How To Make it in Thailand with a Peanut Allergy

Peanuts and cashews are common ingredients in Thai food, and they’re a signature ingredient in many classic dishes, the most popular being Pad Thai, of course. It creates a serious problem for people living in Thailand, whether you’re a local or expat who has made it your home. Let’s discuss how to make it in Thailand with a peanut allergy. We’ll focus on practical tips everyone living in the country needs to know.

Shop and Cook for Yourself

If in doubt, do it yourself. When you buy your own ingredients and make your own food, you know what is and isn’t in it. And you won’t have to worry about peanut oil or a rogue nut making it into your noodles, posing a serious health hazard in a meal officially served without peanuts. If you’re staying in a hotel or resort, this may mean paying extra for a room that has its own kitchen.

Opt for Street Food over Restaurants

One of the benefits of street food is that you can see who is making the food and how they make it. Unless you have a peanut allergy so severe that even being in the vicinity of peanuts will cause a life-threatening problem, you can simply point to the ingredients you want or let them make it and explicitly stop them from adding nuts. You also have the option of searching for a cart that doesn’t sell anything that contains peanuts and know that you’re safe.

Know the Dishes That Are Off Limits

One benefit of authentic Thai food is that it doesn’t have as many peanuts as Thai food served in westernized restaurants. If you have a nut allergy, most rice, noodle and curry dishes are safe without fear of an allergic reaction, but you should still ask to make sure. However, this is where knowing the ingredients in common dishes is essential. For example, most curry is fine – but massaman curry contains peanuts in the sauce. Meat and vegetable skewers are typically fine, but satay skewers, in particular, come with peanut sauce. If you’re ordering it, you can ask for it without sauce, but you need to make sure the meat wasn’t marinated in the peanut sauce, either.

Know How to Save Your Own Life

Have a plan on what to do if you suffer an allergic reaction. This may involve carrying an epi-pen in your purse and knowing which pharmacies sell replacements if you need to buy one. Be safe and carry several.

It should include knowing which hospitals can treat your condition, take your insurance, and speak English. Make sure that you always have an allergy clinic Bangkok address in your wallet or purse, so that you can give it to someone who is talking to you and get appropriate medical attention.


Food allergies shouldn’t hold you back in life. And it is possible to live and travel in Thailand when you have a peanut allergy.

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