Love to take a Bao?

The soft, steamy flavors of Tom’s BaoBao at Harvard Square awakened in me a new appreciation for the diverse cuisines of China. Those with nut allergies often find it daunting to approach Asian restaurants… but Tom’s BaoBao in Harvard Square was absolutely amazing, delicious, and peanut and tree nut free!

Bao or steamed buns are a delicious street food that first appeared over 1,200 years ago in China. These little steamed buns make up some of the most popular recipes of northern China.

WhatsApp Image 2020-02-28 at 2.18.51 PM

The exact origins of the dish are difficult to trace, although the char Siu bao — named for its use of char Siu pork — was a staple in most dim sum platters served in Chinese tea houses along the Silk Road, serving as an archetype for its many variants over the centuries.

This well-known street food, an ultra-soft white dome, offers a complement of flavors — sweetness and sourness of meat. The pillow like Chinese treats can be either savory or sweet. Sometimes filled with traditional ingredients like pork, chicken, vegetables, or potatoes, they also can be perfect pockets for more adventurous palates when stuffed with tuna or BBQed pigtails! With an edgy twist of Shaoxing wine, mild curry or smoked tofu, charred Shishito peppers, to name a few the recipes tantalize the taste buds!


Tweet us: @AllergySmartz

Instagram us: @AllergySmartz

Facebook us:

Email us:

Comment right here on WordPress!

Back-To-School Guide

Welcome back #FALFamily! We are so excited to share with you all the amazing projects we’ve been working on for you this Summer.

Are you ready for school to start?! Click here for our ULTIMATE BACK TO SCHOOL GUIDE, designed to help answer any and all of your questions! Enjoy 🙂


Tweet us: @AllergySmartz

Instagram us: @AllergySmartz

Facebook us:

Email us:

Comment right here on WordPress!

Going to College #2

Attention College Bound Students!!
Have you heard of the FARE College Food Allergy Program?

FARE started a campaign in 2014 to not only help educate college staff on how to best accommodate children with food allergies, but also compile a database so prospective students can learn how each college plans to handle food allergies.

This new database is expected to be available by late 2016/early 2017.

For more information, visit:

If you’re heading off to college sooner than the database release, reach out to the colleges you’re considering for more information!

Many colleges already have established programs (such as mandatory staff trainings and additional allergen-free dining facilities) to ensure that their students with allergies can have a fun and safe time on campus.

Stay tuned for next week’s post: Allergy-Safe Airlines! More Going to College posts are on the way too!

Going to College #1

Hey #FAL Family!

Are you ready? Here’s the post you’ve been waiting for – the first in our Going to College series! These posts will be scattered throughout other helpful posts as well!

Once you have calmed down after the high of your acceptance to your dream school you should start planning for the upcoming events. Admitted students day, orientation, and all the other events the school will plan to convince you to attend their institution.

Whether it’s food trucks on grounds or access to their own cafeteria the school will set up food for the day. Reach out to the adults in charge of the event and/or the dining staff to make sure there’ll be something safe for you to eat!

Recently, Shirali (our chief writer) attended UVA Engineering admitted students day. UVA had organized for the students to have a free lunch in their cafeterias. After talking to dining services we were thrilled to find out that nothing with nuts was being served in the dining hall that day.

Not only is it important to make sure the college or university you attend will be the perfect fit academically, but also make you feel comfortable. These special events where you can dine on campus are the perfect opportunity to determine how the school will manage your food allergies.

Allergy Safe Dining in College

With several of our readers heading off to college this year, we are excited to announce our college series!

Get ready for a series of blog posts, interspersed between other helpful posts, about how to manage food allergies in college!

We’re honored to share this journey with you!


Back to School #7: Bus Drivers


Do you ride the bus home? Well don’t forget to be careful here! Make sure to inform your bus driver of your food allergies, and ensure that there is an epi-pen available to you on the bus.

Whether you spend 5 or 50 minutes on the bus ride home, it’s important to be safe and have the medication in case of an emergency.

Also – some bus drivers have a no eating policy, which, unfortunately not everyone obliges to. Therefore, take precautions – be safe 🙂

Back to School #6: Teachers

Teacher & Student

While not all schools allow the teachers to keep medication in the classroom, it’s important the teacher is aware of your food allergies. Don’t worry – children rarely have reactions in school (they take good precautions)!

However, you should inform your teacher, as it’s always nice to have an extra pair of eyes looking out for you.

Furthermore, most schools are encouraging the entire staff to learn how to use the epi-pen – whether your school has this policy or not, ensure at least your teacher has been trained to know both HOW and WHEN to use the epi-pen. (*Teachers will generally know how, but make sure they know when as well!)

Back to School #5: The Nurse

School Nurse

Who do you need to inform about your food allergy?

Well, first engage in a conversation with your nurse – she is the liaison between you and the other school staff members involved in your care.

Be specific about:

  1. What cannot be in your food
  2. How it should be prepared to avoid cross contamination
  3. The treatment plan in case of emergencies

She/he should know how to (and with what medication) treat specific symptoms involved in an allergic reaction. *Most school policies involve giving the Epi-pen straight away*

This information might also be covered in your school form – but there is no harm in reviewing it! *Make sure the medication is stored in a central location (clinic) and is even accessible to office staff if the nurse is unavailable.*

Back to School #4: Expiration Dates

Here’s the scenario: your school starts in September and the Epi-pen/Benadryl you brought to the school nurse expires mid-year in December.

What does this mean? Your parents have to come in mid-year to drop off a new set that will last the rest of the year.

Why not make life easier? Make sure the medicine you drop of in September is new so it will last till the end of the school year!

Epi-pens and antihistamines will usually last about a year so purchasing new ones in the summer will generally suffice!

Back to School #3: Self-Carrying & Non-Prescription Medicine

Are you self-carrying your medicine? What are you self-carrying? Often times school will allow you to self-carry prescription medication (like epi-pens), but not over-the-counter drugs (such as Benadryl/other antihistamines).

Check with your county, school/school nurse to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules by carrying an antihistamine!

If necessary, fill out extra forms to get the special permission required to carry non-prescription medications (often times a doctor will need to sign off on this, so get it done early)!