More Cheap Eats from London, England: McDonalds, the Pasty Shop and Krispy Kreme
112-114 Camden High St., Camden Town, London, England
We couldn’t be away from home for too long without having McDonald’s. Thank goodness for globalization! As a midnight snack, we visited the McDonald’s near Camden Town. I had the biggest craving for a McFlurry, and they make one with a UK candy bar called Wispa. A Wispa is a milk chocolate bar made by Cadbury and the inside is filled with aerated bubbles throughout the malted milk chocolate, sort of like our version of an Aero bar. At least that’s what comes up in Google. I didn’t get to try the McFlurry because believe it or not, McDonald’s in London stops making McFlurrys after 10 pm. Isn’t that crazy? We were in Camden Town, the clubbing district. Does nobody get late night munchies around here?
Anyhow, as I was deciding on option two for my midnight snack, my friend noticed a celebrity in line behind me. I wouldn’t have picked him out from a line up but it was the young, British actor, Will Poulter who played Eustace Scrubb in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I guess the movie biz doesn’t pay that much if he’s dining at McDonald’s with us.
I finally decided on my fail safe Micky D’s choice: McNuggets. They come in boxes of nine here, perfect for sharing since there was three of us. I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped when the server asked me if I wanted Oriental sauce with that though. In Canada, we refer to Asians as Asian-Canadians. The word, ‘Oriental’ is considered a derogatory term. My friend (also Canadian but had lived in London for a few months now) quickly whispered that what the server meant was ‘sweet and sour sauce,’ so I quickly found my voice again to spit out, ‘no thank you!’ We went with the sweet chilli sauce instead which really tasted like sweet and sour anyway.
And get this: they serve onion rings here! Just like A&W back home. McNuggets and onion rings more than makes up for my lack of midnight McFlurry. As for the taste test, how do these deep fried goodies match up with Canadian McDonald’s? Well, the McNuggets were not as moist as Canadian McNuggets. You could tell they used white meat whereas in Canada, McNuggets still hover over that category of ‘mystery meat.’ Also, I still cannot identify why but the batter on these UK McNuggets left a curry aftertaste in our mouths. The texture was still nice and crispy though.
The onion rings were fried perfectly. They used big, round and thick onion rings, and the batter was equally thick, crispy, salty and well seasoned. We should really get onion rings into Canadian McDonald’s, we could call ‘em McRing’s.
One of my goals on this trip was to try a real Cornish Pasty. They are traditional meat pies originating from Cornwall in the 17th century. They look like a large pocket – flaky pastry folded over and sealed by a braided edge, the fillings range from meat and potatoes to cheese and vegetables. Tin miners in Cornwall would eat these pasties during the workday since the pasties were portable and easy to eat without utensils.
The Pasty Shop is a chain in London and we saw them in many tube stations. We tried the one at Waterloo station on our way to the London Eye. We waited in line as busy commuters (in business dress and casual wear) rushed to pick up their pasties to take to work or school. There were all different types of pasties in the display case, but I decided to go with the most ‘British’ one in my opinion: the sausage and mash which was meat and potatoes.
We ate the pasty on the spot but could have easily toted it along for our London Eye ride. It was a typical cool and foggy day that day in London so the warm pasty really hit the spot. The outside of the pasty was light and flaky, slightly salty and delicious. The filling was incredibly substantial for the price we paid. This could’ve really been a lunch for one of us. There was a little bit more potato than sausage but the filling was still tasty. The potatoes were mashed with a few rustic chunks throughout, and the sausage was salty and well seasoned, large cubes of it were found throughout the pasty adding to the texture and taste of the package.
I’m going to confess that Krispy Kreme is one of my one true loves in life. I don’t think I can live without my Krispy Kreme original glaze doughnut. And this is an old piece of celebrity gossip but I thought it was the coolest thing in the world that Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale gave their wedding guests boxes of original glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts as wedding favours. How awesome is that?
So I was over the moon when I spotted the Krispy Kreme stand at Waterloo station across from the Pasty Shop. We ordered the glazed strawberry-filled and the chocolate glazed. Lo and behold (also thanks to globalization), these doughnuts tasted exactly the same as they did at home. Soft, delicate and light, fluffy insides, covered with heavenly sweet and sticky glaze. The doughnuts were so light and cloud-like that we inhaled them in a minute flat.
We also bought an original glazed to share at Heathrow Airport. Near the end of this trip, I really couldn’t get enough of Krispy Kreme. And yes, the original glaze tasted identical to my beloved Canadian Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnuts.