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Beloved

Gluten Free In Japan?

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I'm going to be in Japan for a month and a half. Obviously I'm going to be eating alot of rice, but are there any foods I should specifically avoid? Are there anything you would suggest (snacks, meals) that I can definitely eat?

How do you say 'Gluten' in Japanese?

Thanks!

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How about just in general Asian countries?

Sorry, I am not much help. But if you do a search on "Japan" a lot of topics come up including some board members that live/lived in Japan. Maybe that will help you.

Gina

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Hi,

here's a link to a post about my trip to Japan this year.

http://www.glutenfreeforum.com/index.php?s...mp;#entry344544

As someone metioned there are other posts about Japan in the travel and international sections that are full of good information. Don't assume that it's any easier to be gluten-free in Japan. They don't prepare food from scratch as much as one would think. Processed foods and ingredients are abundant and as full of gluten as our foods are. Soy sauce is in so many things. Barley is something to be aware of and is in tea(mugicha) and miso. Please read the discussions on miso to be aware of issues with the processing and labeling and those on sushi are helpful as well.

http://www.glutenfreeforum.com/index.php?s...mp;#entry363072

I recommend getting the Triumph dining cards international pack. They have a card for Japanese.

Good luck and come back with any questions as they come up.

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Thank you very much! You've been a huge help. I will definitely bring some mixes and cookies and crackers with me from the gluten-free store, and I'll try and learn more about what I can eat there before I go. Thanks again!

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I'm going to be in Japan for a month and a half. Obviously I'm going to be eating alot of rice, but are there any foods I should specifically avoid? Are there anything you would suggest (snacks, meals) that I can definitely eat?

How do you say 'Gluten' in Japanese?

Thanks!

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hi

Here's a list of things NOT to eat

You also have to be careful of the rice balls (onigiri) at places like 7-11 They also have soy sauce which many Japanese chefs dont know contains wheat. Its good idea to pack a bottle of san-j wheat free soy sauce.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are everywhere. Almost every train station in Tokyo has a fruit shop nearby.

グルテン is gluten

私 は 病 気 で す

私の病気はセリアック病といいます.日本ではまれな病気です.小麦などの穀物に含まれる,グルテンというたんぱく質に対するアレルギーです.

普段私は特別食を食べてます.だから日本でも食べられないものが多いです.以下のものは食べられませんので,私に勧めないでください.無理して食べると腸がおかしくなり,ひどい下痢を起こして栄養失調になって困ります.

食べられないもの:

パン 唐ガラシ

甘みのついたパン ミートローフ

クラッカー グレイビーソース

グラハムクラッカー クリームソース

ビスケット パン粉をまぶした食品 (とんかつ,コロッケ等)

ウェファース マカロニ

パンケーキ ラザーニャ

アイスクリーム用のコーン スパゲッティ

パン種なしの平たいパン バーミセリ

マカロン ラビオリ

ケーキ うどん

クッキー そば

リンゴ入り蒸し団子 七面鳥や鳥の詰め物料理の中身

ドーナッツ

プレッツェル

パイ皮

ロールケーキ

小麦麦芽

シリアル

オートミール

Where will you be in Japan and when? I might be able to recommend some places to eat although no one there speaks English.

hope this helps

Ken

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Hi Beloved

I'm going to Japan for 3 weeks in Jan-Feb and have been trying to get my head around eating there for a while now-I've had various suggestions from people that I've compiled into one document that I'd be happy to email you if I had your address but it is probably too big to put here. When and where are you going? If you trawl back through the responses on this site you should be able to find what everyone said to me.

The general message is that eating out is quite difficult as there is little understanding of Coeliac's Disease and very many items contain wheat (such as soy sauce and most soba (buckwheat) noodles). Apparetnly Tamari (wheat free soy sauce) can be found in health food shops but then again health food shops are not so easy to find so proabably best to bring your own.

Some Misos also have barley in them. According to some posts ifood tems are not labelled well so even in the company of a competent translator packaged foods could still present a problem. People recopmmeded taking a lunch box with you if you need to accompany others to restaurants and taking some gluten-free snacks with you for emergencies-naturally many foods (rice, corn/maize, nuts, seeds, fish, meat, fruit, veggies, eggs, are all gluten free) but care is needed with contamination in cooking water, oils, pots and so on.

I plan to send myself a box of food before I go with soups, snacks, nut bars, protein bars, maize torillas, tinned fish for example and then will be cooking where I'm staying most of the time-will take my food with me to restaurants so my family don't have to miss out completely on the experience of eating out

hope this helps

LeonieGwen

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My dietitian told me to look out for seasoned rice. It contains a vinegar that is not gluten free.

Enjoy your trip!!! I would love to go to Japan!

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My boyfriend is from Japan and we plan to go thereto visit his family in the next year or so. So, since I have someone with me who can explain my issues in Japanese to the chefs, do you think this will make things easier? Can you do sushi there as long as the fish is not marinated? My boyfriend totally understands all the nuances of the gluten issue and is totally on top of it.

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Depending on where your boyfriends family is from, it may be very easy or very hard to find gluten free soy sauce or a health food store.

Can't hurt to bring a bottle with you so you can enjoy sushi with shoyu. You can have some things like karaage if they are "breaded" with katakuri -- 100% potato starch. You just have to be very careful that new oil is used and that the starch really is 100% potato.

Many of the onigiri or rice balls that people take for granted as being only rice and fillings, also contain some soy sauce and other wheat fillers.

Creative chefs in small restaurants will go out of their way to fix you something special though. If you've never been there, your in for a great treat and experience.

gambatte!

Ken

My boyfriend is from Japan and we plan to go thereto visit his family in the next year or so. So, since I have someone with me who can explain my issues in Japanese to the chefs, do you think this will make things easier? Can you do sushi there as long as the fish is not marinated? My boyfriend totally understands all the nuances of the gluten issue and is totally on top of it.

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Hi! I lived in Japan for two years and speak and read Japanese, so might be able to help a little. What everyone has said has been very helpful- in particular, you need to be careful with convenience store food as it often has wheat in the form of soy sauce. Even onigiri rice balls can have small amounts of soy sauce on the nori wrapper, or have soy sauce used to season the rice, as with fried rice balls. I did find Lawsons brand convenience store to be a good option- as of a year or so ago they did not use soy sauce in many of their rice balls. You can learn to spot the character for WHEAT in an ingredient list- I have a handout for this if you're interested, or you can see it here:

小麦

Wheat is required by law to be listed on ingredient labels along with the other top allergens- it will either be in the body of the label or at the end in parenthesis.

Avoid fake seafoods of any kind as it probably contains wheat. Sashimi raw fish and most nigiri/ kinds of sushi are generally safe as long as they don't contain sauce (avoid eel or tempura, obviously)- I never had problems with the vinegar. Miso should generally be avoided although at times white miso can be *relatively* gluten free (see koji starter discussion). I have a dietary card that I made up for a woman who was traveling in Japan and was vegetarian- I'd be happy to send it to you (sans veggie stuff) if you'd like. I found it useful to explain either that I have an illness that doesn't allow me to eat gluten or "I have an allergy to gluten." My friend that I helped said the latter was most easily communicated and people understood and responded very well to it. Also, most people don't know that gluten includes wheat, rye, oats, and barley so I think it's good for a dietary card to start with that.

I hope you have a great trip and feel free to email me if you'd like dietary cards to take with you. I plan on doing a post on my blog, www.bookofyum.com about being gluten-free and vegetarian in Japan, with travel tips and diet cards, but I have been caught up with other stuff and haven't gotten around to it. Oops!

Take care and happy travels,

Sea

PS Definitely bring your own wheat free soy sauce in your luggage and/or get convenient condiment packs of gluten-free soy sauce- they're a lifesaver. Kaiten zushi (conveyer belt sushi) restaurants are your best friend!

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Thank you so much for your responses!

I've been having trouble with the internet and couldn't access this site for some time, but it's fixed now. I greatly appreciate your responses and help!

Also, I have found out a few things myself:

-The Hard Rock Cafe is not safe for Celiacs in Japan, everything on their menu contains MSG

-Komugiko is the word for flour in Japanese, however it is actually wheat flour, so it must be avoided. You can get rice flour by asking the supermarket people for rice powder.

-Komugi, oomugi, raimugi, o-tsu- and shouyu are big no-nos (they're the gluten grains and soysauce).

-Sushi places are generally off limits, they all seem to put soy sauce on anything.

-The triumph dining cards are LIFE SAVERS. I literally had a waitress run back like someone trying to jump in front of a speeding bullet when she found out the dish I ordered had wheat in it. It was rather comical, she literally pulled the dish out from under me as I was about to dig in.

-Supermarket staff will be generally helpful and if you explain celiac to them they will normally read the ingredients for you and do their best to make sure none of the no-no ingredients are in what you buy.

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I spent a week in the Tokyo area and had a lot of trouble eating out. I did have one meal at an OUTBACK and had lots of help at the Tokyo Disney resorts. Tokyo Disney Sea and Disneyland employees were extremely helpful and would provide a translator so I could speak to the chefs. I had great meals at Disney! However, outside of Disney was another story. In general the restaurant owners would shake their heads when I handed them my card with the Japanese translation for my dietary needs. They would very politely and respectfully refuse to alter their menus in any way. I got the idea that they had too much pride to serve food that they didn't consider to be flavorful. They would not even bring me plain rice because "it wouldn't be good". Fortunately, I was staying at my daughter's apartment (she works at Disneyland) and brought a LOT of my own food along. I loved Japan. I just couldn't eat there!

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It's too bad you couldnt find places. Next time you go back, let us know and I'll send you some names of places that will prepare gluten-free meals and keep gluten-free soy sauce on hand.

Ken

I spent a week in the Tokyo area and had a lot of trouble eating out. I did have one meal at an OUTBACK and had lots of help at the Tokyo Disney resorts. Tokyo Disney Sea and Disneyland employees were extremely helpful and would provide a translator so I could speak to the chefs. I had great meals at Disney! However, outside of Disney was another story. In general the restaurant owners would shake their heads when I handed them my card with the Japanese translation for my dietary needs. They would very politely and respectfully refuse to alter their menus in any way. I got the idea that they had too much pride to serve food that they didn't consider to be flavorful. They would not even bring me plain rice because "it wouldn't be good". Fortunately, I was staying at my daughter's apartment (she works at Disneyland) and brought a LOT of my own food along. I loved Japan. I just couldn't eat there!

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Ken in a post recently you said that you coudl recommend some restaurants in Japan that are gluten frienly-I've been after this information since I joined this forum many months ago to no avail-if anyone knows any such restaurants in Sapporo, Neseko or Osaka or Kyoto I'd be really grateful for this information

thanks

LeonieGwen -I am leaving in 4 days time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Depending on where your boyfriends family is from, it may be very easy or very hard to find gluten free soy sauce or a health food store.

Can't hurt to bring a bottle with you so you can enjoy sushi with shoyu. You can have some things like karaage if they are "breaded" with katakuri -- 100% potato starch. You just have to be very careful that new oil is used and that the starch really is 100% potato.

Many of the onigiri or rice balls that people take for granted as being only rice and fillings, also contain some soy sauce and other wheat fillers.

Creative chefs in small restaurants will go out of their way to fix you something special though. If you've never been there, your in for a great treat and experience.

gambatte!

Ken

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Hope you have a great trip.

I can only help you in Tokyo I'm afraid.

Just bring a few bottles of gluten-free soy sauce with you unless you can get someone to take you to a health food store.

They have a quinoa soy sauce and sorghum soy sauce at many of them.

There is a chain of restaurants called Be-good cafe (in English) which has some branches in the Kansai area which might have something. The one in Tokyo does and when the president visited Hawaii last year he told me there would be gluten-free items on the menu in the future. Just didnt say when.

Many of the places will give you a selection of salts to dip things in, ume plum salt, macha green tea salt and so on. They are usually really good. In Kyoto you can try yuba which is where you cook your own tofu at the table and eat it as it firms dipping it in salt. That is if soy is no problem. Just dont try the other salts.

Sorry I cant be of more help.

I forgot how long you'll be there but if yoru still there in march I'll send my number on Tokyo when I get back there.

Good luck

Ken in a post recently you said that you coudl recommend some restaurants in Japan that are gluten frienly-I've been after this information since I joined this forum many months ago to no avail-if anyone knows any such restaurants in Sapporo, Neseko or Osaka or Kyoto I'd be really grateful for this information

thanks

LeonieGwen -I am leaving in 4 days time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I went to Japan in 2006 and looking back on it, I probably ate tons of gluten foods (I was just diagnosed this year, so I had no idea). But it's great to know there is hope for visiting Japan again and being able to eat! ;) Research is definitely crucial. I will look to see if Lonely Planet travel guides may have some information on restaurants and perhaps allergy information.

Hope you had fun on your trip, Beloved!

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I am in Japan now and staying for 3 months but so far (2 weeks) I haven't gotten sick thankfully. I think basic things to avoid are:

soy sauce

breading

most sauces (they use soy sauce in almost every sauce)

noodles (even buckwheat, unless you can read japanese or know someone who can and they can confirm that it is 100% buckwheat)

On to the positives:

I am lucky, my friend's wife is Japanese so she can check pakaging for me.

A serious investment would be to buy the Triumph Dining Cards.

Japanese are really kind and they understand you have special needs and will help you. I have had several Japanese friends talking to waiters and the waiters were very patient and would go and check on all the food for us.

Tamari (gluten-free) soysauce is available here and I have seen it several times

I have found rice noodles

They have lots of fruit and veggies

Rice

Potatoes

Beans

meats

Rice crackers (should be checked to make sure they have no flour)

That is all I have discovered so far, I'll try to put more information as I learn more. :D

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At good highend soba shops you can ask for

juwari soba which is the 100% buckwheat. It also tastes much better.

At some of the shops you can get sobagaki which are soba dumplings of a sort and really great.

As you mentioned, its important to check rice noodles and rice crackers to make sure its all rice.

Much of those are ot -- You also have to be very careful or onigiri, the rice balls at family mart, 7-11 etc. they often contain wheat fillers and shoyu. Ask your friends wife to teach you the kanji for komugi -- wheat and it will make it easier to check things.

good luck

ken

I am in Japan now and staying for 3 months but so far (2 weeks) I haven't gotten sick thankfully. I think basic things to avoid are:

soy sauce

breading

most sauces (they use soy sauce in almost every sauce)

noodles (even buckwheat, unless you can read japanese or know someone who can and they can confirm that it is 100% buckwheat)

On to the positives:

I am lucky, my friend's wife is Japanese so she can check pakaging for me.

A serious investment would be to buy the Triumph Dining Cards.

Japanese are really kind and they understand you have special needs and will help you. I have had several Japanese friends talking to waiters and the waiters were very patient and would go and check on all the food for us.

Tamari (gluten-free) soysauce is available here and I have seen it several times

I have found rice noodles

They have lots of fruit and veggies

Rice

Potatoes

Beans

meats

Rice crackers (should be checked to make sure they have no flour)

That is all I have discovered so far, I'll try to put more information as I learn more. :D

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