Hidden ingredients at a restaurant.

Slightly off topic, though not really.

It is said that religious dietary rules (especially difficult ones) are meant to be a mean to keep the converted from interacting with others. I think Trockwood’s answer implied this phenomena. If the restrictions are tough and are expected to followed, then the only sure way to follow it is to buy your foods and dine your meals with people who share with your religion.

I’ve had an issue with this. I am extremely sensitive to chilli peppers. Not sure if it is a true allergy but my mouth swells and numbness sets in. Not sure if it’s actually hard to breathe or its just the numbness creating that feeling. Anyhow, this happens with the tiniest bit of exposure. It ruins the meal. So, I avoid chilis.

I recently ordered some calamari that was tossed with jalepinos. No indication of the jalepinos at all on the menu,.

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I don’t like bacon in soup period because I find it is too predominant a flavor and
kills the subtle flavors … I always ask now… I like bacon only with eggs or pancakes/French toast
and on a BLT or turkey club.

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Hindi is a language. A Hindu is a person who follows the religion of Hinduism. Many Hindus do not eat meat, and of those who do eat meat, many do not eat beef. (note many, not all).

I think if a restaurant is adding an ingredient that is a known “issue”, like peanuts or a pork product, it should be disclosed. There are common allergens that are known to the general public like soy, wheat, peanuts and shellfish. Same with pork – Jews and Muslims both tend to avoid pork products, and that seems to be known to the general public, I think.

Likewise, if the “secret ingredient” is prominent, it should be noted as well. For example, we were in Maui and I ordered a delicious sounded crab cake appetizer, described on the menu as fresh crab with a mango salsa and pea sprouts (I think, or micro-greens). When I got the crab cake, it was sitting on a pool of tomato sauce (similar to a marinara). I don’t like tomatoes, and I wouldn’t have ordered the crab cake had I known it came with tomato sauce. When I pointed it out to the server, he said “oh yes, it comes with the chef’s special tomato sauce”. That’s great, but it would have been helpful to have known that from the menu description, not to find out after I got it! A couple cherry tomatoes as garnish would be have been fine, but there was no way to eat around the tomato sauce because the crab cake was sitting in the middle of it.

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Peanuts yes, pork no – in my opinion. As much as pork is a major religious constraint to many. I believe it is a personal choice, not a life and death issue like allergy. In reality, there is probably no way to make everyone happy. Not listing is not acceptable. Listing everything is impossible.

I would argue that many people tend to avoid MSG as well, and there are so many ingredients with MSG.

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This.

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I am totally with you on this. I can’t have chilis, so there are a lot of restaurants I don’t even bother with- I like Thai but way too many chilis used so I don’t bother. Indian is much the same, I can manage to find something.

There is a restaurant that I wanted to try but looked at the menu and found some form of chili in nearly every dish. The dishes sounded good but I don’t expect the restaurant to alter their dishes just to suit me.

I have a friend with a severe allergy to lobster. He phones to find out if the restaurant serves it and won’t go there if they do.

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I’m lucky that I don’t have particular allergic with food or any food I couldn’t eat. (Except insects)

Once we went to a restaurant that served only chef prepared menus, kind of carte blanche, the waitress asked there were food we couldn’t eat, my eating partner answered - truffle. During the course, there were at lease 2 dishes prepared with truffles. So why asked if the chef has prepared the food beforehand. (It was a star restaurant)

I guess there are restaurants the chefs listen more to clients need and not only to his need. Just need to find them.

Well, I wasn’t there, but sometime even if the Chef does not alter the dishes (adding truffles regardless), maybe the servers can warn the customers ahead of time which one has what and which to avoid.

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Sounds to me like the server didn’t relay the message.

Actually, I think the waitress interpreted our message as a joke and didn’t take it seriously.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr