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Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

Old Feb 8th 2010, 9:50 am
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Default Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

Hi,

Im planning a short trip to Japan, and wanted to enquire how common is the use of peanuts and peanut oil is in Japanese food. I have a mild peanut allergy and am aware that a number of Asian countries use peanuts heavily in their cuisine.
However Ive seen conflicting articles on the net saying that peanut oil and peanuts are not commonly used in Japan and others saying they are.

I though perhaps someone here might have a first hand insight
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Old Feb 8th 2010, 1:09 pm
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Default Re: Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

If it helps, my girlfriend is Japanese, I have been living with her for around 18 months and have visited her family in Tokyo and Saitama and none of them have ever cooked anything for me with peanuts in it.

They are a common ingredient in Chinese cuisine but I don't think the Japanese really use them at all. Japanese food is very simplistic and it's usually a case of WYSIWYG (to use an IT geek acronymn there). They don't generally add spices and secret ingredients to things and most dishes are fairly straightforward once you get over the initial culture shock.

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Old Feb 9th 2010, 8:08 am
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Default Re: Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

Originally Posted by DigitalGhost View Post
If it helps, my girlfriend is Japanese, I have been living with her for around 18 months and have visited her family in Tokyo and Saitama and none of them have ever cooked anything for me with peanuts in it.

They are a common ingredient in Chinese cuisine but I don't think the Japanese really use them at all. Japanese food is very simplistic and it's usually a case of WYSIWYG (to use an IT geek acronymn there). They don't generally add spices and secret ingredients to things and most dishes are fairly straightforward once you get over the initial culture shock.

WYSIWYG, Im familiar with that term :-)

Thanks for the useful info! It always helps to hear from someone with a first hand perspective
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Old Feb 9th 2010, 11:53 am
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Default Re: Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

I checked with my gf for you, just avoid sweet things over there and you'll definitely be fine, it's almost never used in Japanese savoury dishes.
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Old Feb 10th 2010, 8:08 am
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Default Re: Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

Originally Posted by DigitalGhost View Post
I checked with my gf for you, just avoid sweet things over there and you'll definitely be fine, it's almost never used in Japanese savoury dishes.

Thats great, having an allergy is a bit of pain as its one of the reasons I have avoided visiting various countries like malaysia, china and thailand as they seem to use peanuts/peanut oil heavily. Japan by the sounds of things doesnt share that element in their cuisine so hopefully should be ok!!
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Old Feb 10th 2010, 8:40 am
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Default Re: Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

I know what you mean. I have an allergy to some kind of food preservative which still remains offically undiagnosed. I have managed to sort of control it myself by avoiding some foods which I think may be responsible (primarily pre-packed sandwiches from Sainsburys) but it does make things difficult and according to the doctors I have consulted in the UK, I am not allergic to anything in particular.

I was fine in Asia though and Japanese food is slightly more simple than Chinese, Thai, Korean etc although some of it is really delicious and I would highly recommend Tempura if you haven't tried that already.
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Old Feb 11th 2010, 1:25 pm
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Default Re: Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

Originally Posted by DigitalGhost View Post
I know what you mean. I have an allergy to some kind of food preservative which still remains offically undiagnosed. I have managed to sort of control it myself by avoiding some foods which I think may be responsible (primarily pre-packed sandwiches from Sainsburys) but it does make things difficult and according to the doctors I have consulted in the UK, I am not allergic to anything in particular.

I was fine in Asia though and Japanese food is slightly more simple than Chinese, Thai, Korean etc although some of it is really delicious and I would highly recommend Tempura if you haven't tried that already.
I have heard about Tempura, sounds tasty,I will be sure to give it a try!

Preservative allergy is something that is definately becoming more common, also the flavour enhancer MSG is an allergen for a lot of people. Although your doctor says you are not allergic to anything, you might have a food "intolerance" which is not the same as an allergy. I have a few food intolerances, which I had suspected for some time but was not sure. I decided to have a food intolerance test which picked up all the foods I had identified and couple more. There are quite a few tests on the market, but I had the Yorktest which is the only one endorsed by the AllergyUK.
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Old Feb 11th 2010, 1:30 pm
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Default Re: Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

How do those tests work then? This was the first and only problem I have ever been to my current GP with and at first the receptionists insisted that I went to a private allergy clinic at my own expense until I finally got an appointment with a GP and they referred me straight to my local hospital.

I had two appointments, the first being in December 08 when they took samples of my blood and performed those skin test things on my arm and then the second a few months later when they basically said the results had proven negative for every allergy in their lab (despite the fact that I showed an immediate reaction to at least the dust sample during the test) and that the problem was most likely stress related.

I really should go back and see them about it I think since I've had a major reaction since then which needed nearly 2 nights in the hospital but I'm not sure how to handle it.
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Old Feb 11th 2010, 4:26 pm
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Default Re: Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

You may want to speak to a naturopath or nutritionist. Doctors will probably be looking for outright allergies, whereas a holistic/naturopath/nutritionist will be able to help you find the foods that you are intolerant to.

Food intolerances can manifest themselves in different ways, some of which resemble allergy symptoms (not anaphylactic, of course). And, some conditions can actually be spurred on by food intolerances - e.g. psoriasis, eczema - these are auto-immune conditions, which can be triggered by a food or chemical intolerance.

I work with a nutritionist on a regular basis, which has helped me to discover these things. Still working on a few issues, but I've had good success. Wishing you the same.

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Old Feb 11th 2010, 4:27 pm
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Default Re: Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

Thanks, I'll look into that, much appreciated.

It's actually the best advice I've been given on this subject in almost a year I think.
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Old Feb 11th 2010, 4:29 pm
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Default Re: Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

You`re most welcome!

p.s. I lived in Japan for a year, and really liked the food.
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Old Feb 12th 2010, 7:19 am
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Default Re: Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

Originally Posted by DigitalGhost View Post
How do those tests work then? This was the first and only problem I have ever been to my current GP with and at first the receptionists insisted that I went to a private allergy clinic at my own expense until I finally got an appointment with a GP and they referred me straight to my local hospital.

I had two appointments, the first being in December 08 when they took samples of my blood and performed those skin test things on my arm and then the second a few months later when they basically said the results had proven negative for every allergy in their lab (despite the fact that I showed an immediate reaction to at least the dust sample during the test) and that the problem was most likely stress related.

I really should go back and see them about it I think since I've had a major reaction since then which needed nearly 2 nights in the hospital but I'm not sure how to handle it.
It sounds quite serious if you had two nights in hospital over it.

Do you know what kind of skin test they did was it a RAST test? I have had two tests, one arranged through a doctor which was the RAST test otherwise known as an IGe test, where they take a blood sample and send it away for analysis. This tested for food and airborne allergies, nuts, milk, pollen, dust, cat hair etc.
The Yorktest which I paid for myself is an IGG test, which is supposed to identify intolerances as opposed to allergies. Its a skin prick test and you send the sample back to yorktest. Because IGe and IGg tests are looking at two different areas of immune response, one test might pick up something missed by the other, it did in my case.
Unfortunately it is a complex subject, which can involve a lot of trial and error trying to identify whats causing the problem. I would suggest going to a specialist allergy clinic who can arrange any further tests and possible treaments or dietary changes. Also a few clinics offer desensitising treatments that can work for certain types of allergies/intolerances.

I personally believe stress is also a big factor in causing allergies and other illness to manifest themselves, anything you can do to reduce it is worthwhile. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to keep stress hormones in check.
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Old Feb 12th 2010, 8:38 am
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Default Re: Peanuts in Japanese Cuisine

Originally Posted by Legion View Post
It sounds quite serious if you had two nights in hospital over it.

Do you know what kind of skin test they did was it a RAST test? I have had two tests, one arranged through a doctor which was the RAST test otherwise known as an IGe test, where they take a blood sample and send it away for analysis. This tested for food and airborne allergies, nuts, milk, pollen, dust, cat hair etc.
It was that one I think. They took blood samples and used razor blade-type things to break the skin on my arm and then test different samples on the different abraisions. I know they tested for dust (as that proved positive) and I'm pretty sure it also included pollen and cat hair.

The weird thing is that when it happens I'm not usually in a position of stress. The first time was a few years ago when I was on holiday (and I was probably more physically fit at that time than I have ever been) and the last two occasions have happened when I have just been watching TV on the couch at home.
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