Here’s your guide to understanding the more unusual dishes you can find on most British menus, and why you should give them a try. After all, breaking stereotypes is one of the best parts of travel—you get to try things firsthand and come up with your own opinions.
Perhaps the most recognizable and popular dish served in British restaurants and pubs, fish and chips are always a solid choice. The fish (usually cod or haddock) is deep fried in a flour batter and served with chips (fried potatoes). Depending on your tastes you can flavor the fish with malt vinegar, keep it plain or add ketchup - head to a “chippie” (a fish and chip shop) to eat on premises or to take-away with you.
Sounds pretty gross, doesn’t it? In reality, bubble and squeak is really a vegetable hash. The main ingredients are potatoes and cabbage, but carrots, peas, Brussel sprouts, and other vegetables can also be added if they’re available. The cold chopped vegetables are fried together with mashed potato until the mixture is well-cooked and brown on the sides. It’s often served alongside meat or as an addition to a full English breakfast. The name comes from the sounds heard during the cooking process and tastes perfectly delicious.
“Full breakfast” is a concept recognized throughout a majority of Europe, though each country has its own way to cook the dish and its own additions. In England, a traditional full breakfast includes bacon, poached or fried eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or toast with butter, sausages and baked beans. This massive meal is usually served with a mug of tea (or coffee, if requested). It also goes by the name “fry-up” since almost everything on the plate is fried. Black pudding, bubble and squeak and hash browns are other common additions to the English full breakfast. When ordering an English breakfast, try calling it a Full English, or a Full Monty.
Spotted dick is a pudding that is quite popular in England. It usually has dried fruits (like raisins or currants) and is served with custard. The dish has been around since the mid 1800’s and remains a favourite to this day. The name of the dish has long been a source of amusement and jokes, but the dish itself is a great addition to any meal.
This is usually enjoyed as a part of the main meal instead of as a dessert. It is made of flour, eggs and milk and is baked in the oven and served with gravy. Typically, you will get one large piece filled with gravy and vegetables to enjoy.
This is essentially sausage that have been covered in batter and then roasted. Toad in the hole is just like the Yorkshire pudding mentioned above, only the sausages are added to batter before being baked.
Whether you taste the toad in a hole or sample the spotted dick, the cuisine in England has come into its own in the past couple decades and there are delicious meals to be enjoyed throughout the country without a bland meat casserole in sight. Safeguard your international holiday to England with a policy from Cover-More.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Kai Hendry