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Noodle Box unconcerned of allergies [moved from B.C. (inc. Vancouver) board]

[NOTE: We've moved this thread from the B.C. board because it's turned into a discussion of how diners with allergies should communicate with restaurants, and that's a topic that's relevant to all diners. -- The Chowhound Team]

curious if there's other accounts of this but boyfriend had ordered take-out from one of the noodle box's in Victoria and made a request for beef, double meat. they interpreted this as two meats, one of which was shrimp. guess who has a shellfish allergy?

after the trek home and a bite into it, tingly lips and the offending protein was found. it could have been bad, very bad. so a call was made to the people at the noodle box and while they were pleasant enough their only response was to offer a replacement only if he could come in and claim it that night. he had already endured a 30 minute venture home, trekking another hour to get his correct order that wouldn't have sent him into anaphylactic shock wasn't something he was up to. he asked if they would deliver it. No. What if he paid their service fee? No. no noodles for dinner, i guess.

he sent off an e-mail to the owners and no response two days later. terribly disappointing.

i'm rather upset that he essentially paid for a near visit to the hospital.

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    1. What they did doesn't make sense, but neither does the fact that he didn't mention that he has an allergy to seafood.

      3 Replies
      1. re: julies1949

        he's ordered from them several times before without this issue, the same order. the order doesn't include any kind of seafood, so why should they include any?

        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          Why should they not?

          It's the customer's responsibility to inform the business of any allergies.

          1. re: Sam Salmon

            why are they selling people a product they didn't request? there was never any shrimp in this dish, so why should it suddenly appear when it's not part of the dish?

      2. No, if he has a potentially lethal seafood allergy, regardless of whether or not he is ordering a dish with seafood potentially in it, he should be declaring that allergy. Southeast Asian food is loaded with fish sauce, shrimp paste and other things that could trigger a reaction. Let alone. The potential for cross contamination with an allergen. Sorry, he needs to be explicit.

        1 Reply
        1. re: peter.v

          he has ordered the dish multiple times before, checked for allergy issues at first order and there were no concerns. why would he check every single time afterwards? i'm not sure what is going on in BC but i would consider receiving the WRONG order bad service, i would consider not being told of a substitution bad service, and i would consider not being helpful in replacing the dish with the one he had actually ordered bad service REGARDLESS of the allergy.

        2. Restaurants make mistakes .. For something that could send him into anaphylactic shock, a 5 second explanation is pretty important. Every time.

          1. So, in summary:
            1) boyfriend has fatal allergy to shellfish.
            2) boyfriend ordered noodles from Asian-themed restaurant and didn't mention fatal allergy.
            3) noodle dish had shellfish.

            Glad he's ok but I see absolutely no fault with the restaurant here. I don't understand what kind of response you expected from them, given they weren't at fault (that they offered to replace the dish without cost was particularly nice of them, actually).

            And, frankly, knowing many people with fatal nut allergies, I've seen them go through the pre-ordering "you realise I could die if you get this wrong" spiel. I'm shocked it's not in his usual ordering routine, particularly given it's an Asian restaurant and curry pastes, sauces and other things are made with dried and fresh shrimps all the time.

            1 Reply
            1. re: reiney

              Was the shrimp visible in the take-out container ? I'd imagine there'd be at least one in there. But sadly your boyfriend obviously didn't see it, and suffered for it later.

              I can see PSP's point of view in that, her BF ordered the same dish several times before without issues. And this time he expected the same, and may have just chowed down into it before realizing there were shrimps in there.

              But based on what PSP said, I too would think it'd be prudent for her BF to have been over-cautious given the seriousness of his allergy. If I had a serious, potentially-fatal food allergy, I'd scrutinize each and every food order (eat-in or take-out) to the Nth degree, no matter if the vendor/restaurant had a perfect track record or not. Staff changes, transcription mistakes, verbal mistakes, language issues ...... all kinds of things can lead to errors like this. Like others said above, it'd take a few extra seconds as a customer to ensure what was ordered match what was received. Especially if shrimps were visible in the take-out (and even if not, like Peter V. said, many cuisines' ingredients contain "hidden" elements that may be of risk to someone with allergies).

              At the end of the day, we are relieved your BF was ok at the end. Let's hope lessons learned will prevent future mishaps.