Myth or madness? Gluten-free takeaway nights!

OK, we all know that takeaways are not a healthy option. We know that we should stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables, eat a well-balanced meal every night, keep the fat content low. But by the end of the working week, I’m a bit “healthy eating yada yada” and I’m pretty sure a lot of you are too.

By Friday, I’ve cooked meals for 8 or 9 people most nights, sometimes in two sittings. I’ve planned the next day’s meal so that I don’t have to stand blankly in front of the freezer trying to decide which lump of frozen dead animal, fish or bird I’m going to miraculously transform tonight (on a side note, this is akin to the children standing in front of the fridge blankly trying to work out exactly what it is they are hungry for, or me standing looking at the clothes in my wardrobe in the morning, unable to find a single thing I want to wear). Our supplies of vegetables are normally low and the inspiration to come up with something new and different is completely gone.

A few years ago, we instituted the “Friday night takeaway” system. The children have takeaways and so do the grown ups. It is only one night a week and we rotate around the various takeaway options.  I do mourn the lack of KFC as a viable option for those days when I feel like a dose of deep-fried fat with mysterious herbs and spices. Whilst I understand logically that KFC is really bad for me, it tastes so good and I miss it sooooooooo much!

Quick KFC sidebar! We were at St Luke’s today and I walked by KFC on my way to the sushi and Indian. I noticed that prominently displayed on their counter was a brochure about their food contents and allergen. It was an A4, double sided brochure listing all their products and showing whether a huge range of things (gluten, dairy, soy, sulphites to name a few) are Present, Traces present or not present at all. Sadly all it did was confirm that I can’t eat or drink anything at KFC. BUT good on them for not only doing the analysis, but also having the brochures visible and available. It still smells as good as it ever did 😦

I feel as though I am being forced to be healthier by being gluten-free. I do have to say that in the main I have been pleasantly surprised by the takeaways I can still eat, as long as I am careful.

I’m thankful once again that I cook a lot so I have a good handle on ingredients. But I’m still surprised by the occasional item. Burger Wisconsin does a gluten-free bun which is great, but apparently their mayonnaise and their relish is NOT gluten-free! I can understand the flour as a thickener in the relish, but in mayo? Honestly? The mayo I’ve made uses eggs and oil, salt and pepper, sometimes vinegar but NEVER flour! Having said that, Burger Wisconsin Mt Albert gets an especial mention as EVERY SINGLE TIME I call and order a gluten-free bun, they remind me that their mayo and relish has gluten in it, and ask if I am coeliac or just intolerant. I can get away with a little gluten it seems and the Wisconsin burgers fall within this limit. It is fantastic how well-educated their staff seem to be and how careful they are every time I call. Oh, and on another side note, each Burger Wisconsin outlet has a series of sheets which show exactly what is in every sauce, patty and spread that they use. It’s VERY easy to pick something gluten-free, but you may need to ask to see the sheet if you’re not sure.

I’ve also tried Burger Fuel GF burgers and they are OK. The filling is nice and tasty, but the buns are a bit heavy. However, they do show on their website what is gluten-free or not and the little cardboard holders are very cute – and necessary as the fillings are generous and fall out otherwise! Like almost everyone else, there is a surcharge for the gluten-free buns at both Burger Fuel and Burger Wisconsin.

Of special mention on the takeaways front are also Hell Pizza and Dominos Pizza which both offer gluten-free options for an additional charge. Wendy’s should also be mentioned as they offer lots of gluten-free offerings on their normal menu, and a shout out to the Constellation Drive Wendy’s drive through who read me out the ingredients list for their thick shakes – no gluten.

And of course Indian takeaways. Most of their thickening is done with cream or ground nuts rather than flour – huzzah! And poppadums are often OK too, as they’re made with lentil or urad flour which happens to be gluten-free! Thanks to the gluten-free grocer for this piece of information!

Our local Noodle Box offers rice noodles with every dish, you just have to ask. However, a word of caution about the Noodle Box and also Chinese takeaways – there’s soy sauce in every dish.  So if you’re very sensitive to gluten, stay away from Chinese.

Sushi is good for lunches, but again watch out for the soy sauce and that includes in things like the teriyaki chicken filling. There is also often breadcrumbed chicken or salmon used in fillings a lot more, so stay away from these.

Fish and chips are ok as long as you can cope with the chips being cooked in the same fat as the battered fish and hot dogs and are happy to only eat the chips. There is fish and chip shop in Royal Oak which is offering gluten-free batter and completely separate cooking facilities – refer my Where to Buy and Eat page for the details.

Hmmm, struggling to think of more but will add them as I find them!

A lot of food isn’t the same, but I have developed a real fondness for the gluten-free pizza base from Hell Pizza. It works very well with the Purgatory, as it has a salty taste which goes nicely with the feta.

Most of the big chains now have excellent menu and ingredient information on their websites and if not there, then they often have information that you can collect from their shops.

So it is still possible to let someone else take care of the cooking, just as with every gluten-free, you need to do your research first! Let me know if any of you have come across any other takeaways which work well for the gluten-intolerant!

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9 thoughts on “Myth or madness? Gluten-free takeaway nights!

  1. Interesting about Burger Wisconsin, I had the worst experience ever at the Onehunga Branch. The man was very unhelpful and refused to changed my burger (even though I ordered gluten free over the phone). He didnt tell me anything about the sauces.. I guess it explains why I felt sick. I will never go back there! I just found a new cafe today that does gluten free sandwiches.. They were very helpful but didnt have much clue on how to toast the bread ( my sandwich was frozen when I got back to work *sigh* ) Hopefully next time they will fix it. They’re on Oranga Road.. i can’t remember the name but it’s on the left hand side opposite a dairy. 🙂

    • I hope you made a point of writing to Burger Wisconsin Onehunga!! Clearly it depends on which branch you go to. As I say, I am always impressed by the (often very young) staff at Mt Albert.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Lisa

  2. Fatimas do GF kebabs which are really good! Also Papas Pizza on Sandringham Rd have AWESOME GF pizzas and the Royal Oak fish shop does their whole menu GF. The pineapple rings are sooooooooooo good!

    • Thanks Olivia, I’ll check out Fatimas and Papa’s Pizzas. I had heard about the Royal Oak Fish shop (and have a link on my Eating Out page) and we have some friends who live near there, so we’ll absolutely try it! Thanks for the extra feedback.

  3. The last few times I have eaten burger fuel (at various locations around NZ) the GF burger buns have been undistinguishable from a normal bun. The first time I had one I was so convinced that I had been served a non-GF bun that even the manager came out to assure me that it was definitely GF.

    They did used to be dry and heavy but are now amazing!

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