British foods, anyone???

The Hammer-babe and I have often talked about some day taking a trip across the pond–and an important part of any trip for us is sampling the local cuisinic delicacies. I came across this list of some of the more common ones, and was curious about any personal thoughts on these foods:

A lot of stuff on this list is just different terms for the same thing. I’m looking for info on the stuff that is decidedly different. For example, anything with an awful name like “toad in the hole” has to be good.

Toad in the Hole is absolutely delicious.

My ex is from Bermuda, so he liked certain disgusting British things. The only ones I can think of now are Chow Chow and Branston pickle. Eew.

Chow Chow?
That’s a breed of dog, isn’t it? (apparently so named because it was bred for the table, but not in Blighty)

I’ll second toad-in-the-hole, and also put up a sturdy defence of Branston pickle. I promise not to mention Marmite, and I’d definitely warn you off saveloys and blancmange. Especially together.

Anything a little tart suite my palate … but enough of the personal life …Can I just say that English Indian food is nothing like Indian Indian food but both are well worth a poke – not unlike a portion of tart, IMHO…

How about Chicken Tikka Masala? Good stuff.

What the hell is “chow chow”?

It’s a spicy mustard, but it has all kind of weird things like pieces of cauliflower and carrots mixed in.

Chow-Chow is a southern U.S. relish. Not sure of any connection to the U.K.

No discussion of British foods is complete without a mention of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, probably the one truly British main dish you can mention in polite circles without sniggering. Other than that, you’ve got a load of great desserts (sticky toffee pudding is to die for). You may be on your own after that. (Speaking from experience: when you take your vacation in Blighty, only eat in restaurants that are reasonably clean. Your stomach will thank you.)

Sounds like another name for “picalilli”.

Anyway, this thread has inspired me: I’m making Toad in the Hole when I get home this evening.

Oh a little secret: the “hole” in Toad is made out of the same material as Yorkshire Pudding (“toad” is the sausage hiding in it).

Stuff we eat (well some of us):

Spotted Dick (well it was inevitable) which is nice

Tripe (which is not)

Faggotts (Hmmmm, lovely lovely faggots)

Custard (often with spotted dick, or figgy pudding or indeed plum duff)

Black pudding (made of blood, much, much nicer than it sounds)

Steak and Kidney Pudding, and Pie (aka Snake and pygmy to every schoolchild)

Suet puddings in general

Queen of puddings

Actually our desserts in general take a lot of beating

Saveloys (horrible)


Muffins (which are nothing like yankee muffins, nor what you call English muffins either)

Tea cakes in general (esp crumpets)

Sausages (food of the gods)

Milk Puddings (food of satan)

Chicken Tikka Masala (most popular meal in England apparently)

They eat some different stuff in Scotland (deep fried mars bars and all sorts of pies) and Wales, and there are regional delicacies in different bits of England eg; London - |Jellied Eels (eels in slime)

Lemon Curd!


Where are you going in Blitey? There are some local specialities worth searching for.
In Devon/Cornwall try Cream Teas, Pot of Tea, Scone, Clotted cream and strawberry Jam
In West Counties, try the cheeses, plowmans lunch is a good method to do this.
In wales Welsh Rarebit is good.
Home counties, High Tea is a rare treat.
Up North, Yorkshire Pudding is a must.
Scotland local salmon, haggis (if adventurous), Whiskey…

Everywhere enjoy the beer, pies, and English breakfasts…

Damn, now I’m hungry, Bippy


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).

Chow Chow is similar to piccalilli but more mustardy and vinagary.
Used mostly, in my experience anyway, as a relish for veggies like
blackeyed peas, pinto beans, etc.

I second the hearty English breakfast.

your measly english breakfast can’t stand up to an Ulster Fry.

eggs (fried or scrambled)
black (blood) pudding
white pudding
potato bread
soda bread

all on a plate, smothered with butter and either red sauce or brown sauce ( tomato ketchup or HP brown sauce).

fantastic hangover cure, and the reason northern ireland has one of the highest incidences of coronary heart disease in the world.

Irish stew with lamb chops, potato, swede and turnip is the BEST THING EVER.

Bird’s custard poured over a swiss roll.

mince pies. the christmas kind, not the meat ones.

battered cod and chips with lots of vinegar

heinz salad cream and cold chicken sandwiches

shepherds pie

bangers and mash…even better if the mash is champ (mashed potato with chopped scallions mixed into it, very irish).

ploughman’s lunch: bread, cheddar cheese, slice of ham and picalilli or branston pickle, accompanied by a pint.

digestive and rich tea biscuits dipped in milky tea. chocolate digestives work even better.