Dining out with a food allergy can often seem like an impossible task that is worth neither the effort nor the risk. Nowadays, restaurants are more prepared for common food allergies, and are far more hospitable than in previous years – at last, eating out is a real possibility for allergy sufferers!
An increasing number of restaurants are investing in a proper training programme for staff, teaching them the best way to accommodate for those with allergies, as well as the appropriate response should a guest suffer an allergic reaction.
That said, you should never let your guard down, and there is no way to guarantee that food prepared by someone else will be entirely free from allergens.
We’ve outlined a couple of tips, to help you enjoy a meal away from the kitchen.
Our top tips:
- Ensure you have an action plan in place, should a reaction occur. It is also worth informing the restaurant of your allergy before you dine, so as to ensure that staff are fully trained in the appropriate response programme.
- Choose the right cuisine for your allergy:
- Nuts: avoid Asian, Indian and African cuisines – they tend to use nut traces in their cooking.
- Fish or shellfish: vegetarian restaurants are a good option – avoid seafood restaurants or Asian cuisine.
- Dairy: Asian restaurants are your best bet. European restaurants tend to include a lot of dairy products.
- Egg: vegan restaurants will steer clear of eggs in their cooking. Remember to keep away from creamy sauces, as well as breading or crumbing.
- Soy: generally, you should keep away from Asian cuisines, as well as many vegetarian meals which may utilise soy beans or tofu. Also, avoid reformed seafood and Asian style sauces.
- Stress the seriousness of your allergy to your waiter when ordering – don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice when you are perusing the menu.
- Be sure to ask questions regarding the preparation method – for example, a meal may be free from nuts, but cooked using peanut oil.
- Be aware that your allergen may be listed under a different name:
- Peanut – arachis
- Soy – edamame
- Wheat – bulgar
- Milk – casein
Following these simple tips can open up a world of gastronomical opportunity. Escape the kitchen and your food allergy, and dine out with ease.