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Sep 13, 2011 11:35 AM

real chinese with no msg

I've loved exploring flushing, and south brooklyn areas, for real sichuan food and other regional varieties. I love spicy food and I love flavors that I've never had before. But lately I've had a real problem with MSG. It leaves me feeling hungover for 24 hours, not fun. Are there any restaurants that serve real chinese with no MSG, where you don't have to make a special request? Because of the language barrier, I'm not usually comfortable asking for food without it... plus if places rely on it to make their food tasty, what will the food be like without it? Any and all suggestions please! Manhattan ok too, even though this is the wrong board.

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  1. That's a really tall order. While you may find some Chinese restaurants that don't add additional MSG, there's MSG in a lot of ready-made sauces such as XO sauce, oyster sauce and many chili oils.

    I think the best thing to do is to find restaurants that say they don't add MSG and try to order carefully. For example, steamed fish with ginger and scallions is generally soy sauce, sugar, salt, oil, scallions and ginger.

    Red Hot in Park Slope is a restaurant that says they don't add MSG.

    Red Hot
    349 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

    1. Avoiding MSG requires a very restrictive diet. No more cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, soy sauce etc.

      2 Replies
      1. re: twyst

        I know MSG occurs naturally, and is used in sauces, but thank you for the reminder too. I just wanted to minimize it, so I can eat this food that I really like with less chance of feeling bad the next day. As that too much to ask?

        So, more specifically, for the semanticians of the house: I'm looking for places with great food that don't spoon small or big amounts amounts of crystal or liquid synthetic MSG stuff into the food while cooking. I've seen the boxes out on the street, and a couple times gotten big gloms of the stuff in my mouth, when it didn't properly blend.

        I have also recently learned that when food labels say "yeast extract" or "autolyzed yeast", that that's just a way of hiding added MSG. it's in almost all processed food. But that's another story!

        1. re: apossibleworld

          I've ... gotten big gloms of the stuff in my mouth, when it didn't properly blend.
          That is absolutely impossible. MSG has the consistency of fine sugar or salt and immediately dissolves under heat in the wok.

      2. You used the terms "real sichuan food" and "real chinese". One of the ingredients that makes it "real" in China is MSG. I've eaten in over 200 restaurants in China and I'd guess that 99% of them added MSG. Many of them had MSG on the table in case I wanted more. (No, I never added any.) If you asked those places to omit the MSG and wondered what the food would be like without it, it would probably be more like much of the Chinese food in this country. MSG makes food taste better. I'm truly sorry if you have a medical problem with its usage.

        1. don't think spicy and tasty uses it in their chili noodles, shrimp with black bean and pepper, or shrimp with spicy turnups, or sesame noodles, try one of these and see if you do ok with it--and also if you want thai, I know definitely that I am thai in sunnyside will adjust anything for dietary reasons, the owner is amazing about that...

          Spicy & Tasty
          39-07 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354