The food here has been quite interesting. I would say there is definitely an British influence…in that the cuisine is very different from the US. There are limited number of chains and fast food (an occasional McDonalds and Burger King)…no Chili’s or Applebees or Olive Garden. There are a ton of takeaway places. Some of our favourites have been “Thai container” and Hell Pizza. Thai container….it’s literally out of an old container, and you sit on picnic benches if you want to eat there. The Hell Pizza has gluten-free pizza…and a lot of variety in the type of pizza. So yummy.
A nice surprise has been how easily it is to order gluten-free. Most restaurants have all heard of it, and have separate menus. There have been only a few that didn’t know what I was talking about, and those were food trucks…so I don’t see that as a problem. The places we go will even tell me when something is used in the same fryer as other items, so not celiac friendly. I have to admit…it’s really nice not to have to explain each and every time I go into a restaurant, my food restrictions. I would say the anxiety over ordering something that’s not GF is less than it used to have been.
In fact, we went to one sushi place that Mat was so excited to take me to, St. Pierre’s. They tout gluten-free and all that jazz. I was reading their ingredients anyway…and it had soy sauce (with wheat listed as an ingredient). Hmm…that has wheat in it. The girl was quick to respond, as we were about out the door…wait a second. They had a whole pamphlet on how they extract the gluten from the wheat in the soy sauce to make it gluten-free….including the teriyaki sauce. WHAT? That’s unheard of..yet very true. So, I’ve tried it, and eaten it several times…quite yummy.
To contrast…it’s interesting then to look at good ol’ M&M’s, Pringles, Doritos….yeah…not gluten-free. Apparently the Australian version likes to add barley or wheat to their formula…so sad..add to that most cereals…corn flakes..and chocolate…I mean really? That’s just cruel and unusual punishment I say. So, I’ve made friends with the Piccadilly Circus store (British imports, as they have original Pringles and M&M’s without the dreaded barley). And, I will say..if you come visit…the fee to stay at the house of Chavez will be….peanut M&M’s, and maybe a Doritos or two…and yes, you will have to claim it at customs…but it’s worth it! 🙂
All those gluten-free items that people would tend to mock in the US (a billion dollar industry), I would love to have here. There are foods, just much more limited in the brands and textures that I was growing accustomed to. It’ll be fine…just an adjustment really. I’m enjoying learning the nuances though..and my diet might just be better for it. That’s not a bad thing.