Gluten-Free: Best Stores & Restaurants in Hong Kong

by SavvyinHK
February 15, 2021

Eating gluten-free in Hong Kong can seem like a huge challenge. Chinese food is known to have gluten in just about everything, so your concerns are real.

However, it’s certainly not impossible to eat gluten-free in Hong Kong; you just need to do a little extra work.

Gluten-free foods have a reputation for being hard to find. However, since the gluten-free diet has become increasingly popular both in Hong Kong and worldwide, substitutes for lots of traditionally gluten-heavy foods have been developed, and there are now plentiful options.

Knowing the challenges of being gluten-free, we’re here to help.

We’ll be covering:

  • Where to shop for gluten-free food in Hong Kong
  • The best gluten-free restaurants in the city
  • Which gluten-free foods are commonly available in Hong Kong 
  • The benefits of following a gluten-free diet

Giving you all of the information you need to protect your health and live a healthy, gluten-free life in the city.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a name for the proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye. Adding gluten to a product generally helps the product take shape as the gluten will act as a glue that holds food together.

Although we just said that gluten is generally found in wheat, barley, and rye, what you might not know is the extent to which these three ingredients are found in processed food.

Examples of food that commonly include gluten are:

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Cereals
  • Sauces
  • Salad dressings
  • Soups
  • Baked goods
  • Beer
  • Food coloring

What does it mean to be gluten-free?

Eating gluten-free means avoiding gluten, which is the protein commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye. The purpose of following a gluten-free diet is not to lose weight but instead to help your gut to absorb nutrients properly.

Where can I buy certified gluten-free products in Hong Kong?

For people with medical conditions that make them intolerant to gluten, it’s really, really important to avoid it. The most recognized gluten-free certification is The Gluten-Free Certification Program.

The Store Hong Kong, an online platform, stocks a range of gluten-free products that carry this certification. Bob’s Red Mill, a well-known brand offering many gluten-free products, is sold at The Store Hong Kong.

Bob’s Red Mill products that you will find include; gluten-free rolled oats, gluten-free cake mix, gluten-free pizza crust, and gluten-free pie crust.

The Store Hong Kong is gaining quite a following in Hong Kong; they offer same-day delivery and a carefully curated range of high-quality gluten-free products sourced from countries like the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand.

We have found their pricing on health food products to be better than anywhere else in Hong Kong. 

However, if you’d rather get the real supermarket experience, there is a range of organic and health food shops in the city that you can check out. For value and accessibility, we’d recommend Little Giant in Causeway Bay. 

What are the best gluten-free restaurants in Hong Kong?

1. Sweetpea Cafe

For people allergic to gluten foods, Sweetpea Cafe is the ultimate destination to end your food cravings.

It’s a perfect place to enjoy some really delicious gluten-free foods. This is the only 100% gluten-free café in entire Hong Kong that serves you some lip-smacking vegan and gluten-free diet meals.

The spot is popular for its freshly made cakes and light dishes. Taking your culinary experience to a new level, you can savor the best sweet baked specialties here at this cafe.

Their best-sellers are carrot cake, lime and coconut cake, and Earl Grey tea cake.

The café also offers delicious vegan burgers and ricotta soufflé pancakes, which are all gluten-free and worth giving a try. Also available;  sandwiches, omelets, and lasagnas.

It’s the one place you can go to and binge-eat your favorite snacks and savories without having to worry about making special gluten-free requests. It is a lovely cafe om a charming location.

Location: G/F, 4 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong.
Telephone: 3689 7269

2. Café Causette

If you feel like eating some global cuisines, then Café Causette is the place to be. They serve dishes from across the world.

Café Causette is also a safe spot for people on a gluten-free diet. The Café features a range of organic, vegetarian, and gluten-free dishes for the convenience of its guests that are allergic to gluten foods.

Offering you a perfect mix of Asian favorites and international classics, you won’t go wrong with Café Causette as your gluten-free dining choice.

Some of their most popular gluten-free options are Thai Beef Salad  ($318), Greek Salad ($198), Superfood Salad ($268), and Thai Rice Paper Roll ($168).

Known for its simplistic approach, every dish served here is well-known, yet the restaurant pays particular attention to its guests’ dietary requests.  If you’re on a gluten-free diet, it’s worth a try.

Whilst located in a fancy hotel, Café Causette itself is not super formal and instead has a contemporary setup that offers convenient all-day dining with something a little extra.

Location: Mandarin Oriental, M/F, 5 Connaught Road Central.
Telephone: +852 2825 4005

3. Mak Mak

Mak Mak has a wide range of delicious gluten-free options on their menu.
Photo courtesy of Mak Mak Facebook.

Located in Landmark, Mak Mak offers ultra-tasty Thai cuisine that won’t break the bank. Almost their entire vegetarian menu is gluten-free.

Mak Mak is also vegan friendly, which is a bonus.

If you need to book a work lunch, Mak Mak is a terrific option. They serve food quickly, you’ll be in and out, and the food is superb.

Mak Mak Location: Shop 217A, 2/F, Atrium, The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road Central Central
Telephone: +852 ‎6468 3962

4. Madame Fu

For some authentic Chinese cuisine, check out the dumplings at Madame Fu’s. They can cater to special requests for gluten-free dumplings, but be sure to get in touch ahead of time and let them know about your request.

Definitely worth visiting Madame Fu if you are looking for some authentic Hong Kong food. One of the most appealing aspects of Madame Fu is the interior design.

Every room has a different theme – nothing short of chic. 

Location:  3rd Floor, Barrack Block, Tai Kwun, No. 10 Hollywood Road, Central District.
Telephone: +852 2114 2118

5. Dandy’s Organic Café

Dandy's Organic Cafe in Sheung Wan offers an entirely gluten-free menu. Their gluten-free deserts are particularly delicious.
Photo courtesy of Dandy’s Organic Cafe.

At Dandy’s Organic Café, you can get your fill of Western cuisines such as fish and chips.

The whole restaurant is gluten-free, so if it’s on the menu, you can have it—a welcome change when gluten-free eating can involve a bit of explaining.

Dandy’s Organic Cafe is a great option for anyone with specific dietary requirements, diets they can cater to include vegan, high protein, low fat, and low-GI.

Dandy’s Organic Cafe Location: 32 Upper Lascar Row, Sheung Wan.
Telephone: 2838 6166

What foods are gluten-free in Hong Kong?

You do need to be somewhat careful in Hong Kong when looking at traditional foods. Most dishes will use soy sauce or other wheat-based sauces to add flavor.

In general, to ensure your diet is gluten-free, you should eat:

  • Rice noodles
  • Meat and fish
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Rice
  • Dairy products
  • Corn, legumes, and beans

Coeliac UK offers a super helpful free gluten-free checklist that is downloadable instantly.

What alcohol is gluten-free?

Consuming wine and spirits is fine if you are following a gluten-free diet.

It’s basically beer, ales, stouts, and lager that’s the problem. These need to be avoided.

The good news is that gluten-free beer and gluten-free ale are available in Hong Kong. Try Craftissimo, the beer and ale expert.

They offer a range of suitable products for people wanting to avoid gluten, including their low-calorie tart raspberry ale. Delicious!

You can also try Estrella Daura Gluten Free Beer from The Bottle Shop. This is a relatively inexpensive gluten-free beer from the major brewery, Estrella Damm, in Catalunya.

Why gluten-free?

There’s a medical condition called coeliac disease, making people really sick when they eat foods that contain gluten. Gluten ataxia and wheat allergies are other medical reasons that people will avoid foods containing gluten.  

It’s claimed that a gluten-free diet will help you lose weight.

In and of itself, that’s not quite right. However, you’ll be eating fewer carbs and hopefully replacing foods like bread and pasta with alternatives like nuts, seeds, and veggies.

So depending on what you substitute standard gluten-products for, you may be able to lose some weight. 

The gluten-free diet has a lot of similarities with the keto diet. They’re not quite the same, though. You won’t find gluten in veg or fruits, so go for your life. 

In contrast, Keto restricts these since they have many carbohydrates, which are the enemy of Keto.

How do I start eating gluten-free in Hong Kong?

Whether you have a medical diagnosis that requires you to avoid gluten, or you’ve decided to try it as a diet, you have to start somewhere.

A gluten-free diet can feel restrictive, but as we’ve already mentioned, your options are growing all the time.

Let’s take a look at some of the common substitutes for typically gluten-heavy foods.

1. Gluten-free bread

You can choose to make your own using almond flour or coconut flour. It can be a little time-consuming, but you’ll know exactly what’s gone into your bread.

The chance to have a grilled cheese sandwich really will be worth the effort in the kitchen.

2. Gluten-free cake

This is another chance to get into the kitchen! Coconut flour may seem a little strange in bread, but for sure, it belongs in cakes.

You’ll get a subtle coconut flavor throughout the cake, so go for some tropical flavor to got with it.

Alternatively, you can visit Sweetpea Café in Central. Ok, so it’s not the cheapest place in the city, but they have a wide range of carefully prepared, delicious, gluten-free cake.

3. Gluten-free rice

Living gluten free Hong Kong is possible. There are so many gluten-free products available, and best of all rice is gluten-free.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/@pillepriske).

You’ll be please to know that all rice is gluten-free!

This can be a liberating feeling, especially in a city like Hong Kong. Even when you choose to cook at home and adapt your traditional Chinese dishes to remove the gluten, you can maintain a level of authenticity by still have rice with your meal.

4. Gluten-free pasta

The other popular carb staple, pasta, is all about gluten. But you don’t have to worry about the prospect of a life without pasta

There used to be few very gluten-free pasta options, but recently gluten-free pasta options have been popping up everywhere. If you’re looking for gluten-free pasta recipes tested and ranked by professional chefs, try this list of the best 10 recipes

The Store HK and Gateway have quite a few options for you. Be sure to check the grains being used.

Usually, gluten-free pasta is made of either:

  • Corn
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Amaranth

And how nutritious these kinds of pasta are will vary greatly, as will the cost. Check out how healthy your pasta replacement is before adding it to your cart.

5. Gluten-free banana cake

If you’re following a gluten-free diet in Hong Kong, it’s even possible to eat banana cake. Try this gluten-free banana cake recipe from Coeliac UK.

FAQs

What are the benefits of following a gluten-free diet?

Improved digestion
You will end up consuming less processed food
Your nutritional knowledge will increase
Stabilizes blood sugar and controls appetite
To learn more about this topic, learn more here from Parade.com.

 

Finally

It’s never easy to have to live gluten-free, but there are increasingly more food choices in a metropolitan city like Hong Kong.  If you’ve been trying to figure out how to get your hands on gluten-free Hong Kong products, we hope this guide helps.

With online health food platforms like The Store Hong Kong popping up and with restaurants generally becoming more understanding, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding what you need.

One of the advantages of a gluten-free diet is that you can adapt it to work with the keto diet, helping prevent medical issues like epilepsy and diabetes.

If we have missed any tips that make your gluten-free life better in Hong Kong, please help the community, and add them in the comments below.

If you’d like to learn more about healthy food in Hong Kong, both in terms of where to shop and where to dine out check out: Healthy Food Hong Kong: Guide to shopping & eating out.

 

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