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Gluten Free in South Africa

I have a lot of people asking me about eating gluten free in South Africa. Either it is people living here who are newly diagnosed or visitors from other countries who are traveling to SA ask me for recommendations on finding gluten free foods and places here. I am based in Cape Town even though I am from Johannesburg originally, so my recommendations are for Cape Town. However I will try my best to find out any info I can for other areas .

I decided to do a general post for finding gluten free things for the newly diagnosed or any visitors or overerseas travelers.

For the best selection of general gluten free products, Dischem Pharmacies and Wellness Warehouse are your best bets. At both places you can get a good selection of gluten free pastas, biscuits, crackers and gluten free ready to make cake/muffin mixes. Wellness Warehouse also sells gluten free bread and sells sandwiches. They do use soy flour, so for those who can’t tolerate soy be aware.

The major supermarket chains, such as Pick n Pay, Spar and Checkers as well as small health shops also all sell the ready made cake mixes, crackers and gluten free flour, but they cost a lot more and always be sure to check expiry dates, as the turnover is not as high as the specialist shops.

For all products you buy, always check the ingredients as well as the allergens listed as there are not always strict laws about the listing of allergens. Woolworths are very good at listing their allergens on the back of all their products and have just come out with a new range of gluten free crackers!

For eating out , remember to always ask if fish is cooked in any flour ( they often coat fish in flour even for grilling). Always check what’s in the basting sauce or other sauces for steaks and if not sure ask for separate sauce or without.

There aren’t too many dedicated gluten free places, so just keep a look out for places that include gluten free things on the menu, or stick to choices like chicken, meat, fish or salads (don’t forget dressing may contain gluten though).

Look here and here for a list of good gluten free restaurants. Ask for lemon juice with sushi and alternatives to bread, eg chips instead of bread.

South Africa is new to gluten free products, but always be sure to ask and check if you aren’t sure. Feel free to contact me if there are any other questions you have regarding where to buy gluten free products and food.

The picture is me with my dogs on the beach with Table Mountain in the background.

21 comments to Gluten Free in South Africa

  • Hello,

    Great you have put up this post. I went to South Africa in December and January. I thought it was going to be difficult but Cape-town was great. From Kosi-bay to Drakensberg it was a bit more of a search. They did have the ingredients on the packaging. I was prepared so it didn’t put any pressure on my trip. I really enjoyed South Africa and would absolutely recommend it to anybody with a gluten intolerance. Have you tried the bread from the Allergy free kitchen? They sell it in the health shops. It’s very nice. That is something I miss back here in Europe.

    Vicky

  • Yael

    Hi Vicky
    Thanks for your lovely comment and your great blog. It so great to see someone travelling here and really enjoying the ability to eat gluten free easily. I haven’t tried the allergy kitchen’s bread, as most of the stockists are a bit far from where I live, but I will be sure to look out for it. To be honest, I just don’t eat bread at all, and feel better for it.
    Keep up the great work and stay in touch.
    Yael 🙂

  • Michal

    Hi. My daughter talia is Coeliac and we live in Australia where labeling of gluten is mandatory. We have a South African store here and we love going to buy things that remind us of “home”. I was wondering if you know if Super C is gluten free and Cremora. Does South Africa have a list of gluten free products?
    Thanks
    Michal

  • Zelda

    Hi there….thank you very much for this blog…..I recently found out that I am Celiac and currently based in Europe. I last went to south Africa in July and planning my next trip back him soon. It hasn’t been easy for me, to udjust to a gluten free diet…I made a lot of mistakes…for example, I only read my box Rajah curry powder that I came here with from home, after felt sick the day after I enjoyed my lovely beef curry…that it actually has wheat. I am seriously hating this, even thou I feel more healthier than before. Three years ago I suffered from a sever depression and when I recovered, I wanted to help everyone in my neighbourhood, who was going through anything in their lives. Now that I am Celiac…I wish I could make many people in my country aware that, yes it is also a simple disease that could be affecting many South Africans. I am really happy to hear that there are gluten- free products on the shelf. I even told a good friend of mine who runs the Ocean Basket in Kloof street, to stock up a gluten free soya sauce for me, when I’m back in SA…coz I think they make the best sushi’s. I just saw a loaf of bread online from Woolies, that goes for R21+ . I guess is also an expensive diet, that will now push me to encourage my sister to make gluten-free baked goodies from her bakery. I’m based in Spain…An owner of one the biggest well known supermarket, they have a huge section of gluten-free products, because his son is gluten intolerant. Even MacDonald’s here has a gluten free bun….I can still safely eat my Big Mac. Again thank you for the blog….I am now looking forward to coming back home.

  • tony jones

    Check out Le Med Mediterranean Taverna in Port Elizabeth on Facebook – a gluten free restaurant on the ever popular Stanley Street dining strip

  • MARTINA

    Hi, were can i find Masa cornflour in cape town? I would really like to make my own corn tortilla’s

  • Oonagh Williams

    We’re going to South Africa on a tour April/May and staying over in Cape Town on our own. I am disappointed in the links you show above. They either go nowhere or when you click on a restaurant link, they might mention gluten free in intro but don’t mention it elsewhere. Mango Ginger cafe is the only place that does list gf. Primi says wheat free pasta under ‘pods’, Can’t even get a menu for Hillcrest orchards, even though they say click here. I know you are not responsible for their sites, but I’m sorry not helpful.

  • Yael

    Hi Oonagh

    I’m sorry you have so many problems with the links on this post. I have tried to correct what I can. I don’t have an IT person, Its just me and myself and I running things here 🙂 This post was written in 2012 and unfortunately a lot of places that were good then are not so great now! 🙁
    I think Mango Ginger has some lovely gluten free things, so be sure to check them out
    http://mangoginger.co.za/coffeeshop/
    Crush in in Town also has a good gluten free menu http://www.crush.co.za/index.htm
    Primi is good but be sure to check what items are actually gluten free
    I don’t recommend Hillcrest anymore. They are good for buying frozen berries, jam and gifts, but I’d skip the restaurant
    A place that has a great GF menu is the Tea Room, at Kirstenbosch gardens ( a highly recommended place to visit) the tea room is at the top gate, though, not the bottom entrance, so be aware. http://www.ktr.co.za/
    For a bit fancier try Dear Me. http://www.dearme.co.za/. I personally haven’t eaten there so cannot vouch for it, but they promise to cater for all food allergies.
    I think you will find Cape Town a lovely destination for eating and there is a huge variety of options even if you have a restricted diet. There is always plenty of fresh fish ( be sure to check they don’t grill it in flour). There are lots of fresh veggies and salads and meats and there should be no problem finding food on your holiday.
    I hope this has helped you a little bit
    I hope you have a wonderful time away!
    Let me know if you find anything else we can add on here
    All the best
    Yael

  • Rasheed Khan

    Good Day

    Allow me to introduce our company briefly. Transworld Commodities and Milling is a food milling company as well as a wholesaler of food grains, pulses, and lentils and has been in operation since 1986, based in Durban, South Africa. We are a small business yet we pride ourselves on our quality products and service.

    We are able to offer the following gluten free flours in bulk to individuals or businesses :

    Flours – All 100% Pure, milled by us and fit for human consumption :

    •Rice Flour ( Gluten Free ) – 25 kg bags
    •Chana Flour Besan / Gram Flour ( Gluten Free ) – 35 kg bags
    •Yellow Split Pea Flour / Pea Flour ( Gluten Free ) – 40 kg bags

    I hope this email is of interest to you and please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries.

    Contact Numbers :
    +27 31 465 4748 (office)
    +27 31 465 8324 (fax)

    Physical Address :
    17 Jaco Place
    Rossburgh
    4072

    Postal Address :
    P.O. Box 3996
    Durban
    4000

    Email :
    transworld.rsa@gmail.com
    ark786@webmail.co.za

    Regards

    Rasheed Khan
    Transworld Commodities and Milling CC

  • Lizle Fourie

    Hi guys,

    My child has a gluten intolerance. I want to be able to bake muffins etc. for her at home, but all the Gluten Free baking recipe books I can find in the shops, are from overseas – and all the ingredients and measurements are just a pain to convert etc. Please can you let me know if you know of a very good South African Gluten free baking recipe book?

    Thanks you so much!
    Lizle

  • Zarina

    Good day

    I am trying to source organic, GMO free, gluten free flours like almond, coconut, amaranth, tapioca etc.

    Please contact me to discuss.

  • Yael

    Hi Lizle
    Try look for recipe books from the UK or Australia then you should not have any issues converting.
    I have this recipe book and think you might like it.
    The Gluten Free Cookbook for Kids.

  • Chiara

    Hello,thanks a lot for your useful post! I’d like to come to south Africa and visit cape town, do you know which hotel can offer gluten free meals?
    Thank you very much,
    Greetings from Italy! 🙂

  • Guro

    Hello,

    I am quite delighted to find this blog, being a celiac who moved to SA (Pretoria) about a year ago. I have to admit I struggle to stay symptom free here, and I am getting a little bit frustrated to what may be the hidden sources.

    Lately, I am trying to review the more non-obvious sources such as tooth paste, mouth wash, hand soap, hand cream, shampoo, shower gel, dishwashing soap etc. However, there are so many chemicals and non-recogniseable ingredients. In addition to not knowing whether there has been any cross contamination…

    Therefore wondering if you have any tips for how to find out more information about this, or who I could potentially contact.

    Thank you in advance!

    Cheers,
    Guro

  • Yael

    Hi Guro
    Welcome to SA! SA had an abundance of gluten free prodcuts, but be warned they are not awlays Celiac friendly. In fact gluten free is so popular everywhere, there is almost always contamination or a misunderstanding of what gluten free actually means.What a pity. The safest bet is to double check what is in the food you buy and to try always make as many fresh things as possible. Try avoid the processed ‘gluten free” products.
    As far as still being symptomatic, please be aware that you may be sensitive to gluten cross reactors, like corn, rice, other gf grains, dairy and or even have a problem withthe xantham gum a major gut irrtiant) that is in every GF procesed product! A Paleo diet or AIP (like I follow) might be a solution to that issue.
    Regardaring skin care and household cleaning products, don’t let anyone tell you gluten isn’t absorbed through the skin.It most certainly is!! I would try and change all of your skincare, espcailly shampoo, cleansers etc. Also change all of your clenaing products. I buy all of mine from Faithful to Nature. You shop onine and its couriered to you.
    Good Luck. I hope that helps you.
    Regards
    Yael

  • Yael

    Hi Chiara
    I’m sorry I don’t know of any specific hotels that offer GF meals.:( The only place I spotted on google was Parker cottage. I honestly don’y know what they offer though. They do mention they speak Italian though!
    The best option is probably to find the hotel you want to stay in and email them to find out if they offer a GF option. Most good hotels, should have a good chef, who knows how to cater for gluten free and can make sure your meals are not contaminated. I assume breakfast is most important as of course you can eat out for lunch and dinner at so many of the wonderful restaurants, Cape Town has to offer.
    If anyone else know of anything else, please can they share it here.
    Good Luck and I hope you have a wonderful GF holiday!
    Regards
    Yael

  • Bonnie Mace

    I’m a celiac who is traveling to South Africa. Is it safe to rent a motorhome/campervan and purchase food in grocery stores along the way? We are planning to drive along the southern coast and up to the game reserves.
    Bonnie Mace

  • Anne Baker

    Hi, hoping to travel to the Cape in 2017 so I thought I should check out GF eating, really pleased to have found your site. We are looking to stay in the Simon Town/Fish Hoek area so if anyone has any advice on places to eat or shop for GF products that would be very helpful. You mentioned the Wellness Warehouse, is this a shop and where would I find it?
    Regards
    Anne

  • Mandi Macdonald

    Hi there
    I have been celiac for about 7 months now and still find it extremely difficult. I find places that supply gf breads and other products but unfortunately they also use yeast which is not always listed in the ingredients. Where can I obtain a list of what is good to have if you are celiac like for the flowers, seeds, sauces etc? Each time I have something that has a reaction to me, the reaction gets worse and worse and I suffer more. I would appreciate any help here.
    Thank you
    Mandi

  • Yael

    Thanks. Please note this site is no longer updated. My new site is http://www.reversingautoimmune.com

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