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Apr 21, 2010 04:47 AM

Travelling to KL, Singapore and Langkawi - Advice for someone with a severe dairy allergy

I realise that there are some folk on this forum with a wide knowledge of food from these areas. My husband and I are travelling in 6 weeks and would like to know if the foods from the hawker stalls are generally cooked in butter or is there alot of cream and cheese used?

We plan to do a bit of both - fine dining and hawker stall dining. What should I look out for? We are planning on getting some phrases transalated to say I would go into anaphalactic shock if I have any dairy products.

Other than my allergy I am a very adventurous eater. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Most hawker food in Malaysia and Singapore do not use dairy products, but I think it's best that you double-check with them before you consume any. I'm lactose-intolerant myself, so I do avoid dairy products (though I do not have such severe reactions as you do). I may be over-generalising here, but many Chinese seem to be lactose-intolerant
    as well, so use of cream/cheeses/milk is rare in Chinese cooking. Ditto Malay cooking.

    But Indian (especially Northern Indian) cooking uses quite a bit of dairy products though - mainly ghee, cream or milk, so please look out.

    I'm making a list of hawker foods which I like, and which I know have no dairy products:
    - Fried Hokkien noodles
    - Hainanese chicken rice
    - Fried koay teow
    - Chwee koay (steamed rice cakes)
    - Nasi lemak (uses coconut milk, but do check if they substitute any low-fat milk for health-conscious Singapore consumers)
    - Laksa (same as for nasi lemak above)
    - Chinese dim sum like har gow, siu mai, char-siew pao, spring rolls, cheong fun. Only need to look out for egg-custard tarts which may have milk/butter.
    - Satay
    - Nasi Padang
    - Indian Rojak
    - Fruit rojak

    Try and avoid:
    - Any Indian breakfast food, as dairy products are used in abundance in Indian cooking, either in the form of ghee (clarified butter) for frying prata, etc., or milk
    - Fish-head curry, very popular in Singapore - there's a possibility that a little milk is added for richness in some restaurants
    - Kaya toast, with butter
    - Be careful when ordering coffee/tea from coffee shops - they add evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk
    - Some Chinese fish soups may contain small amounts of milk, used to add richness to the soups

    In most fine dining restaurants in Singapore, KL or Langkawi - they can usually ensure your food is dairy-free - just tell them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: M_Gomez

      Thanks M_Gomez, will defintely make note of your recommendations. I always have to be careful with food, and sometimes it is difficult when you can't speak the language.