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Gluten Free food in Patong???

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Level Contributor
19 posts
4 reviews
Gluten Free food in Patong???


I am a coeliac travelling to Phuket for 8 days in June. Being a coeliac means I can only eat gluten and wheat free food. Will I have much trouble finding gluten free food at restaurants and on the street? Also, will it be easy for me to communicate with restaurant staff to explain my situation? It would be a bummer constantly getting sick on my holiday.

Any advice will help. Thank you!

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
1,264 posts
58 reviews
1. Re: Gluten Free food in Patong???

Hi Andrea, The Coeliac Society used to supply little cards with a message written in various languages to say 'I am a coeliac and can not eat wheat etc etc' or something to that effect. There may have been one in Thai. They offer advice for overseas travel and publish a magazine that always has readers' letters re eating while overseas. If you're not already a member I'd recommend them. Just Google 'coeliac society'.

Our daughter is a coeliac and has travelled to Thailand three times, once on her own, and has not got sick (although more recently it would be masked by serious drinking sessions I think!). She sticks to dishes with rice noodles and rice - easy to do in Thailand. Pad Thai is a certainty - it seems to be gluten free by default. The more soy saucy dishes are more of a risk, but many dishes seem to be based on chilli, lime juice, fish sauce and lemongrass so it's reasonable easy to avoid gluten. I don't think you can eat bread anywhere (we didn't see any g/free bread) but hey, you're in Thailand, you don't go there for bread! I'd steer clear of the western food.

Good luck - but I think you'll be OK - it is one of the easier countries to cater for a gluten-free diet!

Destination Expert
for Ko Samui, Thailand
Level Contributor
16,931 posts
58 reviews
2. Re: Gluten Free food in Patong???


We have family friends whom travel to Thailand for business all the time and they said Thailand is the best when come to gluten free food.

As the poster above says in Thailand the noodle are made from rice flour( except the the yellow noodle which added egg to it). If you're stick to rice dishes and noodle you should be fines.

Good luck

Level Contributor
503 posts
4 reviews
3. Re: Gluten Free food in Patong???

Hi Andrea C, I am a coeliac and have been to Thailand several times. This last time I had pancakes that were made with rice flour. Yummy banana and mango ones. These are not the crepe type ones but a block they stretch into a pancake not liquid. I also had cocktails but stayed with the tequila vodka and gin based ones. I only eat the dishes with rice noodles and rice. In fact I think I have more reactions to food in Australia than Thai food.

Level Contributor
503 posts
4 reviews
4. Re: Gluten Free food in Patong???

OOps I forgot to mention that i take a insulated bag with muffins i make and some gluten free bread and a big supply of almonds and also gluten free chips to go with the dutyfree. I put a iceblock in with them.. Its not a problem taking food out of Australia just coming in. I take the bread to breakfast and make my own toast to go with eggs etc.I found that the restaurants dont understand what gluten and wheat free means.

Level Contributor
808 posts
12 reviews
5. Re: Gluten Free food in Patong???

We've had many coeliac divers here and I've never heard of problems. You already know what to avoid in the way of bread etc and Thai cooking rarely, if ever, uses any kind of flour. The card that the Coeliac Society produces, but I think you'll find that as long as you exercise the same caution as you do at home, you'll be OK.

Gold Coast
4 posts
1 review
6. Re: Gluten Free food in Patong???

Both my wife and daughter are coeliacs (which makes my diet gluten free at home by default), and they have never had any problems. Most rice and noodle dishes are fine. They stay away from anything fried.

We sometimes found it hard to communicate gluten free with the waiters but you'll have plenty of options.

Level Contributor
19 posts
4 reviews
7. Re: Gluten Free food in Patong???

Thanks so much everyone for the replies! Definitely feeling more prepared (and excited!) about my holiday :)

Level Contributor
2,096 posts
168 reviews
8. Re: Gluten Free food in Patong???

I have found many times over the years that the cards produced by the coeliac society don't work. They simply confuse the waiters/waitresses. The language used on them is to complex

I agree with all of the above posters. If you are worried at all I would take a Thai cooking course this way you get to see what kind of ingredients that the Thai's use.

Be careful with the pancakes as very few are GF.

I also used to take bread and put in the hotel freezer (ask management) but now I don't bother heaps of food which you can eat.


Christchurch, New...
Level Contributor
161 posts
4 reviews
9. Re: Gluten Free food in Patong???

Hi kiwiozPerth.

You said "*** last time I had pancakes that were made with rice flour."

May I ask you - where did you get the RICE flour pancakes from?

Thank you. ;)

New South Wales...
1 post
2 reviews
10. Re: Gluten Free food in Patong???

I went with a group of friends to Phuket last month (and we often travelled into Patong to spend the day there). I'm coelliac and never found any trouble there. I mainly just stuck to dishes with rice (i've nevered liked rice noodles, tried them over there and my verdict was still the same). None of us ever eat at the street stalls, i know people say most of them are fine but when we got there and saw the hygeine standards common sense kicked in and we just stuck to places that looked clean. The good thing is every place we went to had menus in english and gave you an idea of what the dish had in it (if you go to a place with lots of tourists chances would be it'd be in english)... Its suprising how much of it you can eat! I never worried about the gluten free cards, honestly, the english in most of the places outide of the resort was pretty basic so would just over complicate things.

A good place to eat in Patong was in the shopping mall called "cafe 101", there were plenty of dishes there that you could eat, was very clean and was super fast! They even said as we were leaving "ok, we see you tomorrow" (it was our favourite place and went there quite a bit!)

A tip for the plane ride over would be to chuck a snack in your bag once you get through security, the meals weren't too flash on our flight and on a 9 hour flight, you tend to get a bit hungry!

I wouldn't be concerned what so ever if i were you. On a lot of the day tours we went on they provided snacks and lunch. Everthing is so fresh over there and you can actually see what was in the food so can make a judgement on what you can and can't eat. They say that the local soy sauce is fine, when i went on the tours and the dishes ih soy sauce i didn't feel any effect. i didn't worry about bringing foods on those trips, i all else fails, they'll have fruit! Note though, i can tolerate a tiny bit of gluten so this could be why i didn't feel ill. I don't want to alarm you if you're a strict no gluten person but just still be aware of what your eating, ifyou think i might have gluten, stop eating eat (same goes for if you think that something could give you food poisoning, if it tastes funny chances are its probably no ment to taste like that - no one wants to get sick on their holiday!)

Well i hope this helps and you'll have a blast over there!!