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The Top 10 Foods You Have To Try In The United Kingdom
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The Top 10 Foods You Have To Try In The United Kingdom

Picture of Adam Groffman
Updated: 2 December 2016
Whoever said British food was boring and bland clearly didn’t travel much. The myth about boring British food first came about during World War II, when most classic British foods were rationed. To counter this myth and prove that British food is worth its salt, we’ve put together a guide to the top 10 British foods worth trying, from the English breakfast to Scotch whisky.

English Breakfast

It’s probably the UK’s most recognizable meal, often available in hotels and restaurants around the world. The traditional morning meal includes a hearty plate of eggs, bacon, sausages, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, tea and toast with marmalade. It originated in the mid-19th century, when workers in rural England needed big meals to satisfy them through long mornings; they would eat this to start the day.

Salt Beef Bagel

In the late 1800s, the Jewish community living in East London took the salt beef bagel, which had always been a longtime staple in British cuisine, altered the beef recipe, and served it on fresh bagels. Still today, you’ll find long lines of people waiting outside popular East London bakeries day and night for this classic.

Bara Brith Bread (Welsh Tea Bread) | Courtesy of Edward McGowan, Eating London
Bara Brith Bread (Welsh Tea Bread) | Courtesy of Edward McGowan, Eating London

Bara Brith Bread (Welsh Tea Bread)

Translating to ‘speckled bread’ in Welsh, bara brith bread is a classic British tea bread made from spices and dried fruits such as raisins and currants. Brewed tea is commonly used to make it moist and flavorful. It’s usually served warm and in thick slices, and some add on a thick spread of butter or soft cheese.

Tea

You can’t talk about food in the UK without mentioning tea, as the average Brit drinks three cups of tea per day. The entire United Kingdom drinks nearly 165 million cups in a day, adding up to 62 billion cups a year. Originally a drink reserved for the upper class, tea evolved in the United Kingdom throughout the 18th century to a daily norm. Today, though, afternoon tea is still a an elegant serving with light sandwiches and delicate pastries.

Pork Pie

Pork pies earn their unique round shape from being baked free-standing and are made of pork meat, pastry crust, and gelatin—used to help with preservation. This simple British meal is served cold, making it especially popular in the summer.

Cider

Sparkling in appearance and sweet in taste, cider is an alcoholic drink made from fermented apples. Different types of cider can be found in supermarkets from manufactured producers and in British bars from local brewers — with a wide range of flavors and alcoholic content. With 45 percent of all apples grown in the United Kingdom being used for cider production, it’s safe to say that cider is one of the United Kingdom’s favorite drinks.

Fish and chips

The chips aren’t chips at all; they’re actually french fries. A traditional meal since 1865, there are now an estimated 10,500 independent fish and chip shops throughout the United Kingdom. Lightly battered and then fried until crispy, cod and haddock are the most common types of fish used. Since fish and chips is actually one of the healthiest takeaways, there’s no reason to feel guilty when enjoying this British treat.

Haggis

Although it might sound strange at first, haggis is an old-time Scottish sausage made from sheep’s organs, oatmeal, onion, suet, and seasoning. Haggis is the dish the Scottish most pride themselves on, so much so that Robert Burns — the most famous Scottish poet — wrote a poem about the dish in 1787, entitled ‘Address to a Haggis.’ The Scottish obsession with haggis doesn’t end there: the popular sport of ‘haggis hurling‘ involves eating the haggis after it’s been thrown.

Whisky

The United Kingdom is known internationally for producing Scottish whisky, which is legally required to have been aged for at least three years in casks within Scotland to earn its name. Scottish whisky is spelled without the ‘e’ and is originally made from malted barley — setting it apart from whiskey made anywhere else in the world. With only 115 officially licensed distilleries that produce Scottish whisky, whenever you have a drink, you can rest assured it’s authentic.

Beer

Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in the United Kingdom, accounting for about 70 percent of all drinks ordered in pubs. In fact, beer has been brewed on British land since before the arrival of the ancient Romans, and breweries remain common throughout the country today. Porters and ales are the distinguished kinds of British beer, which include Newcastle Brown Ale and London’s very own Fuller’s brewery.