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Managing food allergies during our trip to Panama

Boston
9 posts
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Managing food allergies during our trip to Panama

I am traveling to Panama City and Gamboa Rainforest Resort in June with my family. My 2 year old son has numerous allergies: all nuts, peanuts, beans, peas, eggs, clams and possibly other seafood. Also, due to sensitivities (but not true allergies), he is currently dairy & gluten free. So he has severe food restrictions. In Panama City, we will be staying in an apartment so can cook some meals but we will also be out and about wanting to eat in restaurants. We will also be spending a few days at the Gamboa Rainforest resort where we won't have our own kitchen. I am wondering how responsive and knowledgeable restaurants are about the importance of not cross-contaminating foods and correctly identifying all ingredients? When we've travelled to other countries we've relied on plain meats, buttered rice, French fries (in non-nut oil), fruits & veggies to feed my son. Additionally, how much of gluten free breads/products and dairy free milks that are plentiful in the US made their way to Panamanian grocery stores?

Panama City, Panama
Destination Expert
for Panama
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1. Re: Managing food allergies during our trip to Panama

The supermarket chain Riba Smith has a fair amount of gluten-free products - not a lot... you can find soy and almond milk, gluten free pasta etc.

Without good Spanish it will be hard to get your point across about your needs - Gamboa will have some English speaking staff - ask to speak to the restaurant or food & beverage manager - the larger hotels and better restaurants will be more aware and be able to do more.

We run two restaurants and both have English speaking managers who try their best to accommodate allergies etc - sometimes it is very hard as we just don't have the products available to do too much.

Regards,

Andrew

Boston
9 posts
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2. Re: Managing food allergies during our trip to Panama

Thanks Andrew! I speak a little Spanish, but I will also have an allergy card with an explanation of his specific allergies written in Spanish. And, that is fine if restaurants don't have certain foods available (e.g., gluten-free). My larger concern is that, even with the information, will restaurants understand and know how to avoid cross-contamination back in the kitchen (e.g., not cook rice in a pan they just had peanut oil in)? Do you think restaurants would generally be conscientious about this? Are Panamanians aware of allergy risks? What restaurants do you run?

3. Re: Managing food allergies during our trip to Panama

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