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.