Travelling with food intolerances, a finicky gut, or allergies doesn’t have to hinder from experiencing foreign cuisine. Short of eating the offending foods, there are lots of ways to have an immersive experience in a foreign food culture. Plus with growing international recognition of more common intolerances like gluten and lactose, many regions now accommodate for bellyaching ingredients.
Research Your Destination
Allergens can be hiding in unsuspecting locations. Don’t fly blind into the new food territory you will be exploring. Familiarize yourself with the ingredients in common dishes and get an idea of what foods you typically will and will not be able to eat. From here, a quick Google of the dish names plus ‘without’, the allergen, and your destination, can yield a search result of restaurants specializing in accommodating food allergies and intolerances within their cuisine.
Book a Food Market Tour or Cooking Class
Food culture and cuisine is so much more than the sole act of consumption. Prior to food on the table, there is a rich network of production and preparation that goes into every bite. Becoming acquainted with the history and tradition of a cuisine can provide invaluable insight to the food culture around you. Arranging a tour or class can be a way to engage with the cultural foundation of the cuisine without actually needing to eat the food. More often than not, the leaders of such classes and tours are passionate ‘foodies’ and chefs eager to answer questions and provide further suggestions or restaurant recommendations.
Print Out An Explanation Card In The Local Language
Avoid the potential for accidents by having a print out explanation of your dietary requirement on hand. More often than not, the culinary gems of a destination are hidden deep in local areas and may not have a staff able to communicate in your language of preference. While gestures and a round of charades can get you pretty far, avoid having anything lost in translation by being able to produce a card explaining your requirements. Simply use a translation program before your departure and print up a few to have on hand or saved on your mobile device.