How I have missed thee, lunchtime meal deal

Ahh, the humble meal deal, how I have missed it. Sometimes you don’t even realise the things you miss until you have them again, and remember how much easier they made your life. The meal deal is a particularly good example of this, mostly because it’s like a little challenge as well to get your money’s worth. It’s always satisfying to get the receipt and see what your items would have amounted to had you not been getting the special meal deal offer. For those unfamiliar with the concept, you pay about £3 on average and can choose a sandwich, snack and drink. So there’s a weird thrill in getting £6 worth of lunch for half that. Of course, that’s within reason, there’s no point in buying a sandwich you don’t like just because it’s the most expensive, but to be honest a meal deal is pretty much the only time I’d select a smoothie to drink rather than a bottle of water. 
When I chose my meal deal today, I spent ages looking through all the different main options. The smoothie was easy, as were the monster munch crisps. I’ve never seen the roast beef ones in Hong Kong, though occasionally if I look hard enough, and spend enough, I can find the pickled onion ones. But the sandwiches…! So exciting. Nothing like the rubbish sandwiches in Hong Kong, often sold just as a sad little half on its own (probably because they’re so awful that most people wouldn’t want a second half), often woefully lacking in butter or even any kind of moist-making sauce. I used to buy a cheese salad sandwich from the café by my office in Hong Kong, after realising it was the best of a bad bunch. It was always so dry that the hard little bits of bread would slide away from the solitary leaf of bitter iceberg, the cheese was a sad little processed orange square, and the maker of the sandwich seemed to be aspiring to be a chef, judging by the sliced almonds inside. They were the only thing used liberally, and while I like almonds, the little flakes would make me think of fingernails so I’d have to wash down each bite with a glug of coffee. The café did bring out a quinoa and avocado sandwich at one point, which was a little better as the smushed avo made it not so dry, but it certainly wasn’t a choice I’d make often. Plus, I guess I am technically a millennial, and I’ve heard that I’ll never be able to afford a house if I keep stuffing myself with smashed avo. 
So while I sort of forgot about lunchtime meal deals for a while, now I’m back in England for a little while I’ve remembered how good they are. I guess they are quite iconically British. There’s even a Facebook page named ‘the meal deal talk group’ that was set up to rank people’s choices. My choice today probably wouldn’t do that well in the rankings, as Tesco deals are most definitely inferior to Boots or Sainsbury’s, plus I don’t think I am really that bothered about what strangers make of my sandwich choice so I can’t see myself submitting it for review. The Mirror and Daily Mail have both conducted research into the best value deal from the various supermarkets and stores offering them, and trip advisor has a huge thread dedicated to the lunchtime deal. So it’s pretty serious stuff in Britain.
 When in a country, you’re meant to eat like the locals… So really, I’m just being a good tourist. Well done me, and well done to my cheese and pickle sandwich. I rank you a ten out of ten.


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