Gluten-Free Travel: Sydney, Australia

When I was young, I adored business travel. I was lucky that my husband had the kind of job that allowed him to travel with me, and I was lucky that my husband saw all kinds of great things while I…worked. I am deeply grateful for the opportunities I had (and have), but business travel comes with a lot of challenges.

I’m writing this from my hotel room in Sydney, Australia. First, if you can visit this amazing city, do so. Pack great walking shoes, and come prepared to be awed by the beauty that is Sydney. It’s perfectly situated, and incredibly easy to walk.

Oh, and it’s amazingly gluten-free aware. The last time I was here was right before I gave up gluten for good, so I didn’t really pay attention to the GF scene. This time, of course, in addition to work, I’m focused on gluten-free eating in Sydney. This is a great destination for gluten-free people.

Highlights: lots and lots of gluten-free options. Clearly identifiable on menus. Yes, the usual caveats apply (most kitchens are not dedicated gluten free), but this is a city that makes eating gluten free almost…easy. Side note: on this trip, while I haven’t tried to eat vegetarian, it’s weird that I haven’t had meat. And I only noticed this while I was drafting this piece.

Here are just a couple of the restaurants I tried:

  • Glass Brasserie. This restaurant is run by a celebrity chef, and I was pleased that with a bit of modification, I could maintain my Meatless Month challenge while enjoying a great gluten-free meal. Pricey, but really good.
  • Grill’d. This chain is part of the fast-casual movement. You order at the counter, they serve you at the table. I had a veggie burger on a gluten-free bun (and it was good!). And I had the the sweet potato chips. They were incredibly crispy, and the hot chilli mayo was spicy in a good way.
  • . Okay, I admit it, I had the salmon. It was amazingly good, helpfully low carb, and a perfect portion. The menu items weren’t obviously marked gluten free, but my server and I managed to find the perfect meal for me.
  • Mr. Wong. My love of Chinese food, and my sadness at limited restaurant options is legendary. Mr. Wong’s menu includes lots of gluten free (or gluten-free modifiable) options, and I totally loved my king crab fried rice (though — warning! — the small was enough for three meals). I was seated at the bar near the cooks, and appreciated the chef who reassured me that my meal would be completely safe, going so far as to invite me to watch him prepare it. I did, but mostly because I was watching his technique!
  • Mylua. This tiny hole in the wall provided me with one of my rare indulgences: a gluten-free sandwich. Add to that the gluten-free burger I had at Grill’d, and I was over the top on GF bread. Since a couple of venues / airline attendants went out of their way to provide me with GF bread outside of this, I felt obliged to enjoy the bread they had kindly provided. I am totally carbed up after this trip!
  • Sheraton on the Park. There are multiple dining options in this hotel, and I admit I ate here more often than not as it was easy to hit the restaurants at the beginning and end of the working day). After checking in, I glanced at the room service menu, and was amazed by the gluten free and/or gluten free available options. For breakfast, I had an *amazing* chickpea omelette with avocado and a light salad. For dinner, I enjoyed a baked potato (really, Hasselback potato) one night and kimchi rice another (and, bonus!, that dish was enough for breakfasts for the next three days; way too much food). I avoided the buffets for obvious reasons. Oh, and the service was great with every meal. That is a bonus!

These are just of a few of the many, many gluten-free options in Sydney. I was a bit limited as this was a business trip, so I tended to only go to places that took my corporate card. When we go back for a vacation — and we really want to do a serious Australian vacation — I’ll be looking for different dining options!

Also, I was really pleased to see that most of the convenience stores in the Central Business District had fruit for sale in a visible spot. Grabbing an apple for a snack made my stomach happy!

Any favorite GF restaurants in Sydney you’d like to share? Please do!

Tip of the Week

Travel is hard on your digestive system whether or not you’re gluten free. Listen to your body, and if you find yourself not feeling well despite maintaining your gluten-free diet, retreat to the foods that you know make your body feel comfortable (for me, sigh, this is rice).

Gluten-Free Meal of the Week

It’s time for comfort food! Lots and lots of comfort food. Being from Southern California, my go-to comfort meal usually involves Mexican restaurants and avocados. Tacos, in particular, are my idea of what it means to return to my normal diet.

Actually, let’s be more specific: a return home requires the most special of special tacos. Breakfast tacos. Not traditionally Mexican (I’m fairly certain that people in Mexico enjoy tacos for breakfast, but concept is more closely identified with Texas).

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