Britain is home to an array of diverse and delicious dishes, reflecting both its rich history and its multicultural influences. If you’re an English student looking to dive into the world of traditional British cuisine, here’s a list of ten classic foods you simply must try.
1. Fish and Chips: A classic British food, fish and chips is a must-try for anyone visiting England. It consists of battered and fried fish (typically cod or haddock) served with chunky, golden chips and a splash of salt and vinegar. (Don’t forget some mushy peas on the side!).
To taste this British delicacy at its best, try it somewhere by the sea. During the Summer, students at Bell Cambridge often make trips to the seaside town of Hunstanton, a perfect location to have some fish and chips!
2. Full English Breakfast: Also known as a “fry-up,” this breakfast usually includes fried eggs, bacon, sausages, black pudding, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, and either toast or fried bread. Whatever you have planned for the day, this hearty breakfast will provide you with fuel you need!
3. Shepherd’s Pie: This comforting dish comes from Scotland and Northern England. The word ‘pie’ is a bit misleading here, as instead of pastry, Shepherd’s Pie consists of minced lamb and potatoes. If you swap the lamb with beef, it’s called Cottage Pie. You might not find it in every restaurant, but if you’re a Bell London student seeking a superb Shepherd’s Pie, check out this guide.
4. Steak and Kidney Pie: Next up, it’s another pie – and this time there’s pastry! This savoury pie is comfort food at its best, blending pieces of steak and kidney in gravy, inside a flaky pastry crust, and served with a side of buttery mashed potatoes and peas. When a chilly evening comes along, it’s time for a steak and kidney pie to warm you up!
5. Chicken Tikka Masala: Despite its South Asian roots, Chicken Tikka Masala is likely a British creation made by a Bangladeshi chef in Glasgow. This flavourful dish consists of succulent chunks of chicken marinated in spices and yogurt, then grilled and served in a creamy, tomato-based sauce.
Today, it’s one of Britain’s most popular dishes, and is often considered the national dish of the UK. The UK offers plenty of curry houses to choose from, and Cambridge and London are no exception!
6. Eton Mess: This light and delightful dessert, made with meringue, berries, and cream, is perfect for a summer’s day. Originating from Eton College, it’s now enjoyed throughout Britain. The best Eton Mess is often homemade or enjoyed on a picnic – perhaps in London’s leafy Hyde Park, or Cambridge’s scenic Jesus Green?
7. Sticky Toffee Pudding: Another dessert, (best for those with a sweet tooth), sticky toffee pudding consists of a moist sponge cake, infused with dates and smothered in a warm toffee sauce. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of clotted cream, it’s an indulgent conclusion to any meal.
8. Cornish Pasty: These meat and vegetable-filled pastries are an important part of British food culture. Originally popular among miners due to their portability, Cornish pasties are now loved nationwide. You can find them at markets and bakeries, or the local supermarket!
9. Sunday Roast: A Sunday isn’t complete without a roast dinner! This iconic meal has been enjoyed by families up and down the country for generations. A typical roast dinner will have either lamb, roast beef or chicken, served with a selection of vegetables, including roast potatoes, carrots, peas, and Brussels sprouts, as well as Yorkshire puddings, stuffing, and of course, gravy.
Sound good? For a taste of this British tradition, we recommend heading to the pub!
10. Afternoon Tea: Ok, this one isn’t technically a food, but afternoon tea is a British tradition dating back to the 19th century that involves scones, finger sandwiches, cake, and tea, usually taken around 3-4pm, all accompanied by a hot pot of tea.
England’s diverse culinary scene offers a range of options, from hearty comfort foods to yummy desserts. Whether you’re studying with us in Cambridge or London, make sure to taste these delightful dishes and dive into the nation’s rich food culture.