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Dec 24, 2010 05:11 AM

Peanut Oil at Chinese Restaurants?

Hi Hounds:

Quick question: We're thinking of taking a family member with nut allergies to a Chinese restaurant over the next couple days (Mary Chung was on the list, among others).

Does anyone happen to know if these restaurants tend to use peanut oil or other nut oils for general frying (dumplings, egg rolls, etc). Obviously the family member will stay away from sesame chicken and dan dan noodles and the like, and I know we can ask the server when we are seated, but thought some inside info might save us a trip if we have to rule that restaurant out. Thanks a bunch!

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  1. Refined peanut oil (for cooking) is allergen free.

    1. Nut allergies in a Chinese restaurant? Yikes. Not a good idea at all. What's been your experience before in restaurants and allergic reactions?

      1. Go to Blue Ginger for someplace safe. Ming Tsai has kids that have allergies so he's big into documenting exactly what is in the food...
        Depends how allergic your family member is...

        Blue Ginger
        583 Washington St., Wellesley, MA 02482

        5 Replies
        1. re: Spike

          That's a great recommendation. Ming is, according from his website, "A national spokesperson for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network." Of course, Blue Ginger is bigger bucks than May Chung and Chinese? Sorta.
          Re "how allergic": I'm sorry to say that reactions can get worse in intensity! An epi-pen buys you time, but people die every year from reactions to food...

          Blue Ginger
          583 Washington St., Wellesley, MA 02482

          1. re: scotty27

            allergy-free eating is never cheap (including buying stuff from whole foods to avoid allergies)...but it's cheaper than a visit to the emergency room...

            There was a show on Chronicle a few weeks back about eating out if you have allergies...Ming Tsai was featured as well as a few other places that did gluten free baking, etc. so you might want to see if you can find it. I didn't know his kids had allergies to multiple foods until I saw that. It was impressive to see the big binder w/ all the food ingredient information they keep at Blue Ginger and all the new staff have to go through it...

            Blue Ginger
            583 Washington St., Wellesley, MA 02482

            1. re: Spike

              It can be cheap depending on the allergy: Shellfish, dairy, etc.
              Extremely easy to avoid the former by going to veg or Kosher places and staying away from Southeast Asian restaurants.

              Insurance covers the ER if you can get there in time.

              Legal Seafood also has an allergy free menu.


              1. re: scotty27

                Legal Seafood also has an allergy free menu.....


                Many are allergic to shellfish.

            2. re: scotty27

              I would second the suggestion of the Blue Ginger, which is in Wellesley.
              PF Changs, which isn't really Chinese, also can deal with peanut allergies. My daughter has peanut allergies and we haven't been satisfied that any of the restaurants in Chinatown are truly peanut-free.

              Blue Ginger
              583 Washington St., Wellesley, MA 02482

          2. Hi BostonTrav,

            I remember someone asking a similar question a few weeks ago. This thread might give you some helpful insight or information:

            (I have a severe nut and sesame allergy, as well, so I understand).

            1. I think you'd be best advised to have your family member discuss it with their own allergist. I'm sure everyone here is well meaning but we don't know the extent of the allergies and what the consequences might be..same with your server. I like Mary Chung's for a few of their items but I wouldn't put my life in the hands of 1 of their server's knowledge about allergies.

              If the person has been eating in lots of Chinese restaurants, I'd be less concerned. I've just heard some horror stories about peanut, shrimp, etc allergies and I don't know if a peaut butter sandwich or someting stir fried in peanut oil is going to affect them.

              I haven't had the pleasure of a trip to the ER; as the principal...but it doesn't look like fun.

              CH is great for trading ideas on where to eat, medical advice..probably not.

              Mary Chung Restaurant
              460 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

              1 Reply
              1. re: 9lives

                9olives is right.

                I have a friend who has a "get out of jail free" card: A laminated, wallet-sized card with Chinese on one side and Vietnamese on the other; a second card with Khmer on one side and Vietnamese on the other. Very explicit about the shellfish allergies and the medical consequences.

                Oh, you haven't lived until you're rushed to the ER.