12 delicious British foods to try

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

Tasting unique, one-of-a-kind regional food is one of my favorite things about moving to a new assignment. You can discover amazing, authentic flavors that you may not have otherwise tried. Burnt ends in Kansas City? Yes, thanks. Loco mocos and malasadas in Hawaii? Check. Jägerschnitzel and Käsespätzle in Germany? Absolutely. When we were notified of our new assignment to the U.K., it left our taste buds a little disappointed. Images of flavorless, overcooked veggies and sad piles of meat danced through my head. After we arrived, we happily discovered that British eats are so much more than bland, monochromatic food. Here are fantastic 12 dishes (aside from fish and chips) to try.

Sausage rolls

The British are quite sensible when it comes to naming their food. Sausage rolls are no exception. Savory sausage meat is enveloped in flaky puff pastry, creating a perfect afternoon snack.


British sausage rolls | Photo by David Kadlec

 

Cornish pasty

This portable pie is quintessentially English. A traditional Cornish pasty is a shortcrust pastry filled with minced meat, diced potato and onion. These handheld snacks are often found at street vendors and can come in varied flavors, such as a chicken tikka masala or pork and apple.


Cornish pasties | Photo by David Kadlec 

 

Sticky toffee pudding

My husband’s favorite dessert thus far. A moist sponge cake usually consisting of very finely chopped dates, drowning in a toffee or caramel sauce, accompanied with warm vanilla custard. Seriously heaven on a spoon.


Sticky toffee pudding | Photo by markuk97 

 

Bacon

Bacon seems pretty self-explanatory. However, the crispy salted goodness is different than what you’ll find in the States. I liken it to a mix of Canadian and American bacon. Slightly thicker than American, but not as thick as Canadian, it’s a perfect balance. If you’re feeling a little green after an evening of debauchery, throw a few slices on fresh bread with a little butter or brown sauce for a tasty hangover cure.


Traditional English breakfast with British bacon | Sergii Koval

 

Sunday roasts

Even though stores and businesses are bustling on Sunday afternoons, be sure to pop in a local pub or restaurant for a traditional Sunday roast. Hand-carved, slow-roasted meats are paired with savory Yorkshire pudding, mash and roasted vegetables.


Traditional Sunday roast | Photo by Igor Dutina

 

Bubble and squeak

This tasty, yet oddly-named dish actually refers to the action and sound the food makes as it cooks. Often made Monday mornings, bubble and squeak is made from leftover vegetables from Sunday roasts. Potatoes and cabbage (which bubbles and squeaks as it fries up) are the primary veggies, but you can basically throw in the whole kitchen sink.


Bubble and squeak | Photo by Alexandr Mychko 

 

Meat pies

Macaroni and cheese has always been my favorite go-to comfort food … until we moved to the U.K. My husband took me to a local pub here in Huntingdon where I fell in love with steak and ale pies. Chunks of tender steak, carrots and onions mixed in a brown ale gravy are baked into a flaky pie crust. With creamy mash (mashed potatoes) and extra gravy, I could probably eat this every night — although my waistline tells me otherwise.


Beef meat pie | Photo by David Pimborough

 

English breakfast

The British take their breakfast pretty seriously. If your order a full English breakfast (which I highly suggest you do), bring your A-game. you’ll be rewarded with slices of bacon, eggs, bangers (sausage), baked beans, grilled tomato, sautéed or fried mushrooms and toast. You might also get a little bubble and squeak or hash browns as well.


Traditional British breakfast | Photo by Kia Cheng Boon

 

Toad in the hole

No, don’t worry … no real toads are involved in this tasty dish. Bangers are placed in a shallow dish and covered with Yorkshire pudding batter. After it’s baked and a nice golden-brown, it’s served with rich onion gravy and veggies.


Toad in the hole | Photo by Sergii Koval

 

Scotch egg

This quirky dish is similar to a croquette. A layer of meat (usually sausage) is wrapped around a boiled egg, coated in bread crumbs and usually deep-fried or baked.


Scotch eggs | Photo by Tami Freed

 

Chicken tikka masala

Thanks to worldwide influences from Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, the spicy and flavorful condiment is a staple in British cuisine. Chicken tikka masala is made with diced chicken marinated in spices and yogurt, which is then baked. It is then mixed with a signature orange-tinted sauce that usually contains tomato puree, cream and curry spices. Chicken tikka masala is usually served over a bed of piping-hot white rice.


Chicken tikka masala | Photo by funandrejss

 

Pimm’s and lemonade

Although the U.K. is well-known for its ciders and ales, this sinfully delicious cocktail should absolutely be on your bucket list. It’s traditionally made with one part Pimm’s (a gin-based liqueur), three parts sparkling lemonade, a few cucumber and orange slices, a couple of mint leaves, and some strawberries. Although its popularity grows around Wimbledon, it’s refreshing all year. Hint: try it frozen for a fabulous treat on a warm summer day.


Traditional Pimms cocktail with lemonade, strawberries, cucumber, orange and mint | Photo by Beata Aldridge

 

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