So how on earth does someone with celiac disease even begin to think about traveling? By breaking the language barrier first! I honestly couldn’t tell you what I was looking for when I tracked down Triumph Dining Cards, but early on in my diagnosis I was on just about every website I could find just to learn more. I immediately ordered their 10-language dining cards, and have kept them in my purse since they arrived.
A little about the cards, not only do they explain celiac disease and the dangers of cross-contamination, the cards include a section titled “please check” which include locally used ingredients that could include gluten. For example, the Japanese card references soy sauce and imitation crab, while the Italian card highlights meatballs, sausage and cured meats. The pack includes American, Chinese, French, Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Thai, and Vietnamese.
Do they actually work? Absolutely! Not only do I travel internationally, but I live in a very diverse area. I’m sure most of you have experienced the frustrations of trying to explain to the wait staff how careful they’ll need to be when preparing your meal. Even in English, it can be a challenge! I’ve sent the cards back to the chef on many occasions, and they are typically very well received.
I have to admit, I love the conversations they start as well. I frequently have people ask to learn more when they see me handing off the cards to wait staff. I happily take the time to inform them about the disease, and offer to show them the cards so they can understand more. While on our honeymoon my husband and I met two brothers from California and their uncles who had traveled to meet them from Taiwan. The cards piqued their interest, so I handed them the Chinese language card. After reading it, they confirmed that it read correctly in simple mandarin which would be easier for Chinese speakers to understand; however, they were quick to point out that I should probably never go to China since the disease would severely limit what I’d be able to eat. But THAT is another story for another blog post!!