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Nov 21, 2009 08:58 AM

Food allergies and Tokyo dining... advice please.

I will be traveling to Tokyo early 2010, and I've been very excited reading through the posts here, as we make our plans.
We'd love to have a kaiseki dinner. However, I have allergies to some shellfish, and am concerned about ordering. It sounds as if kaiseki menus are set? Is it very difficult to change items if 1-2 items might be problematic for me?
I'm traveling w/ my husband who has no allergies, and I want him to be able to enjoy all the food I can't! Any advice is appreciated for this scenario. Also, if anyone has any recommendations of restaurants where they were accommodating to changing a menu set for allergies, I'd love to hear about it.

Thank you!

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  1. one tip, when you call ahead to make your reservation tell them "arerugi ga arimasu" that you have allergies and list them up (you will have to learn the words for what you are allergic to. I am allergic to shrimp and lobster and mention that whenever I make reservations at kaiseki restaurants. They have always been accommodating and it won't be a problem as long as you can have fish (and dashi stock made from bonito).

    My favorite kaiseki is Nihonbashi Yukari near Tokyo station. If you go, tell him Yukari sent you.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Yukari

      Thank you so much for the info, Yukari! How far in advance would you recommend making reservations?

      Thank goodness, I can have fish and dashi stock. I would be heartbroken otherwise! I have the same allergies as you: lobster and shrimp. (and crab too... very sad!)

      1. re: koneko

        You can call a week in advance. And, when making the reservation, "Arerugi ga arimasu. Ise ebi (lobster) ebi (shrimp) to kani (crab) wa tabararemasen." Ideally, if you are staying at a hotel, have the hotel call and make the reservation. Ask for a seat at the counter. And when you go, tell him "Yukari Sakamoto" sent us. He is great and passionate about Japanese food.


        1. re: Yukari

          Yukari-san, I'd like to try Yukari next time I'm in Tokyo (next year). May I mention your name to the owner?

    2. If your allergies are severe, I would recommend you get somebody to write down the list of allergies you have in Japanese and show them to people serving your food. They should make sure you don't get sick.