Chinese Restaurant Syndrome

Last evening, I had dinner at the local Vietnamese restaurant.  I always order the same thing which is a rice vermicelli dish with vegetables and meat or chicken or tofu.  About 1/3 of the way through my meal, it started.  My head felt like it was in a vice, my fingers began to swell and my heart beat increased.  I recognized the symptoms immediately.  It was a reaction to monosodium glutamate (MSG).  I asked the waitress if the cooks put MSG in the food that they prepare.  She said “yes”.  Then I asked if they would withhold MSG if requested, and again, she said “yes”.  Really?  Would the kitchen keep MSG out of my next order?  How would I know if they honored my request?  I wouldn’t until I finished my meal.  If I don’t have a reaction, then there was no MSG in my meal OR there was very little in my meal, not enough for me to notice.  The sad part is that I have eaten at this restaurant many times without having a MSG reaction, except once about 5 years ago.  I had ordered a Chinese dish at that time so I blamed the MSG on my choice of meal.  Then it happened again last night after eating a Vietnamese dish.  Now I know to ask before I order food from any Vietnamese, Thai, or Japanese restaurant.  I’m excluding Chinese restaurants because I don’t eat at Chinese restaurants.

Here’s a link to a website with more details about monosodium glutamate.  This stuff is in almost all processed foods.  If it causes such severe symptoms, it can’t be safe.

The Food and Drug Administration claims that MSG is safe for humans.  I wonder.


About Cats r Flyfishn

Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up.
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3 Responses to Chinese Restaurant Syndrome

  1. onefly says:

    Sorry you got sick. If I could eat Vietnamese everyday I would. I will learn soon how to cook a couple of their dishes one being the traditional noodle bowl some places call it a vermicelli bowl. I cook Chinese and my wok is 30+ years old. I don’t use msg but one of my best dishes is Lo-mien. I like Panda brand oyster sauce and it has msg in it. You would like my Chinese/Tomese chop.

  2. I love Vietnamese food especially the Pho and the vermicelli bowl. I’ll just have to request “No MSG, please”. If I make it to Colorado, I’ll be looking forward to your Chinese/Tomese chop. 🙂

  3. cryptoclearance says:

    Hi! loved your post about MSG. My daughter is VERY sensitive to it and gets severe migraines from ingesting it in foods. She reads every label and always asks at restaurants.
    On a lighter note, I have a picture of a “chinese menu” that I have had on my computers since about 1996. I’d love to share it. However, it is for adults. 🙂

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