Traveling To A Foreign Country…How To Eat Gluten-Free
¿Cómo se dice GLUTEN-FREE en español?
I travel for a living, therefore, I eat in many restaurants, and I do it often in foreign countries.
First, In languages that I can get my tongue around, like French or Spanish, I learn how to say “I am allergic to gluten”. I like the website Google Translate. This is what Google Translate translated when I wrote: “I am allergic to gluten” to Spanish: Soy alérgico al gluten. But, after discussing this with a native speaker, they advised me to say that I am allergic to wheat and flour (Soy alérgico al trigo y la harina). The native Columbian-Spanish speaker advised this because in many rural parts, gluten is not a known word. I like this advice, what is the point of saying that I am allergic to something that does not translate?
Before leaving to a non-English speaking destination, I do research at home on google translate. I translate a few gluten-free phrases for eating out, and then print what I think represents what I am trying to say. (Things like: Do you have a gluten-free menu? Do you have gluten-free options? I am allergic to Gluten. etc,) Next, there is always someone in a hotel or tourism office that can help you to pronounce the phrase as well as advise you on your best approach as exactly what to say. Sometimes the person helping is willing to write my questions in their language, on a piece of paper. This person is usually familiar with the local customs and level of understanding celiac disease/gluten-free. Let me be clear here, the translator may not understand what gluten-free or celiac disease is, but, they will usually understand the comprehension level of the population that I am visiting, with regards to the population knowing what gluten is, or not.
I was in Brugge, and absolutely stood no chance of pronouncing anything correctly in Flemish. So, I went to the tourism office, explained what I needed and the representative was kind enough to write my allergies on a piece of paper which I presented at restaurants. People have been very kind in helping me with this eating out, gluten-free issue in a foreign country. It is really very simple, just make sure that the person helping you understands that they must convey (on your behalf) that you have zero tolerance for your ‘allergen’. And if you are in Brugge, go to that delicious french fry stand (there are two, and both are awesome) in the main square, french fries ONLY in their fryer. And by the way, this is where fries originated. Yum! (And, another by-the-way, gluten-free Belgium Beer, gluten-free moules and gluten-free fries, why aren’t you planning your trip right now???) Or dine in a restaurant there with ease, satisfactorily eating gluten-free fries and of course moules!
If you feel uncomfortable, as usual, there is always fruit and a salad, but do not forget about the grocery stores, many stores in Europe and some of the big cities in South America have gluten-free options. And, don’t forget to look up the translation for “gluten-free” so that you can look for it in a foreign language on the label! Often the store will have gluten-free items in one area, thank you nice store people!
I would like to emphasize that the google translator is not always exactly what you need, but it is a good starting point. Print the translation and then ask a person that is educated in both languages if it makes sense.
Here are two gluten-free guide books:
I have only poked around on these sites a limited amount due to the fact, that I do pretty well on my own. But, I thought that I would include them if you are newer to achieving gluten-free in a foreign tongue. Good luck!