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Allergic to crustaceans

Melbourne
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Allergic to crustaceans

Hello, I am coming to langkawi with my boyfriend very soon and we are staying at the westin. However, we would like to get out and about and try different places to eat etc.

The only thing is that I am very highly allergic to crustaceans, that means shrimp, prawns, crabs, lobster. I can eat all fish, scallops, oysters, mussells etc.

I understand nearly all Malaysian cuisine involves shrimp paste of some sort and it us used as a base for satay, laksa, thai curries etc.

What sort of local dishes can I eat and are there places you would recommend?

Thanks.

Bristol, United...
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1. Re: Allergic to crustaceans

At hawkers markets everything is made fresh - i suggest you speak to each cook as everything is made differently

Due to religious restrictions on foods most cooks in Malaysia understand special requirements

Langkawi, Malaysia
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2. Re: Allergic to crustaceans

Hi Jess,

I think you must be very, very careful with the local Malaysian food, indeed. Even in the mango salad they use tiny shrimps. When I ask them a dish without any meat or chicken they tend to give it "complimentary".

The Indian restaurants are safer as many Hindus are vegetarian. Sure in the resorts you are they will make sure once you tell them about your allergy.a

I hope this helps a little bit.

Eva

Bearsden, Glasgow
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3. Re: Allergic to crustaceans

Jess,

I have the same allergy, only less extreme as I have no problem with something like shrimp paste used a secondary ingredient. Sorry, I have no hard and fast tips for you, except to stress to the person serving you how severe your allergy is, if they don’t seem to understand then get another person with better language skills to your table. Even at that… inspect your food (in great detail) when you get it. Two things I have always found to contain shredded shrimp or tiny shrimps are things like Chinese spring rolls and egg fried rice. Another thing I always seems to get shrimp in is that Indian rice dish biryani. But many things that simply should not contain shellfish, somehow they seem to sneak it in. I probably look insane but I dissect my food and have a real good look at it before I put a bit in my mouth.

Maybe someone on the forum would be kind enough to translate “I have an extreme allergy to crustaceans, please make sure my meal contains NO shellfish” then you could maybe try saying that sentence or show the server a piece of paper where you have it written down.

I also agree with Eva that in Indian places I have fewer problems playing “hide the hidden shrimp”.

You know those crab stick things, check your meals that they haven’t added that sliced very thinly. I have found that in many a dish and find it harder to spot because of its neutral colour.

Bearsden, Glasgow
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4. Re: Allergic to crustaceans

another thing Jess, would your allergy be triggered by something indirect like a pan used to cook something fishy, then being used for your chicken dish, without the pan being cleaned in between the two dishes?

If so, be very careful with this. This doesn’t trigger my allergy, but because I never eat fish in any shape or form I can “taste” it a mile off and very often I just know fish has been cooked in my pan, or fish has been sliced on the same chopping board as my salad.

Langkawi
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5. Re: Allergic to crustaceans

Hi Jess,

Tak Mau = Don't want

Udang = Prawns, shrimps

Ketam = Crabs

Udang Karang = Lobsters

These are words to remember to tell the waiters to avoid in your food.

If you are dining in hotel restaurants then there is always the chance of prawns being added in the dishes. Prawns are expensive by our standard at RM 45.00 per kilo for the BIG ones so most outside restaurants will not use it to dress their dishes unless you request. Most of the local dishes in local restaurants will add chicken meat (chicken is RM 6.00 per kilo)because they are the cheapest source of proteins after eggs of course.

Satay and satay sauce do not contain prawns at all. Satay is skewered beef or chicken and the sauce is made of ground peanuts, chillies, galanga, lemon grass stalk, tamarind and salt to taste. No shrimp paste added. Wouldn't taste nice with it too.

Laksa and sauce too do not contain prawns but you have the option to add prawn paste it you want. Laksa is rice noodles and the soup or sauce is made of fish, torch ginger flower, lemon grass stalk, chilli and salt to taste.

Stay away from sambal belacan (belachan = prawn paste cake).

Someone mentioned about beryani containing prawns - this is not true at all. We only have chicken, beef or mutton beryani. Or sometime Fish but in my 54 years of existence I have not come across Prawn Beryani unless you want to add the King Prawns on your own.

Anyway hotel restaurants has detailed description of their fares on offer in their menu. You can specify to them your needs but then again sometimes or rather most of the time they conviniently forget and add them it. My wife has similar problems as you do. We had this instant forgetfulness in hotel restaurants more than in outside restaurants.

dukun

Bearsden, Glasgow
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6. Re: Allergic to crustaceans

Dukun,

I am sorry but your post is not just inaccurate, it’s potentially very dangerous to people like the Jess and myself.

Maybe you should tell the chef in the Shangri-la Golden Sands Hotel in Penang that satay doesn’t contain shrimp paste. Because for the last 5 years or more this renowned Malaysian chef has been giving a weekly satay cooking class and I can assure you, that in both the marinade for the meat and in the peanut sauce he uses shrimp paste. I’m sure if you email the hotel they will send you a copy of their chef’s famous recipe, as they give the recipe free to every guest who attends the cooking class. Also tell the cook in my favourite satay hawker stall in KL to stop using shrimp paste as well, though he only uses it in his peanut sauce. And maybe when you’ve done that you can get in touch with these websites who also are dumb enough to use shrimp paste in their satays,

www.malaysianfood.net/recipes/recipesatay.htm

www.tourismpenang.gov.my/article.cfm?id=31

geocities.com/Tokyo/…singaporesatay.html

…blogspot.com/2007/01/malaysian-satay.html

http://kuali.com/recipes/viewrecipe.asp?r=845

asian-recipes.com/hawkers/chicken-mutton-bee…

ehow.com/how_2118210_make-satay-marinade.html

or maybe you should just get your facts right before you go contradicting people !

And I can assure you I have had chicken biryani in Malaysia that has contained prawns, and I have had this on at least 3 separate occasions in different restaurants. I will agree with you they were not supposed to contain prawns, but they did. I’ve even had a chef come out of the kitchen and assure me there were no prawns in it, and as the lighting was so bad I moved to the well lit kitchen, fished the tiny things out till I had a spoon full of them and then he simply couldn’t argue. They were tiny shrimps/prawns. I have had tons of dishes in Malaysia that should never have contained fish in any form but did.

I know you are only trying to help, but as you are someone who I assume eats shellfish you would probably never even notice a tiny amount of shellfish mixed in a dish - I do notice it, because I get very sick minutes after eating it. I have no other allergies so when I get an allergic reaction I KNOW there is shellfish in there somewhere, and when you look closely, you find them.

The original poster on this thread has to be VERY careful as her allergy sounds a lot more severe than mine, and I really think you should be a lot more sure of your facts before you go giving advice which is not just inaccurate but could be potentially very very dangerous. Just because your mother/wife/sister doesn’t use shrimp paste in their satay, that does not apply to all, or even the majority of Malaysian cooks, as a quick google with the terms “satay” and “belacan/shrimp paste/trassi” will show.

Bearsden, Glasgow
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7. Re: Allergic to crustaceans

Jess, sorry, I have absolutely no idea why I just referred to you as "the Jess"

it's late here ;-)

Langkawi, Malaysia
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8. Re: Allergic to crustaceans

@ Thistlegirl,

who would have expected shrimps paste in the delicious peanut sauce they serve together with the satay or gado-gado? You seem to be very knowledgeable about that topic; obviously you suffered enough yourself.

I must be horrible to go out for dinner being afraid the food could make you so sick. What do you know about the Indian restaurants? Do they also use the shrimps paste? And what about their use of MSG? What are the traditional Malaysian dishes that are guaranteed to be without both?

I value your answer.

Eva

Langkawi
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9. Re: Allergic to crustaceans

Sorry Tistlegirl,

The satay they put up is modified satay. The original satay we always prepared do not contain BELACHAN!! It would taste horrible. The usual satay vendors would not put it. Same goes for all the dishes I quoted.

But remember I did not recommend hotel food as they always add shrimps into many things they cook to give the extra sweet taste of prawns.

But anyway, please accept my humble apologies if I have miss led people by my post. I am not a tourist to Langkawi. I live here. I wouldn't know what the chef in Penang or other places in Malaysia does since this forum is on Langkawi and not the other places.

Meat marinated with BELACHAN??? How can people ever think of that?. Luckily I do not patronize that hotel.

Dukun

Langkawi
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10. Re: Allergic to crustaceans

Jess and Thistle,

My wife sympathize with both of you suffering similar problems as she does. She is allergic to prawns but thank God not to a prawn lover ..

We would like to invite both of you to enjoy food without prawns at our house. She will cook satay and peanut sauce without the dreaded BELACHAN as we always do at home for you.

Give me a message the next time you are in Langkawi and allow us to entertain you in the way we do always.

Thank you

Dukun