, in line with what is in season, but there are always naturally gluten free options on offer here. Perfect for date night or for an occasion warranting more than a burger! Plot has seats all the way down its chic bar where you can eat and watch the action in the kitchen, whilst sipping on a glass of wine from the hand picked list. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Where?
70-72 Broadway Market
29 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RL

The Gorringe Park

This isn’t just my favourite pub in Tooting because it’s local but because a large portion of the menu is gluten free! And the items safe for us to eat are not just steak, or grilled fish and mash – they include things like croquettes, breaded camembert, calamari and much much more! The Gorringe Park has a separate fryer for all of its gluten free items, meaning the chips are safe to eat – something which sadly seems to be a rarity in pubs these days. If you’re in the mood for culture with your meal, pop on down to the pub cinema in the basement, which shows several movies daily and is free – just buy yourself a drink or a snack and enjoy!

Where?
29 London Road
London SW17 9JR

Brickwood Coffee and Bread

IMG_4755

This Australian-themed brunch spot has a plethora of gluten free options available for breakfast or brunch each day. Brickwood offers gluten free bread to its diners which can be easily swapped into your meal to make signature dishes like the Avo toast with chorizo or feta or eggs any way safe to eat. Brickwood even has hash nuggets to accompany your brunch – just be warned you may not want to share they’re so good! Be sure to state your dietary requirements upon arrival and you’ll be in good hands!

Where?
Tooting Market
21-23 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0SN

Barra 10

Argentina has come to Tooting! The team behind this traditional style parilla restaurant (or Argentine steak house) are from Buenos Aires itself and offer an array of traditional dishes, many of which are naturally gluten free. Venture here for perfectly cooked steak, wine from the famous Mendoza region, oh and a provoleta – barbecued provolone cheese – for a quintessentially Porteño experience! Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Where?
16 Broadway Market
Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RL

Milk Teeth

IMG_4747

I definitely can’t complain when it comes to Tooting’s brunch offerings. Milk Teeth – sister restaurant of Balham’s Milk – is always spot on when you’re in the mood for eggs, perfect flat whites and retro hip hop, all at the same time. Gluten free diners can choose between several dishes but are likely to be drawn to signature numbers like sweetcorn fritters with kasundi and the Young Betty – Milk Teeth’s answer to Eggs Benedict, served atop homemade cornbread and drizzled with Espresso Hollandaise. Those in the mood for sweet treats can also order a slice of the pistachio and polenta cake with buttercream frosting – it’s truly delightful AND gluten free!

Where?
110 Mitcham Road
London SW17 9NG

Green Monkey

Tucked away behind Tooting Bec station, Green Monkey is a hidden gem for gluten free. Serving up delicious coffee, Green Monkey has a selection of sweet gluten free treats on offer including one of the best brownies I’ve ever had, topped with a salted caramel swirl. If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, Green Monkey whips up an epic Avo Toast on gluten free bread or a salt beef and chicken sandwich.

Where?
2d Tooting Bec Road
London SW17 7TS

Mud

IMG_4749

Another spot for the breakfast fans out there, Mud serves up all sorts of egg-based dishes seven days a week. Gluten free eaters can replace regular bread with gluten free bread on most breakfast dishes or can tuck into the buckwheat pancakes which are served wtih caremalised pear puree, pecans, lemon balm and maple creme fraiche. I tend to go big here and order the Eggs Benny with pork belly, and usually finish with at least three coffees just to bring me out of the food coma. Be sure to flag your requirements upon arrival so the team at Mud can take care of you!

Where?
141 Mitcham Road
London SW17 9PE

The Little Taperia

If you’re in the mood for Tapas, The Little Taperia has got you covered. This charming, neighbourhood restaurant has a traditional menu, featuring naturally gluten free favourites such as Tortilla Española, Garlic Prawns, Grilled Octopus and more, not to mention the amazing Jamon Serrano and cheese selection on offer. It’s worth mentioning that the team at The Little Taperia could not be more accomodating when it comes to dietary requirements, so while you can’t tuck into the fried items or the bread, they will do everything they can to make sure you don’t miss them!

Where?
143 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RU

Nuvola – A Little Bakery

IMG_4753

I’m usually in the market for something sweet after all of the savoury treats that Tooting has to offer, and so tend to head on over to Nuvola – A Little Bakery. This organic bakery is not a gluten free dedicated facility but always has at least two delicious gluten free baked goods on offer. Run by former pastry chef Nuvola Tivoli, this bakery prides itself on handmade cakes made only with the best ingredients, which will make you even prouder to support such a great local business! Closed on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Where?
Unit 25, Tooting Market
Totterdown Street
London SW17 0SN

Rosa’s Thai Cafe

As well as a plethora of independent shops and restaurants, Tooting has a number of reliable chains which offer solid gluten free options. Rosa’s Thai Cafe is one of those, offering a detailed gluten free menu upon request. Take your pick from a number of fragrant curries, stir fries, Asian salads and more and you’re sure to be well looked after.

Where?
70 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RN

Honest Burgers

IMG_4748

A restaurant these days which needs little introduction, Honest Burgers has long had a home in Tooting. A great and fuss-free option for gluten free diners who want to tuck into a familiar and great-tasting burger, Honest Burgers offers all patties on a gluten free bun as well as coeliac-safe rosemary fries and onion rings. Wash it all down with a gluten free Daura Damm beer and you’ve got a winning combination!

Where?
72 Tooting High Street
London SW17 0RN

The Athenian

IMG_4740

You won’t even miss the pitta bread when you tuck into some naturally gluten free Greek street food at The Athenian. On offer for gluten free folk, the Naked Souvlaki box comes jam packed with fresh Greek salad, herbs, grilled meat and is made even better by a portion of grilled halloumi on the side. Staff members will change their gloves for you if you state your allergies and are intent on giving you a stress free ordering experience. The Athenian is part of a chain with locations now all around London and I couldn’t be happier to have it in Tooting!

Where?
Unit 3, Tooting Market
21-23 Totterdown Street
London SW17 0SN

Cardamom Club

Last but not least: Cardamom Club has been my favourite Indian food delivery restaurant since I moved to Tooting. This independent Tooting Bec takeaway has good allergy awareness and always delivers delicious meals that are piping hot. While I’ve tried a number of dishes from here, my number one has got to be Butter Chicken – a perfect combination of spice and creaminess. The Paneer Tikka is also fantastic, and makes for a great starter and is perfect for sharing!

Where?
18 Trinity Road
London SW17 7RE