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Best British Food: 14 Fun Meals To Try

Best British Food: 14 Fun Meals To Try

The best English food is an ingenious combination of simple and flavorful dishes. Despite its history, British cooking is still very modern, which is why it’s quickly becoming one of the world’s most popular cuisines.

Alas, the British can’t claim all the credit, invaders, such as the Romans, Vikings, and French have heavily influenced the cuisine of England.

Then, Franco-Normans also contributed to developing the country’s cuisine by adding various spices, such as nutmeg, saffron, and pepper. This is how Shepherd’s Pie, and steak and kidney pie came about!

As someone who spent years and years living in London I’m aware that British food has a bad reputation among tourists, but trust me – it can grow on you! Trying the local food is something you must do on your first visit, so below I’ve included the dishes you must try when find yourself in the UK.

Recommended Food Tours & Experiences If You’re Traveling to the UK:
Afternoon Tea Cruise on the River Thames
London: 3-Hour Secret British Food Tour
Traditional English Food Tasting Walking Tour in London
Vegan Food Tour Experience in London
PRIVATE London Food Tours – Borough Market, Soho, East End, Camden

Most visitors will eat their first British meal at a British pub… so some of the dishes might look slightly different 🙂

1. Black Pudding

One of the most popular British dishes is Black Pudding, commonly served on an English breakfast plate. It is a blood sausage made with pork or beef blood and is usually combined with other ingredients, such as oats.

Even though it may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea and has remained controversial since the rise of religious movements in the 17th century, evidence shows that black pudding dates all the way back to the 4th century.

2. Shepherd’s Pie (or Cottage Pie)

Shepherd’s Pie (left) vs pub pie (right)

The traditional dish of Shepherd’s Pie is commonly found in the UK and was developed by housewives trying to use up all the scraps of food in their fridges.

The base of the pie is usually made using ground lamb (shepherd’s pie) or minced beef (cottage pie). Additional vegetables, spices, and gravy are sometimes added and then it is all topped with a layer of sliced or mashed potatoes which are crisped in the oven. 

This dish is a wonderful way to enjoy a warm and comforting meal during winter. Although it doesn’t look like a traditional pie, it is a delicious filling meal.

3. Steak And Kidney Pudding

This dish, also known as a steak and kidney pie, is commonly ordered for lunch in the UK. 

The pastry used for this dish is incredibly flaky and buttery and the inside of the pie is filled with flavorful ingredients such as steak, kidney, and warm gravy.

While many people use pudding and pie interchangeably, there is a slight difference between the two.

 A simple example of this is the steak and kidney pie is made with a short-crust pastry that is then baked, alternatively, suet pastry is used for the pudding.

4. Christmas Pudding

Christmas is a great time to visit London (or anywhere in the UK)! Following an enormous feast of roast meat and vegetables, the country settles down to enjoy a Christmas Pudding dessert consisting of a sweet mix of spices, fruit, and alcohol.

Christmas Pudding is essentially very similar to a fruit cake however it is boiled instead of baked and contains quite a lot of brandy and additional spices. 

The first known appearance of Christmas Pudding on local plates came during the 14th century. Puritans then banned it along with other Christmas festivities such as Carols, and it wasn’t until 70 years later that King George lifted the ban, allowing the public to indulge in this dish again.

5. Scotch Egg

Here’s a local’s tip for visiting the UK, if you’re invited to a picnic with your friends in the UK you might want to bring along some Scotch Eggs to show off your knowledge of the country’s local cuisine.

The main component of this dish is a hard-boiled egg surrounded by sausage meat (typically pork) and topped with breadcrumbs. The whole thing is deep-fried until golden brown and served cold.

But the British can’t claim the Scotch Egg all to themselves, the dish known as Scotch Egg is actually a variation of Indian food known as Nargisi Kofta.

They might sound weird to you, but they’re pretty good actually.

6. Bangers And Mash

The simple and satisfying dish of Bangers and Mash makes it one of Britain’s best home-cooked dishes. While in the country, you’ll likely find various unique twists on this dish.

The term “banger” is an excellent example of a British colloquialism for the humble sausage. In fact, it is almost never referred to as a sausage and you should always order one with mashed potatoes. 

The Bangers and Mash is a simple and delicious meal usually served at a working-class family dinner. The main component of this meal is the British sausage which is also filled with various vegetables and other ingredients.

7. Full English Breakfast

The Full English Breakfast is a popular meal that consists of various ingredients served individually on one plate, it’s also commonly referred to as a fry-up. It doesn’t matter where you stay in London, you will always find this on the breakfast menu!

It’s simple but boasts the perfect mixture of ingredients traditionally including; sausages, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, toast, and beans. 

This traditional British dish is served across the country and can be enjoyed in many hotels and restaurants worldwide. 

8. Fish And Chips

Although other regions of the Commonwealth offer their take on the classic dish of fish and chips, you can still find the authentic dish right here in London. The first fish and chip shop was opened in 1860 and since then they have only grown in popularity.

Visiting at least one of them has to be on your list of things to do in London.

The traditional dish of fish and chips is commonly served with deep-fried white fish (typically cod or haddock) and thick-cut hot potato chips. The meal is often wrapped up in newspaper and left to steam while you take them home to eat. 

British people love to cover their fish and chips with salt and vinegar and accompany them with pickled onions, mushy peas, and a cold beer. 

9. Deep Fried Mars Bars

If you’re looking for a warm and sweet treat during your visit to the UK, stop at a fish and chip shop for a unique bite. A typical dish that’s commonly served alongside the usual haddock and chips is a deep-fried Mars Bar.

While you can’t find it everywhere, Scotland prides itself on the creation this sweaty and savory treat so it’s a good bet you’ll find it there. 

This dish is not considered to be a healthy eating pyramid item. Instead, deep-fried Mars bars are typically made with a batter and then dipped into a searing oil to add a sweet and crunchy exterior.

10. Scones

Scones, typically found at every afternoon tea in the UK, are fluffy and sweet bread with a slightly crisp exterior. The dish originated in the 1500s in Scotland and was made famous by the Duchess of Bedford.

Although they come in various flavors, the most common variants of scones are typically made in southern England. These are known for their savory and sweet taste and are served with other ingredients, such as clotted cream and strawberry jam.

11. Beef Wellington

The famous beef wellington was created to celebrate the first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. 

It is made out of a fillet of high-quality steak, surrounded by pâté and wrapped in pastry before being baked in the oven. 

Since it consists of such high-quality ingredients, beef wellingtons are typically saved for special occasions or when you really want to impress your guests. 

12. Yorkshire Pudding (and the Sunday Roast)

Yorkshire Pudding is a typical side dish commonly served with a typical British Roast dinner. 

Made from a batter of eggs, flour, and milk, the Yorkshire pudding can be served in a variety of different ways, but often serves as a vessel for the various meats and roast vegetables typical of a Sunday meal in the UK. 

Alternatively, many people like to use their Yorkshire pudding to soak up the remaining gravy left on their plates at the end of the meal. 

13. Cornish Pasties 

This delicious savory pastry has been a part of the British food scene since the 13th century when only the rich and royal could enjoy it. 

The center of these circular pasties was filled with meats, vegetables, and gravy and came in a variety of different flavors. But it wasn’t until the 17th century that the humble pasty became a popular stable for middle-class families. 

Housewives of the Cornish tin miners began making them as an easy-to-eat meal for their working husbands, with the pastry simply providing the container for the food, allowing the men to eat the inner without their dirty hands contaminating the food. 

14. Haggis 

Lastly, you can’t visit Scotland without trying Haggis at least once! 

The national dish of Scotland, Haggis was traditionally made using the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep, onions, suet, oatmeal, and spices. All of which was stuffed in the animal’s stomach to be boiled. 

Today, Haggis is a pretty controversial food and it’s even banned in the USA. It’s up to you if you want to try it as a traveler but these days it is more commonly made from lamb, beef, onions, oats, and spices, leaving out the more debatable aspects of the meal. 

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