Britain’s top 10 dishes: What’s a tourist to try?
British street food is a mix of Indian, Italian, Chinese, American, French and other cuisines of the world. Restaurants in London offer tourists dishes from all over the world. But then, what does traditional British cuisine look like? We’ve compiled a list of the tastiest foods that every tourist should definitely try in London. Traditional, hearty, really great – write down the names and memorize photos of English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh dishes so you don’t miss anything.
We’ve devoted a separate article to the most popular British desserts.
Roast beef | Roast beef.
Literally, it’s ‘roast beef’. Perhaps the most popular British dish originating from England. It’s made from a large, whole cut of beef, and seasoned only with salt and pepper. Gordon Ramsay bakes roast beef in the oven, while the world’s most famous British chef Jamie Oliver suggests braising it first and then grilling it. Whichever way the chef chooses, the beef is medium rare. A good roast beef should have a reddish color with a tasty brown crust. Be sure to try this dish in London with the traditional side dish of green peas, and in Northern Ireland or Scotland with mashed potatoes or a thick vegetable gravy.
Fish and Chips | Fish and Chips
Traditional British fish and chips is a popular street food in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The best place to try this dish is at British eateries Fish & Chips or Harry Ramsden’s. This street food is particularly popular in London and is usually ordered with a glass of beer. For Fish & Chips, cod is usually cooked in batter with the obligatory addition of dark ale, deep-fried. A standard side dish is mashed peas, beans, pickles, and onions. Crispy fish and golden-colored potatoes, appetizing sauces, refreshing taste of vegetables, a slice of lemon – this dish of British cuisine is no wonder that it has earned thousands of rave reviews from tourists all over the world.
Bubble and squeak | cabbage and potato roast
In English it means “bubble and squeak. This funny name was invented because of the cabbage, which makes these very noises during frying. Bubble and squeak is a popular British dish, part of the classic full Irish breakfast as well as the traditional English Sunday lunch. It is made with sprouts and potatoes, and sometimes green peas, carrots, or other vegetables are added. It is a perfect side dish to meat or an accompaniment to eggs. In England, you must try this dish with cold meats under marinade. In Northern Ireland, with scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon and toast.
Shepherd’s pie | Shepherd’s pie
A popular British dish that looks more like a casserole than a pie. It is definitely worth trying in Northern Ireland, which is its homeland. However, in England or Scotland, this hearty meal is just as good. Shepherd’s pie is a delicious layered casserole of lamb (sometimes other ground meat, poultry or even ham) with a delicious golden crust of mashed potatoes. Between them hides a layer of tender vegetables: celery, carrots, onions, sometimes pumpkin, green peas or corn. All this perfectly complements the Worcester sauce. Vegetarians in England should try the so-called “shepherd’s pie” – the same thing, but with beans instead of meat.
Yorkshire pudding | Yorkshire pudding
The snack is so popular that on the first Sunday in February, the UK even celebrates Yorkshire Pudding Day. There’s nothing unusual about it itself-it’s essentially just an empty muffin. It’s the filling that decides everything in this British dish. Yorkshire pudding in England is usually served with roast, in Northern Ireland it is filled with mashed potatoes with beef and vegetables, in Scotland with lamb or sausages and potatoes. For vegetarians in the UK there is bound to be an appetizer with beans or vegetables. There are many variations of this dish and each one is good in its own way.
Cawl | Cawl
A national British dish originally from Wales. In modern Welsh the word “cawl” is used for any meat soup. But if you see cawl on a restaurant menu in London, for example, it would mean the Welsh dish you see in the photo. Traditional Welsh soup is cooked in a strong meat broth of lamb or beef with potatoes, carrots and other vegetables. Leeks and a specially thickened broth give this dish a special flavor. This is a very hearty meal and a must-try in the UK during the cold season.
Haggis | Haggis
The most famous Scottish dish to try in London as well – so popular. It’s a lamb’s stomach stuffed with giblets with lard, onions, aromatic spices. It is traditionally served with a side dish of rutabaga and potatoes. In London restaurants you can try a more presentable version of the dish, reminiscent of large meatballs fried in breading. There are also vegetarian haggis in the British kitchen, a very hearty and tasty version of the traditional Scottish dish.
Toad in the hole | Toad in the hole
Also known as “sausage toad,” this dish is a popular street food in London. If you like Yorkshire pudding, be sure to try this unusual snack. In restaurants, it is baked and served as a large pie, while in fast food establishments the “mink toad” looks more like a pizza. The mouthwatering meat sausages baked in batter for Yorkshire pudding rarely leave anyone indifferent. The dish is served with a thick onion sauce and vegetables. You’ll taste even better with a glass of beer.
Cornish pasty | Cornish pasty
Cornish pasty is an inexpensive snack popular throughout England. It can be bought in London in many snack shops (pie shops). Cornish pasty is a very appetizing, hearty British pie that is a must-try hot. Thin dough, lots of filling, recognizable shape with a little “pigtail” on the side. The pies are stuffed with minced meat, sometimes with potatoes or other vegetables. You can even try cornish with a fruit filling – it will also be very good.
Scotch eggs | Scotch Eggs
This dish can be tasted all over the UK and is very popular in London – it’s often served for breakfast in many eateries. Incredibly simple recipe, but what an amazing taste! The dish is meat patties with a boiled egg inside. They are fried until golden in crispy breadcrumbs. Scrambled eggs are the most popular version of this dish. But in England you can try and a little less known kinds of snack: eggs Manchester style (the stuffing is marinated beforehand) or Worcester style (cooked with legendary sauce). You can buy them in large supermarkets in London.
Before you travel to England, be sure to check out our great guide to shopping in London and other cities around the country. Clothes, cosmetics, the finer points of choosing the best souvenirs and delicacies – that way you won’t miss a thing.
Traditional London Cuisine.
Traveling to England is considered one of the most expensive for the average tourist, and a week’s stay in London is sure to be a serious blow to the budget. And unfortunately it is true – the prices here are unlikely to be able to please, but this is not a reason to give up on a fascinating trip. But the common perception that Britain has no cuisine of its own is wrong, but you have to look for places where you can try delicious food and not go penniless.
Traditional British Cuisine
Because the native Brits have delicate features, refined look and peculiar stature, it may seem that they eat very little, if any. In fact, this is not the case – most traditional British dishes are very hearty and necessarily include a meat component, the only exception being desserts.
Refers to the main meal, so don’t expect the standard coffee with something light. A full breakfast is a mandatory part of the diet, so a cafe or restaurant will bring on a plate with eggs, bacon, fried mushrooms and beans, fresh vegetables, sometimes potatoes. All this splendor will be supplemented with a couple of toasts, and for dessert, pudding.
If at the beginning of the trip the habit to start the day with a hearty breakfast has not yet been developed, it is better to take one dish for two and fill up the order if necessary.
A traditional British dish from which you shouldn’t expect anything exotic. In fact, rustic or shepherd’s pie is very familiar to any Russian – it’s essentially a potato casserole with minced meat and mixed vegetables.
Sold everywhere, but it costs a lot, so you can certainly try it, but better at the end of the trip.
This dish is definitely worth to try, but not as a main dish, but as a snack with something hot on a pleasant evening. The name corresponds to the essence, but there are countless variations. It can be a classical dish with finely chopped pork or with hard-boiled eggs and with gelatin, which is reminiscent of jelly. It is served only cold.
Roast beef is sure to be appreciated by all male travelers, because there is nothing superfluous about it – it is a piece of quality beef baked in its own juice with the addition of herbs and spices. The British are so fond of this dish that every self-respecting restaurant, even the smallest, includes it on its menu.
Often roast beef is served with Yorkshire pudding. Interestingly, in this case, the name of the dish does not correspond to its essence at all. Yorkshire pudding is an airy, unsweetened dough baked in the oven. The dish is usually used as a substitute for bread.
Pudding with kidneys and steak
A variation of Yorkshire pudding with a meat filling. In the same airy baked batter, finely chopped pork and kidneys stewed with onions and herbs are added. This dish is quite filling, but it can be served both as a main meal and as an appetizer. Goes well with fresh vegetables.
Fish and chips
A traditional British dish which is gaining popularity all over the world because of its versatility and ease of preparation. It is based on cod, coated in breadcrumbs and boiled in oil, just like French fries which are always served as an appetizer. Generally, fish-and-chips is considered fast food and intended for quick snacks on the go, but it can also be served in good restaurants. In the latter case, fish and chips is served as an appetizer and accompanied by greens, fresh or pickled vegetables and sauce.
An important point when choosing where to snack on fish-and-chips is the choice of establishment, because the higher the quality of the main products, the tastier it will be. It is best to read reviews before visiting a cafe or restaurant. But you can also treat yourself to one of the many eateries or streetfoods, because such food has its own special charm.
An interesting way to serve eggs for those who like meat dishes. Scottish eggs are prepared in the following way:
- First, chicken or goose eggs are boiled;
- Then they are rolled in ground beef or pork;
- The obtained balls are covered with breading and fried.
There is an alternative variation of the dish, when instead of minced meat they take potatoes, so before buying carefully read the composition, so as not to be disappointed in the choice.
Scotch eggs are served both hot and cold, both in second-rate diners and in the best restaurants. Because of this versatility, they are often taken as a picnic snack. If you don’t feel like making the dish yourself and the restaurant version seems expensive, it’s easy to find Scotch eggs at your local supermarket, too.
A very tasty meat dish that both native Englishmen and tourists love. Borrowed the recipe from Scotland, but over the centuries it has enjoyed such popularity that it has gradually become an integral part of traditional British cuisine. The taste and consistency of the dish resembles a very delicate homemade pâté and is served with rutabaga or potatoes.
But the description of the dish is better not to read – there is quite a long list of lamb giblets, which are generously flavored with spices and vegetables. But if you don’t think about what haggis is made of, this gastronomic adventure will bring real pleasure.
The dish consists of only two main ingredients, which are lamb meat and potatoes. The rest of the ingredients the chef selects at will. The peculiarity of cooking the soup is its thickening, which is carried out with the help of flour or bread. Sometimes the dish becomes so thick that it looks more like a stew than a soup.
Perhaps the sweetest and most flavorful representative of traditional British cuisine. Yeast bread is formed into briquettes and baked with the addition of spices and dried fruit.
Although Bara Britt is bread, it is too sweet for a main course, so it is classified as a dessert. It is eaten by hand with tea or coffee.
Traditional British soups are predominantly thick, and chowder is no exception. It is cooked from a mixture of any combinations of seafood, for example, fish, squid, shrimp, and supplemented with vegetables. Canned corn adds sweetness to the dish.
Initially, the dish was not popular because it was made only by peasants using whatever they could catch and grow. Over time, unnecessary ingredients were removed and chowder became noticeably enriched.
Chowder should be tasted in a restaurant that is unmistakable. Some unscrupulous establishments often forgo fresh vegetables in favor of starch, in which case you get a soup that is far from a true chowder in both consistency and flavor.
It is widely known that in England there is a whole cult of tea, but coffee is also often drunk here. However, the Irish version of the drink should be ordered with caution. It contains a lot of sugar, whipped cream and strong Irish whiskey. A milder version has Bailey’s added to it.
British Cuisine to Go
When you make a gastronomic trip to England, you want to bring something for your friends and family so they can feel the spirit of the country while listening to the traveler’s fascinating stories. It is best to buy products in a supermarket, and the most popular are:
- Malt Raisin Bread, a soft and sweet bread great for a hearty breakfast. The same Soreen manufacturer delights customers with apple and banana breads.
- Pies – fruit pie with raisins, currants and cherries, or Genoa pie with citrus notes became a real variation of “magnet” from England;
- Cheeses like Cheddar, red Leicester and Blue Stilton are traditional British products. Of course, you can find many other variations on local store shelves, but many of them are imported from other countries, so you should definitely check the producer if you want to bring a real English product.
Despite the fact that the English are very fond of tea, it is strange that this drink is not distinguished here by a variety of additives and variations of performance. Of course, you can bring with you bright packages with real English leaf drink, but its taste is likely to disappoint, so it is better to choose more interesting options.