Finding Free from treasures on Lamma island , Hong Kong

On monday we took the ferry to Lamma, an island off Hong Kong island. Sadly the weather was poor. Cloudy with very little sunshine, but still a warm 27c.

It was a far shorter journey than I was expecting about 20 mins which as the sea was quite choppy, that was long enough!

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Lamma island is where many ex pats live. The island has no cars and the only mode of transport is bicycles. Many of which were parked up by the terminal ready for their owners arriving back later.

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As it was nearing lunch we went off in search of somewhere to eat. Now Lamma island is famous for its seafood restaurants all along the road from the ferry terminal. We decided on a small, clean looking restaurant called Beer and Babble seafood restaurant.

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The waiters were very friendly and spoke very good english. As always I had my trusty food intolerance translation sheet with me. Now looking slightly worse for wear! Sticky tape holding it together from an incident a few days ago. The waiter read it carefully and took it off to show the chef. I decided on grilled king prawns with plain boiled rice and broccoli. 

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A safe sensible choice, could of done with some lemon or something to cheer it up but at least I knew it was Free from.

After lunch we had a little look around the shops, only a few and not very exciting. Until we came to, Just Green a health food food with a good selection of gluten free and free from goodies. Now if only I could have found this shop a week ago! Anyway it was good to check it out and it will be useful for future visits to my Brother in law and his wife on Hong Kong island.

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A few doors away was an intriguing cafe, very quirky. I loved the look of it.

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Bookends cafe was a vegetarian cafe which had some gluten free and free from options so I had to try it out!

The blackboard had an array of gluten free, free from cakes written on it . I decided on an english breakfast tea and a slice of their gluten free carrot cake. Sadly they had sold out, so had to make do with some gluten free biscuits I had hidden away in my handbag for such occasions.

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The cafe had a lovely atmosphere and I can see why it is mentioned in the guide books.

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It was soon time to head back to the ferry terminal, I’m so glad we made the trip over. Otherwise we would have never discovered the free from treasures Lamma had to offer.

 

Life, A vegetarian restaurant in Hong Kong

On Sunday night we decided to give Life a try! It’s a vegetarian restaurant in Hong Kong

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The restaurant is right next to the Central Mid levels escalator. A small 3 levelled restaurant, we were taken to the top floor a lovely little roof terrace with wooden seats and small square tables. We were given a menu and I ordered a homemade lemonade and my husband ordered an organic white wine.

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It was exciting to see gluten free marked on a menu. The first time this holiday! I chose the sweet potato chips and asked them to hold the mayonnaise and ketchup. Stupidly I didn’t explain about the yeast intolerance immediately. The chips arrived with a small amount of vinegar on them. What a fool! Unfortunately then my husband accidentally knocked his wine glass over . Some landing in my chips. Not a great start! I had luckily or unluckily had tried a couple, they were fine nothing special. They didn’t taste like sweet potato or potato so not sure exactly what they were. Very tough when you can’t have a sauce to dip them in to.
Mr S had some polenta triangles which looked nice although he said they were quite dry and couldn’t get through the four of them.

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Unfortunately I couldn’t try them as they had mushroom in them. Vegetarian restaurants don’t actually seem a terribly good choice for me! Being yeast, onion and mushroom intolerant as well as gluten makes eating quite difficult sometimes. This restaurant would be great though if you are gluten and dairy intolerant.

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I was very excited about my main course, gluten free Pizza with sundried tomato and goats cheese. I suddenly panicked and double checked it was a yeast free base too. I was told immediately yes it was. But when it arrived it basically looked like a large slice of toasted gluten free bread. The bread was very spongy like a soft focaccia. I called the waitress over to double check about the yeast. I have never seen yeast free bread like this except when I have made soda bread. My pizza was now sitting in front of me. There was a lot of toing and froing and after 20 minutes of trying to speak to the Only person who knew what was in the ingredients the main chef. Who was not working that night. We finally had our answer Yes it was definitely free of yeast and contained some kind of Japanese gum!?
Now obviously my pizza/ toasted bread was stone cold. Things were not going well. Luckily my husband had chosen a gluten free pasta with a spicy vegetarian sauce which he enjoyed. Although he was terribly stressed about the pizza situation.

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It also turned out that the cheese was actually vegetarian goats cheese so made from some yeast product, so I had to remove that before I could start. Anyway the Pizza was fine, definitely just toasted bread with tomato on , but a tasty snack.
Still hungry I decided to look at the pudding menu.

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Thought I would give the chocolate flour less cake a go. The waitress then brought over a sheet which showed its ingredients and in large letters it read gluten free yeast free! If only they had one of those for the main courses!

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I have to say the cake was the driest crumbliest cake I have eaten in a long time. Nothing like the beautiful homemade gluten free cakes I can make or buy in the UK. Had to ask for some glasses of water to help us get through our one piece to share.
So, not the best of evenings. Luckily we were on our own so it didn’t wreck anyone else’s dining experience.
I think if you are only gluten intolerant then there would be some good choices of food at this restaurant, but if like me you have multiple intolerances better stick to places where you can have fish or meat with veggies.

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Family wedding in Hong Kong

Thursday 25th April was a very special day for our family. My husbands brother Phil was to marry his girlfriend Katy at the Renaissance Harbour view hotel in Wanchai, Hong Kong. Where Phil and Katy live and work.
The day started very early for my husband who was best man. Breakfast with the groom and ushers. Followed by a visit to the wedding hotel where they were set tasks by the bridesmaids to do various challenges. Feeding m&m’s with chop sticks, press ups with the groom on their backs and finally Phil had to woo his future bride in Cantonese. As a forfeit for not achieving all the goals the groom had to sing a song.
Then came the first of many tea ceremony’s to take place that day. The first one was for the brides parents. Following this the Bride and Groom came to our hotel where they served tea to the grooms parents and myself and my husband as elder siblings.

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Katy and her bridesmaids looked beautiful and it was a huge honour to be part of the ceremony. Katy wore a traditional Chinese wedding dress in gold and red, adorned with gold jewellery.

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After photo’s being taken in the foyer of our hotel, we all made our way to the Hotel in a minibus for a relaxed lunch with the brides parents. Following this the Bride and Groom travelled all over Hong Kong having pictures taken. The rest of us were able to go off for a rest and to prepare ourselves for the evenings celebrations.

Being very keen we arrived back to the wedding hotel an hour early so my sons and their girlfriends joined me for Pre drinks in the bar while the best man went off to help set up.

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The wedding was beautiful. We sat at our tables as Katy came in wearing a stunning white wedding dress, followed by her bridesmaids.
The registrar led the marriage ceremony and Phil and Katy made their promises to each other and gave each other wedding rings.

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The wedding was witnessed by 2 friends and it was announced that they were husband and wife. The wedding was a real East meets West with some traditionally Chinese parts and some familiar British ones. A relaxed family affair which brought me to tears for almost the entire evening.
A slide show was then shown of all the days events. That started me off again!

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A large buffet was set up for everyone and a special menu had been prepared for me which was stunning. Possibly the best wedding food I have ever had. The bride and groom had gone to so much extra effort for me, it was very kind.

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The evening finished with my husbands best man speech in English, and Cantonese by Herman the MC. Then the first dance by the Bride and Groom.
A day to remember forever!

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Photo’s were being taken all evening and within moments were being handed to us in beautiful envelopes. This was one of my favourites my grown up sons and myself. Made me cry again !

Eating free from in Hong Kong

One of our first meals in Hong Kong was at a tiny spanish tapas bar full of ex pats. The food was very good, I was able to have simple prawns in garlic. Brocolli and goats cheese and seabass simply cooked, and some quails eggs with celery salt.
The next day to celebrate the Wedding of my brother in law the following day, the Smyth clan and his ushers went to another small restaurant this time Italian run by a very friendly couple. They had pre prepared a special meal for me to run alongside the celebration meal they served to the others. 13 of us in all. We took up almost the entire restaurant on one long table. I was served first a delicious salad of pear and a soft cheese. It was delicious, followed by a clear soup I think made from orange and fish stock. The family had theirs with tiny ravioli floating in it. My next course was spinach and ricotta balls ‘ naked ravioli ‘ . Followed by sea bass and tomatoes. Lots of garlic and chilli in my food that night which made such a nice change. Usually everything is so plain. It was so tasty I had to keep checking with the owner that it really was yeast free. He assured me it was and went in to great detail about how they made each course.

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In Hong Kong last night we ate out at Aqua. We wanted to go somewhere special as it was our sons last evening before flying home to the UK. Sensibly they had already checked their suitcases in before we boarded the Star ferry.
The restaurant had a amazing views over to Hong Kong island and the laser show that happens ever evening at 8pm .
The restaurant was Italian and Japanese. I chose Italian, A simple Lobster salad with no dressing just olive oil followed by Cod and asparagus.

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All very delicious and safe for me. The restaurant had been informed by email about my food intolerances, so they were prepared for my arrival! Which makes for a much more stress free meal.

For breakfast/ Brunch we have mainly eaten in our hotel room as we have a tiny kitchen. Omelettes have been the easiest to achieve with lots of cheese from the local international supermarket. We also found some delicious yoghurts. Only downside was food in that particular supermarket was very expensive. £7 for a block of cheddar cheese! I brought gluten free cereal from the UK In my suitcase which just about survived the journey!

Here are just a few photo’s of some of the food I have eaten in Hong Kong .

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Glutened in Krabi

On our penultimate day in Thailand, what I had been dreading unfortunately happened. Stomach ache and cramps started at around ten in the evening after eating at our hotel. The Tubkaak Krabi boutique resort in Krabi, The staff had been so helpful and keen to make my stay perfect, it was such a shame. All I can think is that I had been glutened by cross contamination. I chose chicken satay which I had already had on a previous evening, followed by stir fry rice and crab.

The hotel manager immediately checked with chef about my food and no yeast or onions were used.
So what followed as many of you well know! was hours of pain and nausea causing a sleepless night for both myself and my husband. The hotel room whilst being beautiful, was small with no where for me to go and moan by myself.
I tried the usual things to help including drinking peppermint tea. But no real improvement. At least these days I don’t panic about it, as I know whats happening and that by morning the pain will stop and I can get some rest.

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The next day I took things very easily and had no breakfast or lunch and stuck to drinking lots of water and camomile tea. Fortunately I had no further pain or discomfort and was able to have my per booked lavender oil massage in the afternoon. Even feeling comfortable enough to allow the lady to massage my tummy.

The staff throughout the day were very concerned and asked constantly if I was feeling better. The head waitress at the restaurant even advised my as to what I should eat that evening. Which was off the menu!
Chicken in a watery rice type broth with salt and pepper. Popular in Thailand and China for poorly tummies.

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It may look like gruel, but it was perfect. I was advised not to eat anything else, so watched the family tuck into the most delicious 3 course meal. Not easy watching chocolate fondant and ice cream being devoured I can tell you!
I have had no further effects from the glutening episode so
here’s hoping for a safe eating experience for the rest of my time in Asia.

Long tail boat trip to Hong Island

Early on Sunday morning we went down to our beach at The Tubkaak Krabi boutique resort. Where we found 2 long tail boats ready to take us on an island hopping trip. The boats are traditional wooden boats with huge what look like car engines on the back to drive the propeller. We clambered on board using the rusty ladder and off we went. My husband and I in one, and our boys and their girlfriends in another. Looking back we think one would have been enough, but we were concerned about having enough shade.The boats left the shore and we were off. The noisiest engine ever!

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The trip to Hong Island took about 20 mins and we were the first people to arrive. It was about 8.20am. Well worth the early start, to really see the island at its best.

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The water was clear and the sand was the best I’ve seen in Thailand. There is a small cost to come to this island as it is a national park.
A huge array of fish were easy to spot in the sea and when the first tour boat arrived we saw even more!
The group had sensibly brought sliced white bread with them which they kindly shared with us.
The fish had a feeding frenzy. Eating straight out of our hands. Well I say our hands, I was a little freaked out and kept dropping the bread.

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We stayed on the island until 10am and by then large groups came and went. We were so thankful we were there so early. Would definitely go back if we get the chance one day. I would recommend.

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We then left and motored around the little islands until we came to another small beach where we snorkelled. Again very busy with motor boats this time but plenty of room to see more fish.

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We then climbed back on the boat and went off to our final island when we arrived it was so busy we decided not to anchor there, and made our way home.
A really perfect day. Well worth the 2000 baht for the boat. Second boat slightly cheaper.
Hope to return one day to Hong island and feed the fish. Hopefully I will be a little braver.

Eating with food intolerances in Krabi, Thailand

We are staying at the Tubkaak Krabi boutique resort for 4 days. The hotel is very small and has only a very small restaurant. Breakfasts have been a little tricky. Quite concerned about cross contamination. Waffles and pancakes are made at the same station as the fried eggs so I have opted for omelettes so far which are made in a special pan in that station. The bacon has had to be cooked for me separately as all bacon tomatoes etc are sitting on slices of bread in the warming trays.
Lunches have been lovely. I have been choosing egg fried rice with prawns or chicken sometimes in curry or chilli. Just delicious!

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Also fresh crab and avocado with tomatoes and lots of fish.
Evening meals alfresco have been very memorable . Gin and tonics at sunset followed by usually the crab and avocado or chicken satay. The rest of the family have been able to sample some amazing food which I am very envious of. Main courses have been good Sea bass and rice dishes

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The chef kindly made me some gluten free and yeast free bread but sadly it was inedible. I made the family give it a try, but they thought it tasted like an eraser.

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