Having a peanut allergy in Asia necessitates a vigilant and cautious mind. I would like to give a shout out to all nut allergists taking on Asia, and outline the encounters I have had with learning the word for ‘peanut’ in several different languages:
Chinese: 花生 or roughly Wa bu yao huashung
Literally: I don’t want peanuts. I definitely did not say this at a crepe food stall in Kunming and paid the price (nothing life-threatening, just some vomiting).
India (Bangla/Hindi): Badam
Not too common, but can be found topping fried rice or hidden in samosas. I once tried to ask a street vender to omit peanuts and he thereby made a new batch of samosas filled with badam.
Japan: Peanutsu (yay cognates!)
Vietnam: đậu phọng
Frequently used as a topping in certain dishes.
Thailand: ถั่วลิสง or "tua lisong"
Pad Thai is a big no-no. And don’t assume that Pad See Eu comes without it either.
Indonesia: kacang (tanah)
(pronounced kachang) or the pervasive peanut sauce: bumbu kacang. Can’t wait for this next hurdle!