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Jan 22, 2004 09:16 AM

Thai allergy?

  • c

In the past two years, I have apparently developed an allergy to an ingredient regularly used in Thai food. Before this, I used to eat Thai food regularly with no problem. The last times I became ill, I had vegetable pad thai, vegetable drunken noodles, and some type of vegetable curry dish. I have gone a couple times with no reaction; on these occasions, I ate curry dishes with a thicker, coconut-based curry sauce.

If anyone can help with identifying a possible ingredient that's the culprit, I would be really appreciative since I miss Thai food terribly. This has never occurred with any other type of food for me. FYI, I have no other food allergies that I'm aware of.

Thanks for your help! In the meantime, I have avoided all Thai food and have been fine.

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  1. Perhaps it is the fish sauce? Or maybe something in the rice noodles?

    I empathize with you, since I have just deduced that I am allergic to certain types of rice (including rice noodles). And rice is my favorite starch, bar none!

    1. I knew someone who swore she got sick every time she ate Thai and it was her belief it was peanut oil that caused her problems. She was fine with Japanese and Chinese foods.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Coyote

        Most wok cooking involves peanut oil (the only oil that can safely withstand such high heat), and I think it's therefore used in Chinese cooking quite a bit. But if your friend is allergic to peanuts, that would definitely give her problems.

      2. Check to see if it is coconut oil. Coconut flesh counteracts the oil to a certain extent, but if the curry was very coconutty, they may have used extra coconut oil or packaged coconut that is heavily oiled. It's a big problem recently as a lot of restaurants were beginning to cook with it and a lot of people were getting sick.

        1. There are a large number of possibilities given that your 'sample' meal included three dishes. (fish sauce, peanut are certainly possibilities).

          I'd suggest you limit future experiments to one dish at at time, starting with a steamed item, then a stir fry, etc. The fewer new items you add to the menu, the easier to identify it will be. That, or get a jar of peanutbutter, some fish sauce, etc and try them one by one.

          Keep in mind, also, that recipes change and a dish stir-fried in peanut oil one week may use soybean oil the next, even at the same restaurant.

          Noramlly I'd suggest the obvious (alergist) but I think experimentation will be more efficient and less expensive.

          2 Replies
          1. re: SteveT

            I don't think experimentation would be more efficient. An allergy test would be far more definitive, and less risky as well.

            OP, my younger brother used to get violently ill on occasion when we'd eat Indian food. My parents couldn't figure it out. Allergy testing revealed severe allergies to very random things. Ultimately, they discovered that in ONLY ONE of the curries at our favorite Indian restaurant, the chef used ground tree nuts to thicken the sauce.

            Also, are you sure you're having an allergic reaction? Symptoms?

            1. re: nothingswrong

              Nine years later the OP has most likely resolved this issue....

          2. Are you allergic to shrimp? Shrimp paste is used as flavoring sometimes in Thai dishes. (But not in an amount that would make it recognizably shrimp-y.)