How-to Not Get Gluten Sick While Traveling in a Foreign Country
[dropcap letter="I"]nternational travel, naturally presents an inherent challenge to gluten-free traveling because of the unfamiliarity, different cultural customs, and the ever-present language barrier. To carefully guard your health and avoid cross-contamination when traveling in a foreign country, know the right questions to ask, keywords to look out for, and be prepared to educate service staff when necessary. If you employ the skills that you have learned and practiced at home for avoiding cross-contamination, your chances for a safe experience abroad increase substantially.
Never assume anything and always double-check everything.
Although, it can be challenging, get to know the names of ingredients you cannot have in that country for efficiently scanning menus. This is when dining translation cards come in handy. Ask how the foods you are considering will be prepared and be on the look out for techniques such as dusting and dredging meats with flour. This is when having a general knowledge of how many foods are prepared can be beneficial, particularly overseas.
Minimally prepared and separated food.
Another good tactic for avoiding cross-contamination is to ask that foods be prepared minimally and separate from other ingredients that can be questionable. Confirm that the service staff understands exactly what you need, by having them repeat back to you in their words how they will prepare your meal. Even though, you may find certain cities to be quite accommodating to your needs and know how to avoid cross-contamination, you need to be prepared for the times when awareness of the issue is not what it should be.
Backcountry restaurants where the staff does not speak your language or cultures that are "people pleasures" like in Thailand or Laos are more prone to communication barriers. Regardless of where you are in the world, your strategy, and safety net boils down to how many questions you are willing and able to ask.