England gets an unfair bad rap for its culinary scene. Like the US, England has a hodge podge of food styles and restos which are highly competitive in order to be successful, particularly in the bustling city of London. Although English is the mother language in England, many of the unique English dishes need translating for tourists! Perhaps it is because the English menu is misunderstood that gives it its bad rap. Trust when I say that not all English food is “dodgy!” Knowing what to order on a menu will make the English foodie scene a little more exciting!
Traditional English food
English breakfast: Eggs, bacon, sausages, fried bread, mushrooms, baked beans. You can’t go wrong with this hearty breakfast!
Yorkshire Pudding: Made from flour, eggs and milk. Yorkshire pudding is not a dessert but rather a batter baked in the oven with vegetables topped with gravy
Toad in the Hole: Similar to Yorkshire pudding but includes sausage.
Ploughman’s Sandwich: Cheese and pickle sandwiches often served at pubs
Fish & Chips: Deep-fried cod, haddock, huss, or plaice served with french fries.
Crisps: Potato chips
Pork Scratchings: Pork Rinds or the skin of a pig…fried
Shepherd’s Pie: Minced lamb and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes
Cottage Pie: Minced beef and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes
Lancashire Hotpot: A casserole made of meat and vegetables topped with sliced potatoes
Bubble & Squeak: Typically potato and cabbage, but carrots, peas, Brussels sprouts, and other vegetables can be added. The vegetables (and meat if used) are fried in a pan together with mashed potato until the mixture is well-cooked and brown on the sides.
Bangers & Mash: Sausage and mashed potatoes. Often, peas will be mixed with the mashed potatoes.
Black Pudding: Looks like a black sausage. It is made from dried pigs blood and fat. Not for those with weak stomachs…now that you know what it is, of course.
Steak & Kidney Pudding: Diced steak and beef, and lamb’s or pig’s kidney pieces in gravy in a suet pastry. Typically served with mashed potatoes or vegetables.
Welsh Rabbit/Blushing Bunny: Not actually with rabbit, this dish is made with a savoury sauce of melted cheese and served hot, after being poured over slices of toasted bread. The hot cheese sauce may be served like a fondue, accompanied by sliced, toasted bread.
Fun English Drinks
Snakebite: Beer with cassis…a sweet twist to an otherwise potentially bitter beer. Snakebites are guaranteed to stain your lips red as if you’ve been sucking red popsicle all night.
Barley water: Usually flavored with lemon. It is made by boiling washed pearl barley, straining, then pouring the hot water over the rind or pulp of the fruit, and adding fruit juice and sugar to taste.
Pimms: Often used as the basis of lemonade, lemon soda, ginger ale or ginger beer and drinks are garnished lavishly with cucumber, mint leaves and fruit. Pimms has been making ready mixed drinks for over 100 years in England.
Sidecar: A throwback to WWI is traditionally made with cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice.
Dandelion and Burdock: A soft drink that rarely actually includes the plant extracts.
Black Velvet: Sometimes called the Bismarck or the Velvet Hammer, is a kind of beer cocktail made out of stout beer and white, sparkling wine. In a more economic version you can also use Cider instead of expensive wine or champagne.
Freddie Bartholomew: Non-alcoholic cocktail made from ginger ale and sweetened lime juice. Think refreshing summer drink!
Lamb’s Wool: A variety of wassail made from ale, baked apples, sugar and spices. Delicious for cold winter weather!
British Oyster stout: yes, this tasty beer is brewed with fresh oysters but don’t worry, it doesn’t taste fishy!
Don’t be surprised if you’re served a beer at nearly room temperature in a local pub. The thought is that one can’t appreciate the true flavor of a beer if it is icy cold so the English drink beer at cellar temperature. It won’t be warm but it won’t be ice cold either.
And no English foodie post can go without mention of English High Tea! What may seem as a pretentious event is nothing but England at its best. Spend brunch sipping on endless tea and delicate treats.
You can read more about where to go for High Tea and more thoughts on London here!