Doing a low FODMAP-diet in China, at least if you are in elimination, can be difficult. I know this from experience as my husband lived in China last year. I was at home, in Norway. but visited him every now and then. I think I was in China 5-6 times last year. To be honest, I am not sure if I (or my stomach) would have managed to live in China.
It’s close to impossible to be 100% sure you don’t eat anything high FODMAP unless you stick to plain rice. Both because they don’t understand English very well, but also because they don’t understand the term ”allergy”. (To make it easy when traveling, I usually say I am allergic.)
When I try to explain what I can eat and what I can’t eat, they hear it. I have even showed them my Chinese low FODMAP-dictionary. When I ask if they understand, they say ”yes”. However when I later speak to them, they try to give me garlic and onion, because it’s ”supposed to be healthy for me”. Well…
How to manage the low FODMAP-diet in China then?
Earlyer the Chinese didn’t use much wheat or milk in their diet. However that has changed and they now use more of both. The Chinese don’t use much onion. Usually they use springonion, and because they use most of the vegetable, they use lots of the ”green part”. However some dished are filled with garlic, and some seam to be on the safer side.
You have to do the ”next best”. I have tried to find dishes I believe are safe. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes not. Luckily the Chinese way of eating is to order lots of food and share. Then it’s at least easy to try the next dish, if you weren’t lucky with the first.
The second best is to find the dishes with less of what you can’t have. I often go for meat, chicken or fish with sweet and sour sauce or soy-sauce. I don’t think I have seen the sweet and sour sauce with vegetables, like home, so you don’t need to be afraid of onion in the sauce. They might use garlic, but in this case, you just have to taste and see. This is the same case with something with soy-sauce. I let my husbans try first.
Another ”maybe” is the duck. Of course you don’t know what’s in the marinade, but it works for me. Of course, it all depends on your sensitivity, so unfortunately you just have to try. However I can tell that I am very sensitive to both galic and onion.
Get an apartement with kitchen
I am one of those who love nice hotels and I am also one of them using the facilities at the hotel. When you are not 100% healthy you have to take it easy, also when traveling. Having a day poolside or just relax in a nice lounge is, for me, a part of the traveling. I don’t have the energy to sighseeing all the time and it might also happen that I have some problems with any part of my body.
Because my husband is working for either weeks, months or a year, we always have an apartment when in China. I would strongly recommend that if you want to go to China. Bring glutenfree flour, glutenfree crackers, everything that is prepacked and “dry”. You will find eggs, meat and vegetables at the big supermarkeds. I found lactosefree milk at Walmart last year, but have not seen it other places or this time. I hope they were out of stock and that they will get more later….
Don’t eat this if you are following the low FODMAP-diet in China
Most of the food from Zhizhuang district is loaded with chili and garlic (I know chili is not a FODMAP, still it can be quite heavy for a sensitive digestion system). If you see a dish with lots of different vegetables, meat/fish and rice, it might be with onion and garlic.
The Chinese love mushrom and if you are sensitive to polyols, you should have an eye on the dished with mushrom.
Of course, stay away from the noodles… and the steamed bread.
At last: If everything is wrong and you really need to go safe on the low FODMAP-diet in China, just go for plain rice or a hamburger without the bread and fries at Mc. Donalds or Burger King…