[Written at 1.09 P.M. (07th June) Singapore time, 10.07 P.M. (06th June) Vancouver time.]
I was always under the impression that places in the USA and Canada will be a little more prudent when it comes to nut allergies because it is pretty rampant there. From what I heard, the rate of peanut allergies is highest among Westerners – I read about it on some article in a health magazine in Singapore about a year or two back.
It’s pretty cool to see nut allergy warnings on food boxes, labels and whatnot for once. I think it is a requirement here in view of the high nut allergy rates. T’was really helpful for people like me. (And helpful for the food companies too, so that they don’t get sued their pants off in the event an ‘accident’ happens.)
So I somewhat expected the same out of restaurants.
I was dining at a Chinese restaurant at Aberdeen (Richmond, Vancouver) this evening and my aunts ordered watercress soup (my favourite!) as one of the dishes. When the order was being taken, my uncle asked the waiter over and over again whether the soup contained nuts, which the latter denied. (For the strangest reason. He said nuts were expensive. o.O Huh and double huh?!)
So the food arrived and I slurped my soup happily, flashing my gleeful yum yum, watercress soup! grin at everyone in the vicinity, particularly my mum. She got suckered in by my grin and gave me some of her soup in response. Heh.
All things went well until I chanced upon this strange white solid … thing in my soup. It looked suspiciously like the edge of an almond, but I wasn’t sure. Plus, the waiter did say that the soup did not contain nuts. Could … it be some herb? Ginger? Garlic, perhaps? Sliced garlic sometimes looked like that.
My relatives tried tasting that little white solid mystery object for me, but no one could decipher what it was. By then, one of my aunts was beginning to look worried and told me to stop drinking the soup just in case.
Within a coupla’ minutes, my gleeful yum yum, watercress soup! grin had turned into a disappointed I have a bowl of untouchable watercress soup in front of me frown. (And at that time, I was already slightly itchy and could feel my throat swelling slightly – but I was trying to not think about it.)
My uncle summoned the waiter over.
The waiter studied the little white mystery object for a while before waving it aside.
“No, no, no! This is definitely not a nut or a peanut.”
I heaved a sigh of relief.
“It’s only an almond.”
A … WHAT?!?
At that moment, I wished I could have thrown up all the soup on the spot – because the hives were starting to appear in droves. I remained scratchy scratchy for the entire dinner. And the worst part? I chose the wrong day to change the bag I brought out because I had apparently, forgotten to transfer my medicine case over. :(
According to the waiter at the Chinese restaurant, they don’t consider almond as being part of the nut family. To them, an almond is like a fruit.
I’m fine now. Still a little itchy, but otherwise fine.
And I think the definition of what is a nut should have a worldwide standard.