All over the world, every country has favoured and traditional foods that make up a large part of their culture. Here in the UK, we are no exception, boasting a wide range of traditional foods that we take pride in and enjoy eating, from local specialities, to nationwide favourites. Experiencing the food of a country is a great way to get to know the place. So pull up a chair, grab a knife and fork and get ready to tuck in!
Here are just a few examples of the some of the local dishes you may be able to try – if you’re adventurous enough!
Parmo – this dish originates in North Yorkshire, and is very popular, particularly for those on a night out, having a few drinks. It is a breaded cutlet of chicken or pork, covered in a white sauce and cheddar cheese. This is one that is definitely worth trying.
Ulster Fry – if you’re lucky enough to be living in Northern Ireland, there is no better way to start your day than with this traditional breakfast. Whilst it has all the elements of a classic British fry-up, it also has white and black pudding, soda bread, grilled tomato, and potato bread. Delicious.
Haggis – this speciality is eaten all over Scotland is known for being an acquired taste. It is traditionally made with the minced heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep, mixed with suet, oatmeal, and various spices, it is then stuffed inside a sheep’s stomach and boiled. It is said to taste like a sausage, with a crumbly texture, and is traditionally served with neeps (mashed turnip) and tatties (mashed potatoes). Many people are put off by the contents of this dish, but a lot of people find it delicious, so give it a go!
Pie and Mash (and sometimes eels) – If you’re in London then why not sit down for a plate of pie and mash? This dish originated in the East End of London during the 1800s and is still very popular today. Back then the pies were made with an eel filling, but today they are filled with delicious beef mince. All pies are traditionally served with liquor which is a parsley gravy, and each shop takes great pride in their secret and unique recipe for gravy. Eels, which are served jellied or stewed, can still be bought in many of the pie and mash shops too.
The Nation’s Favourite Take Away
There are certain foods that Brits just can’t seem to resist.
Fish and Chips – you won’t find a town in the Britain that doesn’t have a fish and chip shop, sometimes known as a chippy, chipper or fishy. The menus in these budget eateries can be extensive, often comprising of a mix of Chinese and British items. Classic items from the menu include battered fish (often cod, or haddock), chunky chips covered in salt and vinegar, sausages, pies and pickled eggs. Fish and chip shops are often associated with the beach, and along many seafronts you can find
them. So buy yourself a bag of chips and enjoy the view.
Curry – all over Britain people are tucking into curry on a regular basis. From Chicken Tikka Masala, to the fiery Vindaloo, it is an ever popular choice, whether going to a restaurant, or having delivered to the house.
Chinese – this is our most popular take-away dinner choice! And it’s no surprise, with so many delicious dishes to choose from: chicken chow mein, prawns in black bean sauce, Peking shredded duck with pancakes.
Other national favourites include: beef burgers, pizza, kebabs, and fried chicken dishes.
Scones – these small cakes are usually served with butter, jam or cream, though a huge debate ranges on about the correct order to put these on your scone – jam or cream first? You decide!
Trifles – this dessert has been around for hundreds of years, though the recipe has changed a fair bit, they remain very popular. They are made up of several layers, consisting of sponge, jelly, cream and custard, but many variations can be found.
Boxty – if you’re in Ireland, give these potato pancakes a try. Made with both raw grated potato and mashed potato, they are usually served with an Irish breakfast, but can also be eaten with a little butter and honey instead.
Roast Dinner – sometimes known as Sunday Lunch, this list would not be complete without mentioning the most traditional meal of them all, the great roast dinner. Everyone does theirs in their own special way, and many people are passionate about what should and shouldn’t be included. A large cut of roasted meat, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, or goose will be at the centre of it all, accompanied by a range of “trimmings”, including any combination of crispy roasted potatoes, parsnips, mashed potatoes, boiled/steamed vegetables, Yorkshire puddings, gravy (ranging from very thin, to very thick!), sausages wrapped in bacon and cauliflower cheese. This meal also serves as our traditional Christmas dinner. You can also enjoy this meal in certain pubs, often called carveries – if you don’t fancy making one yourself.
There are so many wonderful foods to try in the UK, so have fun exploring all the different options and don’t be afraid to try new things!