I’d like to introduce by saying I quite like:
Marmite - an aquired taste, but worth it for the convenience of always having a jar of something in the cupboard which never goes bad, and which your roommates will never steal. Also full of iron and vitamin B12, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
Branston Pickle (just like the ads: sweet, crunchy, spicy etc) - kind of a brown relish with bits of random pickled vegetables, really quite good, despite how it sounds.
Stilton and apple sandwiches - a surprising combination, perhaps, but tasty. Also try stilton and broccoli soup.
Jacket potatoes, a.k.a. baked potatoes, available EVERYWHERE, freshly baked and with lots of toppings to choose from - among the best street food in the world, I’m convinced.
Beans on toast. An old favourite. It doesn’t taste nearly as good in Canada, even though I’m convinced the beans and the toast are the same.
In pubs they sell potato chips (‘crisps’), which is an idea I wish would take off here. the hard cheese and onion is very nice, not so much the Worcestershire sauce or the steak flavours, can’t speak for the fried chicken, pickled onion etc … Generally McCoy’s is the best.
Flapjacks are not pancakes but kind of a bar made from oatmeal, I was quite addicted to these for a few weeks.
Caramel McVitties: a digestive cookie with a layer of caramel and a layer of chocolate. Mmmmm. Dipped in tea: spectacular.
It is also worth noting that their ‘chips’ are delicious, and not the same as fries.
If I wasn’t veggie I would have eaten a lot of ‘kebabs’ which I’ve seen here only very occasionally, called ‘gyros’, and usually goat. There they have chicken as well.
If you are veggie, Linda McCartney stuff is surprisingly nice, especially the beef and mushroom pies. Also ‘Quorn,’ a meat substitute like no other.
They sell a candy bar called ‘Lion,’ it’s amazing (send a few back for me?).
Crumpets are awesome once you stop thinking of them as ‘English muffins’ (they’re much moister).
I hope that entitles me to mention a few things which I wish the British never gave the world:
Chip butty: Bread. Cold chips. Why?
Mushy peas: Same idea as ‘creamed corn’ only with peas. Ends up a lurid, neon green colour. And they put it on chips (fries) too.
Breakfast in a Can: Baked beans with random bits of meat mixed in.
Jellied Eels: need I say more?
‘Coffee’: in several cafes I went to, when I ordered coffee, the server would fill a mug with milk, sprinkle Nescafe in, and froth it with their cappuccino machine. I tried to tell them, sorry, that’s simply not coffee, and they absolutely didn’t believe me. The fact that drinking a mug of milk would make my stomach explode was the only thing that convinced them to give me a cup of tea instead. In general, they will offer you ‘coffee’ and give you instant. Be cautious if you are picky about this.
Also be careful if ordering something with tomatoes, several times (in sandwiches, on NACHOS) I got tinned, stewed ones instead of fresh. An unpleasant surprise.
Pizza: the best advice I got from an English person before I arrived was to never, ever buy pizza off the street (common in central London), no matter how strong the compulsion. No matter how good/cheap it looks, it’s never worth it, and there’s always a jacket potato place nearby (see above).