Gluten Free Takeaway Food
An estimated 330,000 Australians (that’s 1 in 70) suffer from coeliac disease, with 80% of that number going undiagnosed. Coeliac disease is where the small intestine reacts abnormally to gluten, leading to difficulty in digesting food. Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, bloating, vomiting, cramping, and a whole bunch of other nasty stuff. Gluten, a type of protein, can be found in wheat and other grains — like wheat, rye, barley and oats — and can appear in anything from bread to unexpected products like ice cream (so cruel).
Food allergies, like being gluten free, can make eating out borderline chore-like. But a recent surge in the popularity of gluten free diets has lead to coeliac-friendly dishes becoming a common inclusion in restaurant menus, making it possible to enjoy some of your favourite takeaways without risking your health.
Check out our tips for ordering gluten free takeaway food from Australia’s most popular cuisines.
Real talk: Chinese menus are laden with dishes containing gluten. For example, classic Aussie favourites like honey chicken or sweet and sour pork are made with flour, so should be avoided.Dishes featuring thick sauces may also be thickened with flour; the safest option is to stick with light sauces or avoid them altogether. But! Some dishes fall outside the gluten danger zone…
Order: Egg drop soup; steamed vegetables, seafood or meat with gluten free (or no) sauce; rice noodle-based dishes like chow fun.
Pro Tip: Soy sauce usually contains wheat. Ask the restaurant to skip the soy and add your own tamari (wheat-free soy sauce) instead. And of course, make sure they understand your dietary requirement before you order, as some pans or oils may be used for multiple dishes.
Not so long ago, it was nearly impossible to find gluten free pizza on restaurant menus. Nowadays, however, plenty of pizza joints offer gluten free options (including some of the bigger chains). But, when you see ‘GF’ on the menu, be sure to clarify with the staff — some pizza places make all their crusts on the same surface, resulting in flour sneaking into gluten free bases.
Toppings-wise, many standard pizza toppings should be fairly safe (especially vegetables), although some sauces may also contain gluten (e.g. teriyaki).
Order: Almost anything on a gluten free base; avoid meat products like meatballs or sausages (unless specified to be gluten free).
Pro Tip: If you’re coeliac or especially sensitive, eating toppings that have been in contact with a wheat pizza base may still make you sick.
Gluten-wise, Indian food generally falls in the safe zone (win!). Nearly all Indian curries and vegetable dishes will be suitable, and rice is the perfect gluten free accompaniment. But, steer clear of naan and wheat-based dishes like samosas and paratha. We’d also recommend avoiding anything deep fried, in case the oil has touched any wheat products.
Dishes fromNorthern India may sometimes be accompanied by wheat instead of rice, although this is rare in Australian takeaway. Also, some Indian desserts may contain gluten in the form of suji, a kind of semolina used to make a popular sweet pudding.
Order: A whole range of curries and main dishes; for a carb fix, try papadams or dosa, both of which are made from lentil flour.
Pro Tip: Unlike Chinese food, Indian often uses yoghurt as a thickening agent rather than starch, meaning you can enjoy those richer, heavier sauces.
Another relatively safe gluten free takeout option, Thai food focuses on salads, soups, curries and rice noodles, all of which make excellent choices for folks with gluten sensitivities. While you can still enjoy most pad Thai, don’t assume that all rice noodle dishes are gluten free: pad see ew, for example, contains soy sauce (as do certain stir-fries).
You’ll also need to avoid many entrees, particularly those of the starchy, fried variety (think curry puffs and spring rolls). Rice and bean noodles are safe, but steer clear of bamii (egg noodles), which are made with wheat.
Order: Salads; stir-fries; soups; curries. Avoid fried, doughy dishes, egg noodles and soy, oyster, and some fish sauces.
Pro Tip: Some restaurants may use eggs from a carton for certain dishes (e.g. pad Thai), which may contain wheat.
Where to order gluten free Thai food
Sydney: Blue Pearl Bayview Waterfront Thai Restaurant
Melbourne: Charm Thai Restaurant
Brisbane: Mons Ban Sabai Thai
Perth: Paste Thai
Adelaide: Tanapa Thai Cafe and Restaurant
So many delicious, gluten free options to choose from on Menulog. So, go fourth, fret less, and order more!