Thailand; it’s NUTS!

Time to kickstart this blog, with a post of real use. The primary reason for this blog, was to offer useful insights to allergy sufferers who planned on travelling to Thailand. There are many blogs which may offer advice upon allergies, but not many by allergy sufferers. So here we go;

Upon arrival in Bangkok, I had mushroom soup. I know ‘creamed’ soup contained coconut milk  as opposed to water, so I thought I would play safe and opt for non-creamed. Still, a problem occurred. Part way through my meal, I felt my throat tighten up. I stopped eating, and drank a lot of water. This is when reality kicked in. I’m not sure what was in it, whether the mushrooms had been fried in peanut oil, or whether there was just cross contamination, but it was enough to up my caution. Fact is though, if you live in Bangkok, you will not struggle to survive. There are Western restaurants, Tesco Lotus and 7-Eleven for all of your requirements. Just be careful. Personally, I wasn’t a massive fan of Bangkok, but it provides a safe alternative to rural Thailand, if you really want to visit the land of smiles.

Up until I moved to Nongbuadaeng, I played much more on the cautious side. 7-Eleven offers food which they can make for you in store; toasted sandwiches, croissants, rice pots and various burgers. That shop is thus effectively responsible for my survival, from October 20th to October 30th.

Nongbuadaeng was the turning point. As you’ve seen, I’ve met many great Thai people who have been great regards the food scene. Regarding Thai food, I’ll list what I’ve eaten thus far;

  • Som Tam – the famous papaya salad. In Thailand, it can be very spicy. If you want it without spice; say ‘mai sai pik’. If you want medium spice; ‘nid noi’. BEWARE; medium is not medium. It’s f’n hot. Ensure you have a glass of water at the ready.
  • Khao Tom – rice soup. I’ve joked with Thai teachers before, as they say this is the meal to have when you have a sore throat. It’s very bland just to go to a restaurant and eat. Simply rice in water, with vegetables and pork/chicken/soya.
  • Kapow Gai/Moo – Rice, with meat! If you have an allergy to rice, stay away. Kapow gai or moo can again be spicy, so use instructions given above – regards som tam. Kapow Gai is chicken mince served with rice, while kapow moo is pork mince served with rice.
  • Mooping – Pork on a stick. Available from your local market, accompanied with sticky rice. You get many foods on a stick, but be careful as some foods are fried and peanut oil may be used. Mooping is grilled.

Dependent upon the market size, some stalls sell chips. Dependent upon the area itself, you may even be lucky enough to have a western restaurant. NBD contains an ice cream shop, which sells western food; so, for example, battered fish was on the menu for Christmas dinner.

BEWARE. The above foods I have eaten, but the dishes can be altered slightly, dependent upon the restaurant. For example, Khao Tom can contain egg. DO NOT let this scare you. Research prior to my arrival in Thailand, led me to this; https://www.brokerfish.com/food-allergy-translation-cards/nuts-thai . Hand this card to the waiter/waitress or whoever, and they will react accordingly. In a Thai restaurant I went to, I wasn’t sure what to eat as I cannot read Thai – yet. They went away and discussed with the chef, and minutes later I was served kapow moo. The Thai people are very friendly, especially in rural areas.

If you plan to be in Thailand for more than a couple of weeks, your chances of survival can increase… I like rice, but having it for breakfast, lunch and dinner can prove a little much. So I bought myself a microwave. It costs around 2,000baht, £40, but monetary value doesn’t matter as much in a situation like this. What to cook then? You can purchase a range of vegetables from the market; potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes etc. In addition to vegetables, there’s a wide range of fruit, from banana’s to dragon fruit. If you take a trip to Tesco Lotus, then you can also stack up on tins. They sell beans, mushroom soup and corn soup, to name a few.

So; if you have a nut allergy and want to travel to Thailand, I cannot encourage you to do so. I would simply state that if you prepare, then survival is possible. Here’s a survival kit;

  • Allergy Card (as above)
  • Prescription medication, e.g. an epi pen or rather, epi pens!
  • Thai phrasebook.

Sanook. Enjoy.

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