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Much like each state in America has its own traditional food, and even more specifically, each city has the culinary creations its “famous” for, Britain is no different.
These are the most famous British foods to try in London!
You should know that the traditional breakfast in England is slightly different than the one in Scotland, and the types of food enjoyed by locals differs on the region.
Luckily, London has a lot of different options for you to try.
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Less a traditional food and more something you’ll find in almost every British person’s home is squash.
And I don’t mean the yellow gourd that Americans associate with Thanksgiving and cartoons of pilgrims bringing it to the table.
I mean the fruit-flavored concentrated syrup that you add to your water to give it a different taste.
Squash comes in a plastic bottle and includes flavors like orange, blackcurrant, lemon and many more.
It’s not meant to be enjoyed by itself – the syrup is so concentrated that you just need a couple of splashes in a drink.
I mention this because the first time someone offered me “squash,” I pictured being saddled with a giant yellow gourd to eat all by myself rather than having one glass of flavored water.
I emphatically told them “No, thank you” while they looked confused as to why I seemed to have such an aversion to squash.
Now that you now, you can go through your British life not making the same mistakes I did and perhaps even find a new drink you enjoy!
A “Sunday roast” is a traditional meal often enjoyed on, surprise surprise, a Sunday!
Brits like to equate it to an “American Thanksgiving meal every Sunday,” but I don’t buy that comparison.
What it is is basically a form of meat, either chicken, beef, pork or lamb usually, combined with vegetables like carrots and roasted potatoes, sometimes stuffing, gravy, and sometimes a Yorkshire pudding like the one we talked about in the holiday section.
These types of meals are often enjoyed in the winter months, but can be an all-year round occasion and are one of the best British foods to try in London.
It’s a real “event” that you can invite other people to as well –ie, “Hey, do you and your husband want to come over for Sunday lunch?”
Fish and Chips
If you don’t know that fish and chips are associated with Britain, then you’ve been living under a rock and I need you to come out now.
Possibly the most British meal of all, fish and chips is enjoyed all over the country no matter how far from the coast you are.
The main fish used is cod, but you can also get haddock or plaice in some…places.
And chips, of course, are chunky fries (and I mean, chunky!)
They’re not usually very crispy, but slightly mushy.
Oh, and speaking of mushy – the trifecta is completed with some mushy peas!
The fish and chips takeout place (called takeaway in the UK) is known as a “chippie,” and you’ll almost always get better fish and chips there than in a restaurant that serves other things.
In England, you often hear of a “traditional English breakfast” and the same goes for each of the other UK nations – there are small variations on exactly what type of food is included in a traditional Welsh/Scottish/Irish/English breakfast, but overall you can expect some type of toast, eggs usually fried, mushrooms, beans, and tomatoes.
People don’t usually start their every day with traditional breakfasts if they work a non-construction or non-physical type of job, but it is a treat for people at weekends and when they want to really indulge themselves.
One of the least understood but most often talked about UK foods among visitors is black pudding.
To keep it simple, black pudding is a combination of pork, dried pig’s blood, and fat.
I will leave it up to you and try!
As evidenced by the names, Scotch eggs are a delicacy in Scotland but also in the rest of the UK.
The basics are that it’s a hard-boiled egg covered in sausage and meat and breadcrumbs and fried or baked.
You can find them at pubs occasionally or just buy them in supermarkets.
When a British person asks you if you’d like some “pie” for lunch or dinner, they’re not offering you a sweet pie like apple pie or pumpkin pie.
Instead, they’re talking about a “meat pie.”
Popular types are chicken and leek pie and steak and ale pie, but there can be many meat and vegetable combinations.
It makes sense, as the UK can be a cold place and meat pies are good pub food to help warm you up!
For the first couple of months I lived in the UK, I would hear Brits make fun of American food and how bad it is for you – they were amused at my Pop-tarts for breakfast, affinity for sugary cereal and the “deep fried everything” they had seen on documentaries about the Midwest.
I went along with this for a while, until learning that UK food can be equally as deliciously unhealthy, and who in the world were they to talk when they had invented the “chip butty.”
This is, for all intents and purposes, a french fry sandwich.
Literally two pieces of bread or a roll, buttered, plus fries in the middle and condiments.
After learning of this culinary delicacy, I was in UK food heaven and feel grateful for their contributions to my carb intake.
Egg and soldiers
I’ve included egg and soldiers because I had no idea what it was when my husband first introduced it to me, but I also think it’s a great way to give a mini-lesson on the cooking of eggs in the UK because there are different methods and words than we usually use in America.
So, to start off, “egg and soldiers” or “dippy eggs” is when you have toast cut up into slices (the soldiers), and dip these into the runny yolk of a boiled egg.
It’s a popular kid’s dish in the UK, but I like it too, so sue me.
Brits in general will also have their eggs fried, often, with the yolk still runny, known as “over easy” in America.
If you want the egg fried but the yolk also cooked through, you would need to explicitly state that as there isn’t really a term for that here.
Other egg terms, like scrambled, boiled, and poached are all applicable in the UK.
Meat eaters should try a beef wellington, which is essentially filet steak wrapped in pastry and cooked.
It’s my husband’s favorite meal, and particularly popular to order for a special occasion as they’re not exactly cheap.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
An option you might see on the dessert menu is sticky toffee pudding, which is in fact not pudding (remember, pudding means dessert in the UK!) but a moist cake filled with raisins and then topped with toffee sauce and custard or ice cream.
Custard is another popular dessert add-on, and it’s made from milk and cream but is a consistency between cream and ice cream.
It’s often poured on top of desserts and cakes.
If you like chocolate, cream, and pastry, you’ll love profiteroles, another dessert menu option.
These balls of pastry are filled with cream and drizzled with chocolate and they are 10/10 delicious.