Before I start, I just want to point out that I am not a celiac. This is a recount of where we ate to cater for my Mother in Law (who is celiac) during our three day visit to Hiroshima. The good, the bad and the ugly. It is also important to note that because Japan is not very gluten free friendly, my Mother in Law had to take risks with cross contamination so any place listed, could have a risk of this but she personally, experienced no problems.
This is a fantastic restaurant that understands gluten free. It came highly recommended by other celiac tourists and we certainly agree. They were able to create my Mother in Law any Okinomiyaki of her choosing using a range of ingredients so that she had some options. From what I could see, it looked just like regular Okinomiyaki just without the udon or soba noodles. They even provided gluten free Okinomiyaki sauce which she loved and we were able to buy her, her own bottle at the airport with ‘Gluten Free’ clearly labelled in English.
Last orders are at 10:30pm which makes it a great place to eat if you get into Hiroshima late like we did. Be warned though, they don’t always answer their phone so you will just have to turn up instead of making a reservation.
Roopali Honten: Indian Restaurant
This restaurant was perfectly located next to Hiroshima Shinkansen station and it really helped that they spoke English. After a disastrous lunch at MOS burger (I’ll explain later), I rang them up, checked they could provide gluten free options and booked a table for later that evening. It was all very easy and they were true to their word! My Mother in Law could select anything she wanted from the grilled appetiser menu, have any curry and could have plain rice. She had a feast and we all left with full, happy bellies.
Cafe Ponte: Italian Cafe
This restaurant is conveniently located next to the Peace Memorial Park on the river. It is bigger than it looks and provides its very own gluten free menu. There were about five or six different options on it and they all looked good. My Mother in Law chose roast chicken with potatoes and a mustard dressing and she loved it. A perfect stop after visiting the museum and Peace Dome.
All three of these restaurants were perfect for our trip. We did attempt a MOS Burger for lunch one day and it was a disaster. Despite reviews saying they provide gluten free options, the Hiroshima branch was not very well versed in their gluten free menu. At first they said there were no options. Then they said she could have a soy burger with no bread but when we asked for a soy burger in a lettuce roll, they said they couldn’t do it because it wasn’t on the menu. After a very frustrating 15 minutes, we discovered she could eat a hotdog or burger from the ‘Low Allergen’ menu but the hotdog arrived microwaved and still in its plastic seal so when my Mother in Law opened it, the bread roll resembled more of a soggy mochi lump than a hotdog.
Needless to say it was a disaster but I have read many reviews saying gluten free food options from other branches of MOS burger around Japan were OK. I don’t think we will be rushing back anytime soon though.
As stated before, I am not a celiac and therefore I have been very reliant on our ‘Gluten Free’ Japanese information card printed from the celiac travel website and trusted the restaurant staff when they say yes or no. I have found that restaurant staff in Japan are very careful and will not take risks so we have had no incidents where my Mother in Law has been ill but there have been a few occasions when my Mother in Law felt she could have eaten something but the staff have said no. No matter what, I am just pleased we were able to enjoy our time in Hiroshima illness free.
Now we just need to navigate finding gluten free options in our small town of Makuhari and Tokyo for the remainder of their trip! We have already exhausted Sushiro and Yakiniku so wish us luck.