Location: Ideas >> Vegans & Vegetarians >> Vegans & Vegetarians in China
Login for full access to Couchsurfing Groups. Not a member yet? Join our community!

Allergic to tofu?
Posted April 6th, 2011 - 8:01 am by from New York, United States (Permalink)
I have both fish and shellfish allergies. Something I've noticed since moving to China is that, with one or two exceptions, the tofu gives me hives. I've had to switch to eggs (which I don't eat at home).

Does anyone know if they're making the tofu with fish water? Or do they just not wash their knives?

Posted April 6th, 2011 - 10:57 am by from Fanlo, Spain (Permalink)
I´m sorry for your allergic reaction to the Chinese tofu.
Normally tofu has nothing to do with seafood. But it could be the extra ingredients used for the plates you encountered. there´s a sauce used very often in Chinese restaurants, similar to soysauce but with sea product elements.
Are you allergic to soy? Moving to a new environment can give one some allergic reaction too,due to geographical,and personal emotional factors. I am having the same problem since i´ve moved to north Spain.
I think it´s better that you stop taking in any more tofu while you are there in China. are you ok with seitan, the wheat gluten food? there are many places in China where you can buy them. it´s very good vegie protein too.

Posted April 6th, 2011 - 3:05 pm by from New York, United States (Permalink)
Good point about the soy sauce. Ick. So far what I use at home seems to be ok, but can you tell me what Chinese characters I should look out for in the future? I stopped eating out a long time ago, so I don't think soy or oyster sauces at restaurants are much of a problem.

I should note that's what's baffling me is that I'm even allergic to the tofu from the grocery store. I live in a pretty small town in southern China that's really big on fish and rice; it's why I suspect cross-contamination (e.g., using knives used to butcher fish to cut the tofu without washing them first or reusing water from fish tanks).

In my case, hives are a pretty clear immunological response to an environmental stimulus. I'm positive it's not emotional: as long as I cook for myself and avoid my town's tofu, I'm good to go.

I'm not allergic to any other foods. I am also allergic to one type of detergent, and if that's also in my town's tofu...well...

I've never seen seitan sold in my town, so I think I'd have to make it myself. Suggestions?

Posted April 6th, 2011 - 4:17 pm by from Fanlo, Spain (Permalink)
Hey, the sauce i mentioned is just oyster sauce! 蠔油 (pronounced as "hao you")

there are many other like-products used in restaurant cooking you have to look out. so i guess it´s wise not eating outside.

the hygiene problem you mention could be possible but very rarely.

Just trust your intuition. whenever you feel unsecured with the aura of a certain plate or place, avoid it. that´s what i´m doing now, ask myself what kind of the food i feel most certain of, then i make a list and stick to it. and i´m learning to say "no" to others´ offerings, which is really hard, as you know:-)

Good idea to make your own seitan since it´s easy. there are many recipes to find on internet. or you can ask your friends back home to send you packages of wheat gluten. and it´s even easy to make your own tofu too. but i never made that myself. ask a local Chinese friend to see whether you can find someone to teach you.

i myself i´m not very good with soy food. it makes me feel wierd in stomach. not even gluten, lentils,etc. sometimes i don´t know what i can eat. then i´ve turned to fish. and i recently found that food made of chickpeas make me feel really good and satisfied.

Best luck