Be prepared it’s a long blog this month… may be an idea to get the kettle on!
I have recently been lucky enough to go back and visit my family in Australia, incorporating a stop off in Singapore for a couple of nights. We had an amazing time, with some fabulous experiences and great food along the way… gluten free of course!
We flew with Singapore Airlines from Manchester, they were great and able to accommodate my gluten free diet really well. I advised them when we booked that I would require a gluten free diet and when boarding they confirmed my dietary needs and popped a little sticker on the back of my seat. They served me my meals first to ensure there was no mix up and there was certainly plenty for me to eat and I had no need to go hungry. My favourite dish had to be an omelette filled with smoked salmon, I had taken a Juvela Gluten Free Roll in my hand luggage so this went perfectly with it!
Top Tip – Coeliacs can apply for additional hand luggage to take gluten free foods with them, you may need a doctor’s note and always check with your airline before booking/travelling. If you’re taking long-life bread with you, in the cabin it is fine, but if going in main luggage in the hold then you will need to pierce the packaging first due to the loaves and rolls being vacuum packed. There is more information on Coeliac UK’s website about travelling abroad.
Singapore is an amazing destination and although we were only there for 2 nights we did manage to get about and explore, incorporating a few meals along the way. The advantage of being there for less time was that we could afford to treat ourselves to a really good hotel. We booked the ParkRoyal on Pickering and it turned out to be a great choice. Lime Restaurant within the hotel offered a gluten free menu and I enjoyed a delicious Thai style salad with chicken for my lunch and a tasty soup and savoury rice dish for dinner. The chefs were all aware of Coeliac Disease and the need for a gluten free diet. We also had breakfast one morning at the Fullerton Hotel and again they had gluten free options to choose from too!
It was very hot during our visit to Australia so we didn’t tend to have huge lunches. However, during a lovely trip on the water from Sydney to Parramatta we stopped at Port Bar at Parramatta. I enjoyed a great sweet chilli chicken gluten free pizza. On another occasion I had a delicious lunch of grilled fish and salad, (which went perfectly with a chilled glass of white wine!) at the Beach Club in Watson Bay, taking in breath-taking views as we ate!
Our stay in Australia consisted of time with my family and also a week’s stay at the Sydney Harbour Rocks hotel. Although the hotel was able to offer great gluten free alternatives for breakfast with an abundance of fresh fruit, my favourite time had to be staying with my family. There is something “just right” about enjoying a cuppa out of a familiar cup and my sister in law is an amazing cook and extremely thoughtful and looked after us so well (I had my own butter and jam labelled up as gluten free).
All meals we ate with my family were splendid from steak, lamb chops, salad and sauté potatoes, risotto and a fabulous paella cooked by my brother! For lunch one day my sister in law made a tasty light lunch consisted of grilled halloumi and placed in “cups” of baby gem lettuce leaves drizzled with vinaigrette dressing….so simple but tasted delicious and fresh! We also tucked into gluten free puddings, purchased from Forth Village in Mosman, which is an award winning food market and restaurant. The gluten free orange and passion fruit polenta cake and beautiful rich chocolate cake tasted pretty special! The same shop also offered a magnificent array of individual gluten free cakes too.
My husband did lots of research online for places for us to eat out safely whilst staying in our hotel in Sydney and came across some hidden gems! We hit on a great Indian restaurant called the Spice Room and enjoyed some great curries there. We also visited Mr Wong’s Chinese restaurant and again they were able to offer gluten free options. I started off with a crab salad and then a savoury rice dish for my mains. Both of these restaurants were extremely popular, which is always a good sign, because of their popularity we did need to book in advance.
Australia is very switched on regarding catering for a gluten free diet and when eating out there does seem to be plenty of options, however it is always important to chat through with staff and ensure good understanding regarding eliminating cross contamination risks before you order. And as usual go with your gut instinct and if in doubt don’t risk it!
So to sum up my trip to Australia, it was a magical time spent with magical people enjoying super gluten free food… wishing you all safe gluten free travels near and far!