It’s a little bit of a challenge to be a gluten-free traveler, but that shouldn’t stop you from experiencing the world. All you need is a little research — and for some of these places, you don’t even need that much research at all. As the world becomes more aware of celiac disease, accommodations are made to ensure that everyone gets in on the fun of delicious, hearty local foods. Here are the 10 best cities for gluten-free travelers who want to eat like locals.
Before you get too comfortable, make sure you cover your bases with our guide for gluten-free traveling. Nothing is worse than having to spend your precious vacation time feeling, well, not too good. When traveling to foreign countries, make sure you bring a small gluten-free card that clearly states you cannot eat various gluten products in the language of your destination. It would be wise to practice the pronunciation as well.
To choose these cities, we consulted Uma Naidoo, who teaches nutrition at Harvard; Erin Smith, author of the blog Gluten-Free Globetrotter; and Camilla Carboni, nutritionist and co-author of the best-selling book PALEO Cleanse. There are plenty of specialized gluten-free vacations, but we don’t want you to feel special in these travel destinations; we want you to feel like everyone else.
For that reason, many of the cities on this list, like Cochin, have culinary cultures that are, for the most part, gluten-free by default. You might have to ask for gluten-free options at your local Mexican restaurant, but you certainly don’t have to on the streets of Mexico City, where the tortillas are almost always made with corn. We also included cities on this list, like Denver, that make an effort to be gluten-friendly, and chose only the ones that are very, very good at it.
What are you waiting for? Start writing your itineraries and your gluten-free cards right now.
Since Ireland has one of the highest rates of celiac disease in the world, the Irish make sure that everyone can enjoy hearty meals. You can even enjoy gluten-free fish and chips at Beshoff Bros. No matter what cuisine you crave, you can rest assured that they have a gluten-friendly version of it in Dublin. The Coeliac Society of Ireland is one of the most helpful resources for travel around Ireland; every gluten-free traveler should use their resources. Gallagher’s Boxty House in Temple Bar has an entirely gluten-free menu.
Japanese cuisine is so abundant in rice, seafood, and meats that you’ll find plenty of delicious local options in many restaurants. Definitely be alert and make sure you ask whether anything you’re about to eat contains soy or mirin (here’s where that gluten-free card will come in handy), but one of the best things about Japanese food is that it is laid out so neatly that you would easily be able to spot something suspicious. Japan also sells plenty of gluten-free soy sauces, so you can carry one with you when you eat sushi. For a truly fun-filled night, go to Robot Restaurant in Tokyo’s red light district.