1 November, 2012
Health & Wellness

Gluten-free guide to Hong Kong

1 November, 2012

Both Jaime and I, along with a surprising number of other women, suffer from gluten intolerance. I’m rather naughty with my intolerance and most of the time I ignore it tempted by too many goodies, but wouldn’t it be nice to know where in Hong Kong you can go, knowing that you can still eat delicious food but won’t be in agony afterwards? Well, Jaime and I have done the research for you! Here’s our Gluten-Free Guide to Hong Kong.

P.S. Remember to always double check with every restaurant regarding their gluten-free dishes, especially in regards to issues like ingredient preparation and cross-contamination with other non gluten-free items.

ALREADY ON THE MENU

MANA!
This healthy fast and extremely tasty lunch spot is a favourite amongst Central workers looking for some lunchtime nourishment. Vegetarian food is the main focal point but for anyone with a gluten intolerance, the chance to have bread for lunch is too good to be true. Simply order one of MANA!’s signature homemade gluten-free flatbreads with your choice of fillings for an incredibly delicious wheat-free lunchtime wrap. Don’t forget to give their scrumptious gluten-free desserts and even beer a try too.

Check out our full review of MANA! here.

Mana! Fast Slow Food G/F, 92 Wellington St, Central
2851 1611 www.mana.hk

Life Café
Life is a much-loved veteran of the Hong Kong dining scene. Everything is vegetarian, earthy and rustic… but most importantly, there are tonnes of dessert offerings jam-packed with gluten-free goodies. Our personal favourites are the gluten free flapjacks and the delicious quinoa cake – perfect for satisfying a gluten free sweet tooth!

Read our full review of Life Café here.

Life Café Organic Restaurant & Bar Soho, 10 Shelley Street, Central
2810 9777 www.lifecafe.com.hk/

Life Deli 50 Johnston Road, Wan Chai
25277588 www.lifecafe.com.hk

Noodlemi
A new addition to the Sheung Wan lunch scene, Noodlemi prides itself on its healthy and delicious Vietnamese menu, stuffed full of gluten, wheat and MSG free delights. This is a great place to bag a quick takeaway lunch (especially with their awesome packaging) and would also make for a cool chilled-out dinner option too. Sassy faves: the turmeric white fish vermicelli, summer rolls, simmered beef with tomato and anise, vanilla berry terrine… oooh basically everything!

Read our full review of Noodlemi here.

Noodlemi G/F, 2 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan
2253 1113 www.facebook.com/noodlemi

O Green Café
This cute little café in Sheung Wan prides itself on serving organic and nutritious food. It also offers several delicious gluten-free, as well as sugar-free and dairy-free, dishes and incredible guilt-free desserts. Although their pasta isn’t gluten-free, they do use whole-wheat pasta, to make it that little bit healthier.

Check out our full review of O Green Café here.

O Green Cafe Shop E, G/F, Fu Fai Commercial Centre, 27 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan
2850 6996 www.ogreencafe.com/

Baking Maniac
Baking is more than a hobby for 16 year old Ankrish; this boy is a culinary genius, making some of the most delicious cakes and cupcakes in Hong Kong for parties and events. He did his food science exam on gluten-free baking, which we were lucky enough to try… and it was divine! These are the only cakes and cupcakes gluten-free eaters should be ordering in Hong Kong, and the fact that Ankrish can tailor-make designs just for you means they’re perfect for celebrations (or just some good old-fashioned indulgence!). He can also do gluten-free pastry, chocolates, biscuits and cheesecakes and is just as good at vegan products too! There is no physical shop to go to; simply order online whenever you need your cake fix!

Check out our full scoop on Baking Maniac here.

Visit http://bakingmaniac.blogspot.com or email [email protected]

GROCERY SHOPPING

Just Green
A whole range of health foods and snacks are on offer in their two stores, catering to healthy eaters and those with food intolerances. There are plenty of gluten-free goodies in store too – and even a stores on Lamma and Discovery Bay for you island-dwellers!

Just Green, 7 St Francis Street, Wan Chai, 2528 9969
– 52 Graham Street, Central, 2801 5611
– 75 Yung Shue Wan Main Street, Lamma Island, 2982 2325
– G33C, G/F, Block C, Discovery Bay Plaza, Lantau, 2448 1180

Nature’s Village
A convenient pit-stop location to pick up some gluten free staples for your larder; good for basic items like pastas and snack bars.

Nature’s Village, 36 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, 2121 1637
– Shop 54, G/F, Elizabeth House, 250-254 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, 2575 0188
– Shop 106, 1/F., Tai Yau Plaza, 181 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, 2111 0683
– Shop 122, 1/F, The Elegance at Sheraton, 20 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2770 5098; see all other locations here

O2H
A whole shop filled to the brim with all sorts of gluten-free delights. There’s no fresh produce here, but it does stock every store cupboard ingredient you might need, especially some of the more obscure baking flours needed to whip up your own gluten-free treats at home. They also do online ordering and delivery. Handy.

O2H, Shop A, G/F, World Trust Tower, 50 Stanley Street, Central, 2523 3123
– Stall No. K3 at Level 1, Pier 3, 11 Man Kwong Street, Central, 2523 3280
– Shop 136D, Level 1, Park Central Shopping Arcade, Tseung Kwan O, 2523 3993

Oliver’s, ThreeSixty, great Food Hall
These deli-style premium supermarkets stock almost every product under the sun, including a wealth of gluten-free options. There often isn’t one dedicated section (that would make life too easy!) but we’ve spotted plenty of gluten-free products on the shelves, including flour bases, pancake and cake mixes, cereals and grains, snack bars, bagels and bread (in the freezer, as well as on shelves), pastas and more. Be sure not to miss the La Rose Noire gluten-free products, so far spotted in Oliver’s and ThreeSixty – they do a delicious brownies and a pumpkin bread that really tastes like cake (it’s only 99% gluten free so eat with caution!).

Oliver’s, Shop 201-205, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2810 7710
ThreeSixty, 3 & 4/F, The Landmark, Central, 2111 4480; Shop 1090, 1/F Elements, Kowloon Station, 2196 8066
great Food Hall, Basement, Two Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, 2918 9986

Little Giant HK
Not only do they have a fully stocked gluten-free store in Causeway Bay that also offers other “free from” products, but they also do online shopping if you’re too lethargic to battle with the Causeway Bay mobs. We’ve not yet managed to check it out in person yet, but it’s high on our hit list – let us know if you’ve been already!

Little Giant HK, 15/F Chung Wai Commercial Building, 447-449 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2573 3610

Health Essential
We are yet to visit this store but their website seems to list every gluten-free product possibly ever imported into HK, including the wealth of American brands that so perfectly cater to our gluten free needs. You can also shop online, or place orders by phone, fax or email too!

Health Essential, 8/F, Hung Tak Building, 106-108 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong, 2545 2286

Nature’s Blessing
This sweet little shop on Caine Road sells delicious gluten-free cereals and snacks, as well as other special products such as dairy-free milks and even eco-friendly home products. It also sells special gluten free goodies for kids. You can also buy online or over the phone and get free delivery (dependent on a minimum spend).

Nature’s Blessing, G/F, Shop 3A, Midland Court, 60-62 Caine Road, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong, 2517 2135

Welspring
A fab suggestion by one of our Sassy readers! All of Welspring’s products are natural, organic, gluten free, fair-trade, vegetarian or raw – with eco-friendly beauty, skincare and home cleaning products in addition to their extensive range of food and beverage. Their gluten-free section boasts bread, pasta, snacks, cooking ingredients and sauces, They also make holiday hampers (great Christmas gifts for any gluten-free friends and family we reckon!) and host special cooking classes (yes – there’s a gluten-free one sometimes!) and wellness workshops too.

Welspring, Room 303, 3/F, Keen Hung Commercial Building, 80 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 3622 1287

Spicebox Organics
An organic pantry filling store that also stocks a wide range of gluten free products including gluten-free flours, grains and even cookies.

Spicebox Organics, 72 Third Street, GF Shop K, Fook Moon Bldg, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, 2568 2728

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS ASK

On the whole, asking someone to provide you a gluten-free meal can be a scary affair (cue cries of ‘What’s gluten?!’)! We have learnt that the best places to accommodate this request are more upmarket restaurants, hotel restaurants and private kitchens, which create everything from scratch everyday anyway. The below list is by no means exhaustive but includes places where we have successfully (and deliciously!) asked for a gluten free meal and been impressed with the results:

Private Kitchens

Comilonas
The lovely couple that run this ever-popular private kitchen near Kennedy Town are more than happy to cater for gluten intolerant diners. They will create a special separate dish for you to replace any dishes containing gluten so you needn’t miss out on their amazing Spanish fare!

Comilonas, [email protected]

TBLS
This innovative private kitchen is booked up months in advance, but they happily created a yummy gluten-free meal for us… where some of the options were (shhh…) tastier than the “real” options. [Check out our full review here.]

TBLS Kitchen Studio 7/F, 31 Hollywood Road, Central
2544 3433 www.tbls-kitchenstudio.com/

Mandy’s Private Kitchen
With enough advance warning, Mandy substituted her mainstay Caribbean-inspired dishes with gluten free alternative and even made a delicious alternative to her famed corn bread.

Mandy’s Private Kitchen, 9816 9946, [email protected]

Magnolia
Another private kitchen (this time with hearty Cajun cuisine) that happily created alternate delicious dishes –  and yet another scrumptious corn bread!

Magnolia 17 Po Yan Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
2530 9880 www.magnolia.hk/

Hotels

Four Seasons Hong Kong
We have already sampled and reviewed their gluten free afternoon tea, which was exceptional (read the full scoop here!), but their chefs can do any meal gluten-free given advance notice. If you’re staying, they’ll even go to the effort of creating in-room gluten-free treats!

Four Seasons Grand Ballroom 2/F, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central
www.fourseasons.com/hongkong/dining/

Upper House

As you would expect from this world-class hotel, all you have to do is ask and they will serve you up their homemade gluten-free bread and ensure your meals are gluten-free (as I discovered on my very lovely staycation there!).

The Upper House 37/F, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Central
2918 1838 www.upperhouse.com/

The Peninsula
We have already asked and successfully received delish gluten-free dishes when dining at Felix (see our review here), but we’re confident they could whip it up in any of their dining outlets too.

The Peninsula 19-21 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
2920 2888 www.peninsula.com/Hong_Kong/en/Dining/Felix/default.aspx#/Hong_Kong/en/Dining/

There are all the hotels we have specifically asked, but we’re pretty sure most of the other hotels in Hong Kong will be able to keep gluten off your plates and make you gluten-free bread too!

Restaurants

Grassroots Pantry
The essence here is vegan (meaning no meat and no dairy either) but the food-conscious chefs are fully au fait with gluten intolerances, and a lot of their dishes are naturally gluten-free. They can advise you on what from their seasonal menu is suitable for you to eat on the day. [Read our full review here – we loved it!]

Grassroots Pantry 12 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun, Western District
2873 3353 www.grassrootspantry.com/

Lantana
This restaurant is a must-visit for most Lantau visitors, but the exclusively pizza and pasta focused menu should be any gluten intolerant person’s worst nightmare! Luckily, you just have to phone in advance to get a gluten-free pasta dish that is on par with the main offerings.

Lantana 40 Lower Cheung Sha Village, Lantau
5465 5511 www.facebook.com/pages/Lantana-Hong-Kong/442261295798196

FINDS
Hong Kong’s only Nordic restaurant will happily cater to diners with all kinds of dietary requirements, making sure everyone has an enjoyable and delicious meal there. This place goes through over 6,000kg of salmon each year, so be sure to try some of that! [Check out our full review here.]

FINDS The Luxe Manor, 39 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, 2522 9318

24 thoughts on “Gluten-free guide to Hong Kong

  1. Yet another tip – if you are looking for millet flour(gluten-free) Indian stores like Indian Provision Store in Chung King Mansion carry the whole range.

  2. Nice article. Can you pls suggest good and reasonable hotel in HK with access with dairy/gluten food? I’m going there in 2 weeks. Plan to visit major attractions including HK Disney, Ngong Ping etc. thanks

  3. Hi Grace

    Do you mean hotels with dairy-free/gluten-free food? If so, we have listed a few hotels where we have successfully ordered gluten-free food in the guide, but we imagine most of the major hotels here would be willing to cater for dietary requests as long as you give them advance notice.

    Our guide also gives the addresses and websites of every place we’ve listed, so once you’ve worked out where you’re staying, you can then see which restaurants/gluten-free grocery stores are nearby.

  4. Thank you so much for this! Traveling to HK with my pops who is (very) gluten intolerant. This is one of the most helpful things I have found. I would also really appreciate tips as to what to order if you eat at a chinese restaurant… can you just ask for steamed rice, fish, and veggies safely? I would love for my dad to be able to eat some of the ‘local’ food. Is that impossible due to all the sauces? Has anyone had success eating at a dim sum restaurant? I will be with my husband who speaks Cantonese. Thank you so much!

  5. Hi Claire

    I asked Jaime and she reckons you might be better off with some of the more modern Chinese restaurants like The Chairman who understand gluten. Many of the hotels here have good Chinese restaurants too and as we have discovered, hotels tend to be quite accommodating to gluten intolerance.

    Hope that helps!

  6. Wonderful to stumble across this great post! Several new places for us to try out with our young celiac! As we’re out in the New Territories, we don’t often make it to the Island all together, but several of these tips might be worth a special trip.

  7. Thank you for this great resource list. I’m GF as well and carry translation cards with me, but China and Hong Kong are great for rice, less so for all the soy sauce (and gluten used to thicken sauces). Currently in Vietnam where it’s a celiac’s dream, but really appreciate this list and will be sending around to fellow celiacs heading your way!

  8. Ah! this is so helpful! It’s surprising that after living in HK for seven months, I’ve not stumbled across all of those stores. xD Also, another hotel that will accommodate gluten free dieting is The Kimberley Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. I went there with my family for Christmas Eve dinner and enjoyed the same things everyone else did without feeling ill afterward. Just tell them advance “no wheat or gluten” and their chefs will be happy to accommodate, I’m sure. :3

  9. You’ve mentioned many of my favorites but another one to check out is La Creperie in Sheung Wan. All of their savory crepes are made gluten-free with imported buckwheat flour from France. I beleive there are two branches with another in Wan Chai.

  10. A good list but don’t forget another store in Wanchai (Welspring, http://www.welspring.hk), selling a good range of gluten-free breads, pasta, biscuits, chips & dips, candies, seeds, nuts, beans, flours and even protein powder. They have dairy-free toddler formula and beverage too. Convenient online shopping and speedy delivery service (free delivery to DB, Ma Wan and Tung Chung if you spend over $500). Store opens Mondays to Saturdays, 11am -8pm. Best of all, they have gluten-free cooking classes held in their store from time to time.

    Store: Room 303, 3/F, Keen Hung Commercial Building, 80 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai, HK

  11. Great post! A really useful resource. Many thanks.

    A couple of interesting tidbits that readers here might be interested in (though this is probably of more interest to those wishing to avoid gluten than Celiacs HAVING to avoid it):

    1. Beer.

    Gluten-free beer can have an unusual taste and can be expensive.

    An alternative is Corona:

    “According to tests done by the Argentine Coeliac Association (ACELA) and the Swedish National Food Agency, Corona beer, contains less than 20 ppm, making it legally gluten-free. This is probably due to the fact that despite using barley malt, Corona is mostly derived from rice and corn. Corona has made no statement regarding these tests.”

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten-free_beer

    2. Soy Sauce.

    Use “naturally brewed” Kikkoman:

    “We sent a sample of soy sauce of the brands Kikkoman and Lima to an external laboratory to determine gluten levels. In both samples the gluten content was below detection limit of 5ppm (see report). According to a new European legislation, which will only be fully implemented in 2012, gluten-free foodstuffs should contain less than 20 ppm gluten. The FDA also proposes a limit of 20 ppm. This means that our two tested products may be considered as gluten-free soy sauce.”

    Source: http://www.soya.be/gluten-free-soy-sauce.php
    Report: http://www.soya.be/reports/gluten-free-soy-sauce.pdf

  12. I just wanted to say thank you for this amazing post, it was my bible when I recently visited Hong Kong! Noodlemi and Mana were just awesome; I’d been a bit nervous about finding gluten-free food in HK but I ended up dining like a queen.

    Madame Free-From

  13. I want to know more more more places where we can go for Gluten Free food in Hong Kong. Is Le Creparie and their buckwheat pancakes really, seriously, GF?

    I am with a flight crew here many times a month, all the way from Seattle, and I am starving and grumpy and tired of eating peanut butter alone in my hotel room every night.

    Your blog is the best I have read, but maybe you could follow up with some updates…. Noodlemi is ok, but considering all this world class city has to offer, can’t we find a way to get an Asian fix somewhere else, also?

    The Pawn e mailed me that they would make me anything I wanted, but who knows? Nobody really gets it here. Thanks for the info, and please keep it coming.

  14. Hi Carrie

    In Jaime’s experience, she’s found that the majority of restaurants she contacts are very accommodating to her gluten-free requests as long as they are made in advance. The best ones do tend to be the big hotels and dining chains, private kitchens and of course, places that speak English fluently and understand what gluten is – we mention this within the article, so if you’re looking for an Asian fix, the easiest way may be to contact some of the great Chinese restaurants in hotels like The Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Mandarin Oriental, The Peninsula etc or more modern ones (Jaime suggested The Chairman earlier).

    As for places that clearly have GF dishes marked on the menu, there aren’t really any major updates from what we have already in the article I’m afraid. Of course, if you find any amazing discoveries on your next visit here, do let us know and we’d be happy to include it!

  15. Ive discovered recently what a huge amount of gluten free products are entering the supermarket shelves. Local supermarkets like park n shop and taste have so many gluten free pastas, cereals and flours. even Marks and spencer carry fluten free pastas now. Arrow head and mills gluten free cereals are in most supermarkets and city super in central and causewaybay and 360 in elements carry all the bread mixes, pancake and pasty mixes for our gluten free needs.
    The only thing i cant find is fresh gluten free bread. Im hoping m&s will start their gluten free fresh bread here.

  16. Saffron Bakery has GF bread – reasonably priced too, fresh baked for $65 (but you may want to call ahead to make sure it’s available before heading). I had an excellent GF hummus sandwhich there – the bread was so good I decided to buy the rest of the loaf.

    Also, excellent Falafel’s at Beirut (in my opinion better than Life Cafe falafel’s), macaroons from the Four Season’s Bakery are absolutely divine.

  17. What about Indian food?

    Avoid the samosas and the naan bread and you will find most of the rest of the menu is gluten free.

    We have had great success with Gangas (Downstairs at 57-59 Wyndham St, Central) where the owner is not only a good bloke but also understands gluten free extremely well.

  18. Maya Cafe @ 5 Moon Street, Wanchai also carries a variety of mediterranean, vegan and gluten free selection.
    Amazing that the healthy trend is really hitting Hong Kong. After all we all need some healthy stuff in our life.

  19. This is SO great! I know it is an older post, but I am going to research these places further as Hong Kong is on my list for next year. I am an expat living in Korea currently, so I really appreciate this list. Thanks!
    Carrie

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