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Mar 12, 2001 10:56 PM

MSG-free Chinese or Thai in S.F.?

  • m

I'm looking for good, cheap Chinese
or Thai restaurants in the city of
San Francisco that proclaim the
absence of MSG in their food.

I ask because in the past, I've often:

(i) asked a restaurant if they
use MSG;

(ii) been told either "No" or
"We can leave it out of your
food if you like"; and

(iii) been served with food
with MSG in it anyway.

So at this point, I'm more
comfortable with restaurants
that have signs or menus
stating that MSG is not used.

Can you recommend any places?

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  1. Eric's or Alice's in Noe Valley.
    Eliza's on Portrero Hill.

    All three are very similar. But, I prefer Eric's.

    1. I'm allergic to MSG and I've done lots of research on this. My recommendation: be VERY careful when eating Asian food (or just opt for another type of food).

      When they say "MSG-free" -- it only means that the cooks won't add MSG into their dish. However, many of the products used in the cooking have MSG already in them. If you don't believe me, look at the list of ingredients on the back of sauces, misos, etc.

      To make it more frustrating, MSG, has other "names". Make sure you've researched these psuedonyms before you look at labels.

      If you are as allergic as I am (and if you know the harmful side-effects of this horribe "seasoning"), you'd do as I do and simply not eat out at Chinese food restaurants. Make your own Chinese food with ingredients you feel safe with. If you want the taste MSG offers (without the bad effects) boil/cook up some Kombu seawead with your food.

      MSG was isolated out from the Kombu seaweed. Kombu itself is not harmful, but because it was isolated out it is.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nyma

        That's a tough one, as you point out many prepared condiments have MSG in them. Anything based on soy, e.g., soy sauce or tofu, is teeming with MSG. Likewise tomatoes and mushrooms, and parmesan cheese is the most MSG rich of all.