Sorry I didn’t blog yesterday, I spent the entire weekend and yesterday feeling sick and with a fever but I’m finally starting to feel better! Being sick reminded me of a topic I’ve been meaning to write about for a while which is food! More specifically, accessing food from back home (most of it is Mexican, but there’s a few Guatemalan dishes).
During my first few days here I went grocery shopping and got really excited after I found both corn and flour tortillas and planned to have quesadillas for dinner for the entire week. Unfortunately, the corn tortillas weren’t what I expected, they seemed to have a mixture of both corn and flour and they tasted slightly sweet. From then on I decided to just keep having flour tortillas and give up on corn tortillas here.
I had a few other failed attempts with stuff marketed as Mexican food that was nothing like it. There were some frozen burritos, a pita wrap with pulled pork, beans and a few other things mixed into it with an orange flavoured mayonnaise. I also saw chipotle mayo in a few different restaurants but it might as well have been mayonnaise with food colouring because I couldn’t taste anything else on it.
After having that many failed attempts I decided to bring a lot of food from Guatemala and Mexico in my suitcase on the way back from Christmas. My two suitcases were basically a week’s worth of clothing and the rest was all food. I brought over bagged black beans, mazeca, a lot of candy from both Mexico and the US, alphabet soup and apple pure (both of those for when I got sick, which is why I remembered), caramel popcorn, green sauce, ranch, honey mustard, chipotle, and a few other things that I can’t remember. Around the time most of that ran out my mother came to visit so I got more of the things I ran out of. While my mother was here we went to a Mexican restaurant in Guildford, the food there was closer to tex-mex and the kind of burritos you can get in California (I guess the closest I’ve seen to it in Guatemala is taco bell, but a fancier version) the food was really nice even if it wasn’t “real” Mexican food and they also sold Valentina sauce which I was very excited about (if I remember right, the name of the restaurant was tortilla).
A couple of days after we found the Mexican restaurant in Guildford we saw a tacos place outside of Camden Market. We had already had lunch by the time we found it so we didn’t get to try it but it’s definitely something I’m hoping to try (and once I do I’ll report back!).
The last time I ran out of food from back home I decided to start looking for Mexican food here again. I had found a few stores that had US imports (albeit, very expensively) which I got a few things from to have during exam times. I found a couple of websites that sold Mexican food, the one I tried was called something along the lines of mexicangrocer. I was able to get some canned green sauce, Chihuaha cheese (the store also had some Oaxaca cheese listed but it was out of stock!), corn tortillas (those were actually the real deal), some canned nopales, beans and hot nuts. The canned beans weren’t as good as the ones I brought from Guatemala but they were better than nothing.
A few other things that I did manage to find in normal grocery stores was avocados (however, it took me a lot of tries until I found good ones, so far Sainsbury’s is the only place where I’ve consistently found good ones), chorizo for both moyetes and sopes (I made the moyetes using bake at home baguettes), tortilla chips and red beans (I’m going to try to make frijoles charros at some point but I still haven’t tried yet). I still haven’t been able to successfully make sopes as I haven’t found a kind of cheese that I can use for them. In terms of desserts, I’m hoping to make bocado de reina soon but something that you can definitely make easily is arroz en leche.
I guess overall there are some things that you can find here (or find substitutes for) and the rest of them you can bring with you if you can’t live without them (as long as it’s not something like cheese, or fruit and vegetables). And if you’re feeling homesick and can’t think of any food you can get you can try out Spain recipes as Spain is nearby! And if you have any questions or want me to see if you can find a specific food here feel free to send us an email!