Eating out at seafood restaurants Raleigh NC can be a little daunting when you have food allergies. While many local seafood eateries have taken steps to help prevent you from having an allergic reaction, the best defense is to be informed and take the necessary precautions. Read on as we’ve rounded up some easy-to-remember safety tips so you can enjoy your next lunch or dinner affair.
Plan ahead and call the restaurant
Are you craving that Instagram-worthy seafood dish your friend just posted? And are you now thinking about ordering it, even if you feel that you might be allergic to one of its ingredients? While it might be tempting to quickly head on over to one of the seafood restaurants Raleigh NC to satisfy your craving, you should call the restaurant in advance (pro tip: avoid busy restaurant hours). Ask about that dish, ask what’s in it, and how it was prepared, so you can determine if it’s safe for you to eat.
Be honest and communicate with the restaurant staff
If you find yourself already seated at one of the seafood restaurants Raleigh NC, don’t hesitate to talk to your server and ask how a dish was prepared. Point it out on the menu and tell them exactly which ingredients you’d need to avoid, so it’s safe for you to eat.
If a server isn’t familiar, ask to speak with the chef or manager who are more than happy to discuss food options. You may also want to ask if they use separate kitchen utensils when preparing your meal, so you can be sure your food doesn’t come into contact with whatever you’re allergic to.
Watch out for “hidden” triggers
Common allergens “hide” in unexpected places, such as dressings, garnishes, sauces, or gravy. For instance, your milk allergy can be triggered if the meat dish you’re about to order was coated in egg-wash breading or was prepped with butter, cream, etc. Apart from discussing it with your server, be sure to read the tags on a restaurant’s menu. It’s a good thing that many seafood restaurants Raleigh NC use a labeled menu to address guests’ special dietary needs. You’ll find dishes tagged as Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, and also find Nut Alert warnings.
Avoid high-risk places
Some dining places pose a higher risk for you to accidentally eat something you’re allergic to. For instance, the chances of cross-contamination are higher at buffets because serving utensils can be shared, foods may get accidentally mixed, and, generally, dishes are served so close to each other. To be on the safe side, you should consider ordering a dish with fewer ingredients, as there is less room for error.
Create a Chef Card and bring it to seafood restaurants in Raleigh NC
If you have food allergies yet still love to dine out, consider creating your own Chef Card (also called an allergen card). It’s a pocket-sized piece of paper that states your specific food allergies as well as their severity. Once you have it, you can simply show it to the server or restaurant staff so they are aware of your special dietary needs and also know how to best prepare your meal.
Creating a card only takes a few minutes, and the card is also available in multiple languages. All you have to do is fill it out, print it, and keep it in your bag or wallet. You can find the template by visiting the Food Allergy Research & Education website.
Live a little, live well!
With a little extra planning and the necessary precautions, eating at seafood restaurants Raleigh NC doesn’t have to make you nervous all the time. One of the best things about dining out is trying something new and discovering favorites along the way. Just remember these tips so you can have a safe and enjoyable dining experience.
Preparing yourself before eating at seafood restaurants Raleigh NC reduces the likelihood of running into events that will cause panic. Of course, it’s not a bad idea to have your rescue medications within reach just so you have the peace of mind you need. And don’t forget to reward the excellent service courtesy of the restaurant staff at seafood restaurants Raleigh NC that paid close attention to your needs!