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Peanut Allergy should I travel to Thailand?

Peanut Allergy should I travel to Thailand?

Sep 11th, 2007, 08:27 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Peanut Allergy should I travel to Thailand?

I have a peanut allergy and wonder if I should travel to Thailand. I hear they use peanut oil in their food prep?
wlbox is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Let me explain... How easy is it to find safe food to eat?

or what can I do to prevent any food allergies
wlbox is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 09:45 AM
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I have 3 food allergies, chocolate being the killer one, but thank goodness not for peanuts. That could be a problem as peanut oil and chopped up peanuts can be found in food. You just have to ask before you order. You can also get a Thai cookbook and read the ingredients in different dishes and kind of know what might be in a dish before you go.
When I went to cooking school one day in Bangkok, I had checked off the list to cook some crab cakes, not knowing until I got to the school that they contain pork. I haven't eaten meat/poultry since the 70s. So, when I saw the big bowl full of a pink substance I asked the chef what it was and was told ground pork. Well, it had to go back to the kitchen and we had to just cook something else. Who would have thought that crab cakes are made with crab and pork. And I'm very used to eating Thai food, but that one slipped past me. So, there can be a lot of ingredients, one wouldn't expect, mixed in Thai food. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 04:59 PM
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Peanuts are not all that common in Thai food, and I can't remember the last time I saw peanut oil on the shelf in a supermarket here (I live in Bangkok). Soybean oil is the most common cooking oil.

Foods to avoid: Satay, pad thai and all "yum" dishes (often translated as "salad"). The latter includes Som Tam. Most any stir-fry should be okay, as would green curry and clear soups, but avoid any red curries (pad ped or panang). If you're traveling north, you can't try one of the local specialties, gaeng hunglei.

It might sound strange, but I think you might be better off avoiding places that cater to westerners and stick with "Thai" places. They're less likely to put 'strange things' in traditional dishes.

Lastly, there are tons of Japanese restaurants all around Thailand (including a lot of local shabu-shabu chains), where you're almost guaranteed to avoid peanuts.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 07:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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With any allergy you of course have to be very careful indeed. There are allergy cards available but even with the best intentions the 'message' might not get through to the person cooking.
I am sure you are used to taking 'care' with such an allergy and you need to do the same. As Michael has said there are foods you can enjoy without worry or peanuts/oil being used, just take care.
I don't have an allergy but crushed peanuts can cause havoc on your teeth when the bits get stcuk, on a couple of occassions following some dental work I have visited ice Cream places and ordering something that often has nuts sprinkled my wife 9 Thai ) has emphaticaly made it 100% clear 'No Nuts' on my fav Sundae, onece or twice made a difference, other times...there were the nuts!
So I would take sensible care and although allergy cards can help do 'not' rely on them totaly.
JamesA is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 07:57 PM
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No, not my 9th! Typo should be a " ( "
Some allergy cards, does not mention peanuts but mentions 'nuts', again, do 'not' rely on them at all but could be of use.
There is one for 'nuts' in general.

To your original point, certainly don't allow it to affect your travels at all, the amount of food, different cuisines is amazing, not just Thai but you can enjoy so many other Asian and international cuisines, Thailand has many excellent restaurants and dining out is one of the great things to do, so you can enjoy great food without worry.
JamesA is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 08:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Just enjoy the country and when you're unsure about the food you can always find a hamburger or a hot dog at most gas station - whey you're out sightseeing that is.
Hanuman is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 11:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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My husband and I have been to Thailand three times. He has been allergic to peanuts and some tree nuts since childhood. For us, an important part of traveling is enjoying the local food, and Thailand has especially fine food. Before going to Thailand he asked the very friendly folks at our local Thai restaurant how to say, "I must not eat peanuts, they can kill me." We have also traveled to Burma, Indonesia (many times), and Cambodia--all places with cuisines using peanuts and peanut oil. Each time, he has learned to say the same above statement in the local language. He has never had a problem except for one time here in California when a local restaurant had slipped some pureed walnuts into dressing for a chicken salad. Luckily, his reaction to walnuts is not as severe. For our last trip to Africa (where they also eat a lot of nuts), we took no chances, bought good medical evacuation insurance and carried an autoinjection Epipen, so that if he went into anaphylactic shock I could inject him. I recommend that you have your physician write you a prescription for an autoinjection Epipen because a peanut fragment could end up in your food almost anywhere. Perhaps you have noticed that here in the U.S. many packaged food labels now carry warnings noting they were "manufactured on equipment used to produce products that contain wheat, milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts."
(It is important to note that many, if not most, people who are allergic to peanuts are allergic to the protein in peanuts and not peanut oil.)
Because peanut allergies are now so common and so deadly, many airlines no longer serve peanuts. Some airlines even offer special tips for those with peanut allergies. See:
Here's another good link:
Diamantina is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 10:40 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 36
I don't have an allergy to peanuts (thank goodness); but I am allergic to tree nuts: especially cashews, almonds, and the hazel nut.

On my last trip to Thailand, I got into a situation on the "River Kwai Train" enroute to the Burma Boarder. While onboard I ate a Tapioca Cookie that had ground "cashew nuts" in it and started to have anaphylaxis (tightening of chest/throat)... thank goodness another passenger onboard had some liquid Benadryl ! (we were out in the sticks, and wouldn't return to Bangkok till late that evening!) The Benadryl made me somewhat comfortable; until I could get back to hotel and administer Epinephrin Pen. My allergy is mild (compare to others!) Ask Doctor to prescribe you an Epi Pen for emergencies.

As a side note: Singapore Airlines takes nut allergies very seriously. If you give the airline 24 hours notice, they will make the entire flight "nut free" !
ddunn is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 12:11 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 12,918
Very well said, Diamantina...and it's those fragments that could kill a person. A woman died here in L.A. area when a friend took her out for chilli and had no idea that in the recipe, the restaurant used a "little" peanut butter to thicken it with. She died at the table. I grew up on chilli and have never had peanut butter in it. You never know what "strange" things might be mixed up in a recipe. I'm always nervous when I see food that has a lot of ingredients in it...and especially sauces...since I have a very bad reaction to corn and some dairy. And trust me when I say that there have been many times when I have gotten dairy/corn in food that should not have been cooked with dairy/corn according to "traditional" recipes and I've even asked before eating the item if there's dairy/corn in it and have been told no...when there really was. So, I TOTALLY understand his concern. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
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