Sometimes you have so many good experiences with eating gluten free in a restaurant in a row that you forget how much of a pain in the ass it really is when you search for food.
Yesterday I was unpleasantly reminded of it. After an exhausting but very successful day with a test at university I walked through the city, trying to find something nice to eat that didn’t cost too much.
A restaurant called COA caught my eye which had two of its menus lying outside. They had a list of allergies and gluten was labeled with a 20.
I searched the menu and only found a few 1s and 3s. Happy, I went inside, sat down and ordered a fresh mint tea and asked for the allergy list. When I got it my good mood instantly changed. They had one row with allergens which have to be listed in a menu by law. And one more with those who have to be listed, but only in the allergy list. 20s everywhere. Every single item except for 4! had gluten in it. And in each of those four was something else I’m allergic to.
Hungry and severely disappointed I ordered a Tom Kah Gai soup. Without bell peppers. It’s supposed to be a coconut soup with chicken breast, coconut milk, lime leaves, lemon grass, mushrooms, bell pepper and spring onions.
When I got it, it tasted of bell pepper and was very red (as you can see in the picture and there is nothing else in it that could produce this colour) so I had it go back to ask if it was cooked with bell pepper. I was told it wasn’t. I tried another spoon full and it was… well, it was really horrible. I once had a curry paste from a discounter market that tasted of plastic and this soup reminded me of it. It didn’t even taste like coconut at all either.
I fished out the chicken and mushrooms, drank my tea and left with 7,90€ less in my pocket and a very foul mood.
The Search for food
For 3! hours after that I kept walking through the city. I must have been in about 30 restaurants and didn’t find anything. Well, one, but that was soup again and I’ve had it up to here with soup that day.
When I finally got to one I knew has delicious gluten free options their kitchen had closed for the day. At 4pm…
So no food for me.
On my way I did encounter some helpful and kind people though and even found a fish and chips place called TheFunkyFish who promised to look into making gluten free batter!
What are your experiences with finding food and special menus where the allergens are listed?
Tell me in the comment section below.