September 2014–Urban Health Newsletter

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Upcoming Events @ Urban Health Home Kitchen

Spanish Roots Vegetarian Meal

One of our guest chefs, Marta, born and raised in the northwest coast of Spain is whipping up a splendid spanish vegetarian meal for our guests that night. Details of the event can be found here.

Caribbean Night

What is Caribbean food like? First Theme night for this month is Caribbean Night where our chef Andy concocts a table of delicious Caribbean dishes to thrill the tastebuds of our guests. Join us to have a taste of these flavors from the sunny islands of Caribbeans.

Gluten-Free in UK!

Gluten free diets are gaining traction worldwide. The recent enhanced accessibility of gluten-free products and services in the Asian market no doubt precipitates the wave of gluten-free awareness from the West. After spending some time in the UK this summer, Urban Health was able to witness firsthand the sophisticated nature of the region’s gluten-free markets and celiac (or in the UK, Coeliac) awareness. In England, nearly every restaurant you enter offers gluten free options on the menu. But why is gluten free so accessible in the UK? It is surely was not always the case.

In our Gluten-free Overseas section of this month’s newsletter we will share insights from some these organizations, which have helped assist the growth of the celiac awareness in their part of the world. Additionally we will offer some gluten-free cuisine recommendations for those visiting the UK.

Coeliac UK

Urban Health had the privilege to speak first hand with Coeliac UK Chief Executive Sarah Sleet, who gave an in-depth understanding of the organizations’ operations. Founded in 1968, Coeliac UK is the world’s largest celiac charity as well as the oldest. Coeliac UK operates under the core rationale of bringing together the knowledge on the disease as well as the dietary requirements in order to assist its members in their daily lives.

The organization offers services to both the public and private market. Publicly, the organization helps its members to enhance their knowledge in the form of on-ground support services such as customer helplines and self-help groups. Coeliac UK also provides networks for those with celiac disease so that they can help each other with recommendations and advice on day-to-day living and food. One of their most recent developments has been an innovative mobile app which allows the user to find out whether a product is gluten-free by just scanning the barcode. In the near future, the database for this app will include about 50,000 gluten free products!

Coeliac UK has also done a great deal in assisting the private markets by offering hands-on gluten-free training to caterers. They have been working hand in hand with various European gluten-free societies to establish the cross grains symbol trademark presentation scheme, which manufacturers now use to label their gluten free products both in the EU and UK.

As Chief Executive Sleet puts it, the organization works with the aim of “making sure that.. [gluten free options are] mainstream and that you don’t need to have additional services provided by us to bridge the gap.”

Coeliac UK is not the only organization promoting gluten free eating, other local establishments are also helping to advocate for the cause. The network of organizations around UK helps to ensure the ease and accessibility of procuring gluten-free foods. It also shows us just how important it is for groups to work together to help the celiac and intolerance community and also how big of a difference they can make in the community.

Likewise, Hong Kong and Asia as a whole, will certainly benefit from organizations doing such work in our communities.

Below are some of the recommendations on gluten-free eateries in UK.

Breakfast Recommendation

Hartley’s Coffee & Sandwich Bar

21 Carlton Street, Hockley, Nottingham NG1 1NL | T: +44 (0)115 9504877

If you happen to find yourself in Nottingham England and are craving for some delicious gluten free breakfast, we recommend that you check out Hartley’s Coffee and Sandwich Bar.

Located in downtown Nottingham city, Hartley’s offers a delicious gluten free full breakfast. The gluten-free toast has a very natural flavor. However, when ordering the sausages don’t opt for the vegan ones–they do contain gluten. There are other delicious gluten-free options on the menu such as cakes, and feel free to try any of their deli sandwiches on gluten free bread, panini or ciabatta!

For those avoiding dairy, Hartley’s also offers delicious vegan milkshakes and cheeses.

Gluten-free High Tea Options

One of the most popular things to do while in the UK is to go out for afternoon tea. Thankfully, most afternoon tea spots these days offer gluten-free options. Urban Health recommends these two spots for exquisite gluten free afternoon tea.

BB Bakery Covent Garden

6-7 Chandos Place, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HU | T: +44 (0)20 7836 6588

This colorful oasis in the middle of London’s busy Covent Garden is a must for baked goods lovers requiring gluten-free options. BB offers an incredibly appealing array of gluten-

free cupcakes, scones, seasonal cakes and sandwiches to help form a delectable afternoon tea. If you are feeling adventurous you may wish to book on the BB Afternoon Tea Bus Tour which will give you a master tour of London whilst eating.


35 Abbey Rd, West Bridgford, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire County NG2 5NG | T: 44 115 981 6224

Nottingham’s West Bridgford neighborhood hosts Tiffins, a quaint café in traditional British tea house style. You guessed it, their gluten-free afternoon tea is a masterpiece and its coupled with down-to-earth and friendly service. In addition, the teahouse is very well versed in the art of tea, offering a selection of herbal infusions.

Interview with an Asian Gluten-Free Manufacturer hailing from the Philippines

Urban Health had the opportunity to interview Roy Amores from Amores Gluten Free. Amores Gluten Free makes delicious gluten free baked goods and is based in Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Philippines. Urban Health took the time to ask Mister Amores about the companies motivations, protocol practices, and plans for the future.

The questions from Urban Health are in bold.

What are the motivations of Amores in producing gluten-free products for the market?

To explain our company’s motivations, I’m sharing with you a brief history about Amores Gluten Free:

In December 2012, I resigned from my full-time employment (Kraft Foods Philippines) and ventured into sales management consultancy, and at the same time we set up a gluten-free home-baking business. I ventured into gluten-free baking out of a personal health challenge given my intolerance to gluten and dairy.

The gluten-free baking business’s first milestone arose from an agreement with my wife to exclusively bake at home gluten-free cupcakes as Christmas gifts, as I don’t like the idea of spending a couple of weeks shopping for Christmas gifts! We were delighted to receive orders from a number of our gluten-free cupcake recipients. It was right then that we spotted a business opportunity to sell yummy gluten-free cupcakes. Afterwards, the rest of the gluten-free baked goodies like bread, muffins, pizza crust, cookies were developed and marketed.

What kind of difficulties did Amores encountered while producing Gluten-free products?

We did a lot of experimentation just to come up with a good texture for our goods. It took us more than a year to develop the recipe for our loaf bread.

Does Amores see a need or desire to start making gluten-free products for the US, Australian or European markets as well?

We would love to bring our gluten-free products to key global markets in approximately 5 to 7 years time. We will first work to establish a strong base in Asia before branching outwards.

What protocol does Amores adopt in its kitchens to ensure that the products produced are gluten-free?

We don’t store a single gram of gluten flours in our kitchens or any part of our mixing and baking areas!

* * * * *

Urban Health was definitely inspired by this Asia-based gluten-free manufacturer. Companies like Amores Gluten Free are pioneers, paving the way for the emergence of Asian gluten-free goods.

Do take the time to try Amores Gluten Free products and visit their webpage here.

Andy’s Corner

A First Time For Everything!

Urban Health Rooftop Organic Farm Project

I think everyone who knows me would know that I am passionate about food and fresh ingredients, especially vegetables and herbs. A month ago I decided to put my home rooftop space to good use, and started the Urban Health Rooftop Organic Farm Project.

The Rooftop Organic Farm Project was inspired by my relatives in China who grow vegetables in their own garden. My family cuts veggies fresh from the ground and brings them straight to the stove to cook. I was oh-so-impressed by how fresh and sweet the vegetables tasted! This is something I want my patrons to taste when they dine at the Urban Health Home Kitchen.

As this is my first experience with growing a home garden, I am extremely thankful that I had help from a friend to guide me every step of the way. I began this endeavor by planting bitter gourd, Thai eggplants and Chinese spinach. Starting and maintaining an organic garden/farm is not an easy task, but its definitely a life changing one.

The Process

A tremendous amount of hard work was required to assemble the square farm–carrying loads of soil, sand and other parts up 6 stories to our roof in HK’s blistering heat! All of these laborious preparation surely helped increase my appreciation of vegetable-farming.

After planting, I kept an eye on the sprouts in the garden in order to pick which I would transplant–this was quite challenging. Initially, unaware of the grim realities of transplantation, I was under the impression that I’d get to keep all the plants; however, only the strongest candidates could carry on to the next stage.

My friend helped me pick the healthy, taller sprouts to transplant; the rest were not put to use. This is because those that are smaller will most likely not procedure as much vegetables at the end of the day. It broke my heart to see them go, but it’s a cold world out there and only the strong survive! I am still awaiting the fruits of my labor in anticipation, so watch this space!

Want To Start Your Own Organic Farm?

I would encourage anyone who has even little space in their home to start their own little home garden. It’s certainly one of those experiences that everyone should try. The process from building, seeding, and to the eventual harvesting, will change you as a person.

Gardening will mean different things to different people, depending on their life circumstances. However, I can guarantee that anyone who undertakes a home gardening project for the first time will learn something special and grow as a person.

– Andy Kun, Co-Founder & Director at Urban Health Group

Comic of Chef Andy by Jonathan Reule

Post Series: Newsletter
This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Hi Diana, I go to Wong Yuen Shing Seed Co. on 11 Connaught Road West, Hong Kong. They have organic soil, fish fertilizer (get the 1L one, will last you a long time.) Sea Sand, I went to get it from electric and hardware store on wellington street, I'll try to get the exact name and address for you

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