Where to eat gluten-free in Hong Kong…
Found in grains like wheat, barley and rye, and seemingly innocuous everyday foods like soy sauce, salad dressings and potato chips, gluten can be notoriously hard to avoid. And while the health food movement in Hong Kong continues to gain momentum, with restaurants catering to vegetarian, vegan and organic-obsessed diners becoming increasingly common, the same cannot be said for those who are looking to stay gluten-free. Allergen-aware and coeliac-safe options remain a difficult concept for some restaurants to grasp, making it tricky to navigate the foodie scene with ease.
But don’t despair just yet! Believe it or not, the city’s gluten-free dining options have come a long way in recent years – to the point where we now have a handful of trusted favourites which we come back to time and again. From health food spots capturing the current wellness zeitgeist to fast casual restaurants where global flavours reign supreme, here’s our guide to gluten-free restaurants in Hong Kong.
Editor’s Note: If you live with coeliac disease or have non-coeliac gluten sensitivities, it’s crucial to let service staff know prior to placing your order. While the following restaurants have, in our experience, been great at catering to our dietary requirements, there is always the risk of potential cross-contamination.
Gluten-Free Restaurants In Hong Kong
Drawing inspiration from West Asian and North African cuisines, Gough Street’s BEDU offers gluten-free guests an array of zesty and earthy flavours to choose from. While we’re still waiting for BEDU to come out with a flatbread minus the gluten, for a formidable gluten-free feast try the Marinated Salmon ($145), Chicken Skewers ($140) and the Charred Broccoli dressed in tongue-tingling zhoug ($120). Or opt for omakase style with the Chef’s Menu ($390 per person).
First opening in 2013, Chachawan brings the Cambodian and Lao-influenced cuisine of the northeastern Isaan region of Thailand to Sheung Wan. Following a period of renovation in October last year, Chachawan reopened its doors with refreshed interiors and buzzy new items on the menu, including the unexpectedly tasty and gluten-free Som Dtum Kao Pod or corn salad ($108). Several dishes, though made in the same space as foods with gluten, are gluten-free, including signatures like Som Dtum Goong or papaya salad ($128) and Larp Bet or lettuce wraps with chopped duck ($128).
Read more: The Best Thai Restaurants In Hong Kong
Going gluten-free doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavour, and Chilli Fagara’s designated gluten-free menu is testament to that. Consistently earning praise from the Michelin Guide for its masterful rendering of Sichuan cuisine, stir your tastebuds from their sleep with dishes like Homestyle Ma Po Tofu ($108) and the signature Comfort Noodles with fiery peppers and house made spicy XO sauce ($138).
Helmed by chef and owner Vivi Cheung, Dandy’s Organic Cafe is one of the most allergen-aware restaurants in Hong Kong right now. With a richly-annotated menu ranging from Southeast Asian-inspired curries to wholesome salads and pasta dishes that feature organic produce, this spot is a safe haven for those seeking gluten-free eats – as well as nut-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and low sugar – in cozy-chic environs.
With an alfresco patio and a spacious dining area, this is a great spot to know for straightforward Italian food. And there’s great news for gluten-intolerant diners: DiVino can make its pizzas gluten free with a crust of sorghum flour, rice flour and psyllium (from $148). If you’re hankering after pasta, the vegetarian Wholewheat Organic Spaghetti ($148) can be made gluten-free, too.
There’s no denying our love for some crispy street-side gai dan zai, but sometimes it takes a thick American-style waffle – loaded with toppings – to hit the spot. With locations in Central and Causeway Bay, Green Waffle Diner distills the essence of the classic American greasy spoon into an elevated brunch experience. Here, you can request your waffles in gluten-free format – the kitchen will switch out the regular flour for buckwheat.
Located on the first floor of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, gourmet eats and stellar views harmonise at modern Australian venue, Hue. Along with a distinct vegetarian menu, Hue offers a concise but well-executed selection of gluten-free items. The Wagyu Tartare with wasabi cream and Wagyu Flank are particularly popular choices, both of which are available on the à-la-carte menu where diners can get two courses for $580. Don’t be shy with the staff: they are well-informed regarding gluten-free diets.
Read more: Your Guide To Afternoon Tea In Hong Kong
Since opening its flagship branch in 2018 along Kennedy Town’s Forbes Street, Infiniti C’s health-conscious nosh has won acclaim. Here, the entire menu is gluten-free. That includes the breads and pastries, which are prepared using inventive combinations of coconut, rice and almond flours. The signature dish? Chef Philomena recommends the Avocado Pancakes ($108) – topped with berries and creamy avocado, these thoroughly recipe-tested pancakes are pure indulgence– sans the allergens.
Whether you’re looking to stock up on kale chips and kombucha or grab a gluten-free lunch to-go, KALE has got you covered. Hidden among the stalls on Li Yuen Street West, this spot will appeal to build-it-yourself enthusiasts looking to create a low carbohydrate meal around a few staple proteins. The menu offers health food stalwarts like cauli-rice, salads and quinoa-based risottos (from $70), as well as a profusion of add-ons (from $15) such as nutritional yeast, grilled tofu, falafel and BBQ pulled jackfruit.
If you’re going gluten-free, you’ll have to skip the eponymous crepes at La Crêperie, but you can indulge in the galettes on offer! While prepared using equipment where wheat products are also handled, the galettes are naturally gluten-free. Made with buckwheat flour, this Breton specialty comes with a variety of savoury fillings. You can’t go wrong with Les Poulains ($158), topped with Raclette and potatoes, or La Complete ($98), which features tender French cooked ham, Emmental and egg salad. For dessert, diners can request any of the crepe toppings on a galette.
A health food hotspot in Sai Ying Pun, Locofama’s menu centers on high quality produce, simply prepared. Under the leadership of Larry Tang and his sourcing manager, a biodiversity expert, the restaurant sources organic vegetables locally, and seafood, meat and fruit from organic farms across the globe. On a menu that reveals a keen awareness of how to balance diet with deliciousness, the gluten-free Coconut Organic Chicken with Cauliflower Quinoa Rice ($188) is a firm favourite.
Even in the dim sum capital of the world, gluten-free yum cha is hard to come by. Fortunately, Madame Fù boasts a diversified menu of gluten-free treats from Guangdong and beyond. Located on the third floor of the majestic Tai Kwun heritage compound, this intricately designed restaurant and tearoom offers European-inflected Cantonese fare for patrons of all diets to enjoy. Tuck into dishes like the Seafood and Honey Pea Dumpling ($78), Golden Pork Belly ($130) and Wok-fried Scallops ($298). As gluten-free restaurants in Hong Kong go, this has to be one of the most photogenic.
Great for a casual lunch and cocktail hour alike, Mak Mak transports diners to central Thailand with its menu of punchy, aromatic Thai cuisine. There’s an abundance of gluten-free dishes here, in addition to an expansive vegetarian menu for those going meat-free. The Kheaw Wan Gai or green curry with chicken ($158) and Massaman Lamb ($208) are strong contenders among the gluten-free curries, while the salad section offers up zingy, fish sauce-finished slaws with bright fruit like papaya and green mango (from $108).
With two-Michelin starred Chef Siu Hin Chi serving as culinary consultant, vegetarian restaurant Miss Lee offers refined interpretations of classic Chinese dishes. The menu here is at once whimsical and imaginative, and yet grounded in familiar flavour palettes: it’s astutely divided on the basis of ingredients like Soy, Green, Marrow, Root and Grain, which act as themes connecting each dish. There are various tofu and fungi-forward gluten-free options, like the White Symphony ($138), with braised bamboo pith stuffed with enoki, and Spring Blossom ($148), or mushroom dumplings served with fermented beancurd dipping sauce.
As the first Punjabi restaurant in the world to earn one Michelin star, New Punjab Club with Chef Palash Mitra is a pioneering force in contemporary South Asian food today. Gluten-free diners can rest easy at this Wyndham Street jewel. All of the tandoori, and sabzi and deg dishes– except for the Mughal Room Makhana– are gluten-free. In addition to separating ingredients, the restaurant uses a specially allocated tandoor to prepare its gluten-free naan and roti.
All it takes is three magical words: freshly made pasta. And with five locations across Kowloon, Hong Kong Island and the New Territories, Pici is the place to go. Not only is Pici great value, but a majority of the menu can also be modified to suit gluten-intolerant guests. From lasagne to pappardelle, the kitchen can prepare most of the pasta dishes using gluten-free pasta. Just request it!
Known for its prized cuts of Galician steak, the meat-centric menu at Rubia is surprisingly hospitable for guests with gluten intolerance. In addition to much of the menu (including tapas like the Gambas Al Ajillo, Padrón Peppers, and Chorizo Ibérico Potato Salad) being gluten-free, the staff is very knowledgeable regarding restricted diets. The fryers at the restaurant are also separate, so fried gluten-free dishes do not mingle with any gluten-containing items.
Finding gluten-free restaurants in Hong Kong may be no cakewalk, but at Angel Hon’s Sweetpea Cafe, you can truly have your cake and eat it too. All of the sweet treats here are gluten-free, and many also clock a low glycaemic index by swapping out sugar for sweeteners like stevia. Sweetpea’s cakes let you forget you’re going gluten-free; instead, they look, feel and taste decadent. Although on the pricier side ($100+ for a single portion), one slice is typically good for two people. While the offerings change seasonally, the Double Earl Grey and Banana Salted Caramel are perennially popular.
Read more: Your Neighbourhood Guide To Poho
Looking to pick up a gluten-free cake to go? Head over to The Cakery. Specialising in gluten and dairy-free cupcakes and other sweet treats, here you can fulfil your sugar craving, and still feel good while doing it. Our regular order includes a helping of the Chocolate Biscotti ($138), along with Salted Caramel Popcorn Cupcake ($45).
Billed as Pici but for pasta, The Pizza Project delivers the same winning combo as its sister restaurant: high Instagrammability, trendy location and foolproof food. This pick scores high marks in the gluten-free department as well: typically, the kitchen can churn out gluten-free pizzas with a corn-based crust. It’s a good idea to call ahead to make sure they haven’t run out though!
The Pizza Project (Central), G/F, 26 Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong
This popular health food spot may be most well-known for its tree trunk-reminiscent flatbread wraps, but there are some gluten-free options on offer here too! Helpfully marked on the menu, wraps can be made gluten-free, with the kitchen substituting the flatbread with a “leafy” alternative: a large, blanched collard green to encase the fillings of your choosing (from $68 for the short). Except for the brownie and muffin, all of the desserts are gluten-free as well.
TREEHOUSE (BaseHall), LG9 Jardine House (Basement Level), 1 Connaught Place, Central, Hong Kong
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on 9 October, 2017 by Rhonda Taylor and was most recently updated in January, 2021 by Aarohi Narain.