If you were to ask me my favorite foods it would go 1. Pizza 2. Tex-Mex 3. Candy 4. Cake/Desserts. England is full of American pizza chains, and they do a fantastic job of making American style pizza. Poppa Johns, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, all exist in abundance in the UK, and they even have stuffed crust. I can find good candy here as well, especially in the small American food sections most grocery store chains have. Cake and desserts are a no brainer. England is after all, just across the Channel from Europe where the French live. So, the cakes, pies, pastries, they are all top notch.
The food I constantly am lacking in my life is Mexican! I’ve been to many “Mexican/Tex-Mex” places in the UK, and so far none have lived up to my standard. I’ve had Mexican food all over the US, always in the little Mom’Pop restaurants that are small, set back, and not crazy busy. They all have similar decor, tastes and menu prices. And they are all delicious! I love to order a queso cheese dip appetizer, with two chicken enchiladas, re-fried beans and re-fried rice as my entree and then I’m so stuff I couldn’t possibly eat anymore. Other classics are the chicken mole which is a delicious Mexican chocolate sauce that somehow goes savory and heavenly. Going out to eat at the local Mexican restaurant never breaks the bank, is always fun, and you don’t feel like you are in a chain food environment.
Having eaten and loved Mexican food my whole life, it kills me to be in the Mexican wasteland that is the UK. I haven’t found one authentic Mexican restaurant in the 3 years I have lived here. Most do a passable job, but they are just missing certain touches. The decor is all clearly store bought, and cheap, all too shiny and new. The appetizers are always lacking a queso cheese dip. They include BBQ pulled pork in the meat options for burritos. And other small things that just make it clear that the UK will never be able to replicate the food or environment of the Mexican eateries I grew up with.
I recently gave Chimi Changa Tex-Mex restaurant in Leicester a try. The menu had burritos, enchiladas, nacho’s, and chimichanga so I thought I might finally have discovered the holy grail of Mexican. I was disappointed, yet again. I ordered the chicken enchiladas while my partner had a pork burrito. First of all, the rice and beans we were served were a kids portion. It put the massive meals at the American Mexican restaurants to shame. The rice was also not re-fried, and the beans were your basic black beans. Secondly, I could distinguish no difference between my partners burrito and my enchinallada. His was bigger and he had one large one to my two small ones, but otherwise they were identical. The enchilada was missing the key tomato style sauce that is crucial to make a meal into an actual enchilada. They also added too many veggies, not enough cheese, and the spices taste more curry than Mexican.
I had such high hopes for Chimi Changa in Leicester. It looked like it could be the real deal. But alas, it was not. If you are British and don’t know any better, then it is a wonderful place to eat. The prices are fair, the meal is exotic to the British pallet and overall it has a nice vibe about the place. I would reccommend it to all my British and European friends, just not any Americans living in the UK. Better to try and make your own Mexican food at home.
Also, in the picture, the menu describe a taquito as a ‘Mexican spring roll’! How inaccurate/wrong is that?!