The UK has a pretty bad reputation when it comes to food. I mean come on; it shares a continent with the likes of France and Italy. But does that mean that the UK deserves all the flack that it receives for its food? If you stick to Piccadilly Circus then it probably does, but get out of the capital’s tourist center, and even out of London itself, and you’ll find that British food can rival the best from Europe.
Forget croissants and cheese: oil is the word of the day when it comes to a traditional full English breakfast, and everything that’s served up on your plate is fried in lashings of it. A few rashers of bacon, a couple of fried eggs and some sausages are the staples of any good full English breakfast, with tomatoes, mushrooms, fried bread, baked beans and black pudding usually winding up on the plate, too. Any greasy spoon worth its salt will serve you up a place.
While its separate components didn't originate in the UK - battered fish comes from Portugal, the chips from Belgium - put them together, and you have one of the UK’s most iconic dishes. Everyone has their own favorite way of eating it. First put on lashings of salt and vinegar, and then choose mushy peas, curry sauce or gravy to slather over the top of your fish and chips.
The UK’s neighbors to the south, the French nickname British folk ‘Les Rosbifs’, or ‘the Roast Beefs’, after this classic that’s usually served up on a Sunday. Beef, pork, chicken or lamb are the meats of choice, with roast potatoes and veggies - think carrots, parsnips and runner beans - served on the side, and a Yorkshire pudding and gravy to top it off.
It may look stodgy and unappealing, but nothing says honest, traditional, homemade British dessert quite like bread and butter pudding does. Served hot with either custard or cream, if you’re in the capital, head to The English Restaurant in east London and prepare to tantalize your taste buds.
Sure, it doesn't originate in the UK, but curry is to the British what Mexican food is to citizens of the United States. From creamy korma and tangy bhunas to the classic tikka masala and eye-watering vindaloos, the British have adopted curry as their own. Bradford and Leicester are well renowned for their excellent curry houses, but for the very best, head to London’s Brick Lane and follow your nostrils.
Put your preconceptions to the side, open wide, and chow down on the best bites that Britain has to offer - you may be surprised at what the isles have in store to keep your stomach stocked up with traditional treats.
What was your favorite must-eat treat while visiting the UK?
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Tom has always had the travel bug and, after quitting his call centre job in the UK, he packed up and moved to South Korea to teach English for almost four years. Since moving on from South Korea, he's been travelling the world and loves exploring city streets, trying delicious new food, meeting great people and taking way too many selfies with his phone, although he'll disagree with you on that last point. Read about Tom's adventures on his blog, Waegook Tom, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter.
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