Will be visiting Penang and KL for 10 days, for the first time, from coming monday on. I love food and eat everything, but have since about 1,5 years a lethal mustard allergy. This includes not only the spice itself, but all related vegetables - basically the whole brassica family (broccoli, cauliflower, rabe, morning glory, etc). If i eat a little piece of the vegetables in question i will react but can control it with pills, where as mustard itself (in spice mixes, curries, gravies, etc) will send me immediately to anaphylactic shock. In europe i can usually test new/unknown foods by putting them to my lips, but overall spicyness in most asian cuisines tends to cover up my reaction and therefor render the test method unreliable.
I have been researching the food in my two destinations and am aware there are many things that are no-goes for me :( I would love to hear from chowhounders on two points:
* Are there any dishes that are typical and/or great in Penang/KL that i can eat with no concerns (with no modifications)?
* Will communication be possible (in food stalls and also in restaurants) in English to ask specific ingredients of dishes? Unfortunately i do not speak any of the local languages.
I am not worried about starving, i always find something to eat (worst case breads, rices, pancakes, noodles without any sauces), i am rather worried about if i will be able to taste typical dishes, the good food, without killing myself :)
Any and all comments to the two above points are welcome!