Whether you’re walking down the streets of London in style or exploring Cliffland’s moors and cliff tops, you’ve undoubtedly given your next meal some thought. Sure, you could run to the nearest Italian restaurant because pasta can never go wrong, can it? But by doing so, you will be missing out on many tasty local dishes. Food is one of the very few constant cultural indicators over time; almost everything else changes with technology.
A country’s cuisine is a tradition that has been passed down from one generation to the other; from comfort foods to dinner party staples, any cuisine has endless stories to tell. Having famous local dishes is not just part of the tourist experience; it helps you understand and know more about the people and their culture. This is why we collected a few tasty British dishes that you would love to try.
Fish and Chips
Regardless of where you are from, you’ve probably heard about the very British fish and chips. Doused in salt and vinegar, there is almost nothing better than having it hot and freshly made on a cold, rainy day. After the public decided that fish and chips were indeed very tasty food combinations, London and Lancaster introduced the first fish and chips shops during the 1860s, officially declaring the dish as a very yummy local meal. The rest of the populace only found it fair to get a taste of the popular meal.
As soon as they were out on the rails, steam railways were used to easily and quickly distribute the dish around the country. By the 1930s, fish and ships were an essential part of everyone’s diet that even special training tents provided the dish at training camps, leading the territorial army to prepare for a battle of their own. Not only are they delicious, but fish and chips are loaded with vitamins, fibre, protein, and iron. You can now find around 8.5K fish and chips shops across the United Kingdom.
Bangers and Mash
Bangers and mash, the very popular British pub dish, is made of sausages and mashed potatoes soused in onion gravy and are often complemented with peas. During World War I, sausages were made with a number of fillers- the majority being water, due to meat shortages.
This caused the sausages to explode when cooked, resulting in the term “bangers.” This dish can be cooked with various sausage types, including pork, lamb, and beef. However, Cumberland sausage, England’s northwestern coiled pork sausage, is the most traditional of them all.
Devoured by royalty and members of the rich upper class, pies that came in a variety of fillings, including seafood, venison, lamb, and beef, have taken part in the British menu ever since the 13th century. When farmworkers and miners in Cornwall adopted this dish during the 17th and 18th centuries, the delight that is wholesale Cornish Pasties came around.
At first, Cornish miner’s wives prepared the meal for their husbands to keep them sustained. The idea was to prepare a meal that could survive being dropped in a mine and withstand contamination when in contact with arsenic and dirty hands. Nowadays, you can find delicious pasties in a selection of fillings in shops around England.
The British are known for their love of meat. When times were rough and the meat was very expensive or scarce, they resorted to substitutes just to get their daily dose of a hearty dish. It’s only natural that they have a meal that is rich in a type of roasted meat, accompanied by roasted potatoes, stuffing, Yorkshire pudding, vegetables, and gravy, dedicated to their Sunday dinner nights.
This dish became popular in 1485 during King Henry VII’s reign and is still a tradition today. The roasted meat can also be served as stews, cold cuts, and pies throughout the whole week.
Shepherd’s Pie is a baked meat pie that originated in Scotland and northern England. The dish consists of diced or minced lamb meat and is topped with a thick mashed potatoes layer. Shepherd’s Pie was typically made up by housewives who were looking to make new use of Sunday roast’s leftovers. It is a delicious meal that many enjoy cooking from scratch- not just because they have leftovers.
Traditional dishes have a lot to reveal about their origin and culture. Immigrants from all around the world often cook their own traditional meals to feel connected to their heritage. Most traditional meals tell endless stories and are products of very rich history and events. Not only are those dishes very tasty, but they surely will help you embrace British culture.