It’s no secret that the UK has a reputation for having bland, boring food.
Ridiculed by the rest of the world for eating soggy overcooked vegetables and too many potatoes, is this a fair representation of modern British cuisine? And where did these outrageous rumors begin?
The answer might be from wartime rationing and the sudden unavailability of many ingredients. The American soldiers who came to Britain could be the ones to blame. When they returned home after the war, their tales of bad quality meats and powdered milk spread, and the myth of terrible British cooking began.
These days, lack of choice isn’t an issue – London has literally thousands of restaurants. You can get amazing food from all over the world and high-quality ingredients are readily available, but what about the more traditional dishes? It’s time to set the record straight and prove that some of our food can be pretty amazing – here are my top choices of British meals you must try.
1. Full English Breakfast
Juicy sausages, perfectly cooked eggs and salty bacon perfectly balances with the sweetness of the baked beans, the full English is the breakfast of kings – a feast to start your day. Don’t be afraid of black pudding either, it’s definitely worth a try. There is no shortage of cafes in London serving this magnificent dish, the Black Penny in Covent Garden or Caravan, Kings Cross are two recommended spots to visit.
2. Traditional Sunday roast
I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than stuffing my face with tender roast beef and an array of vegetables swimming in a rich meat gravy. We mustn’t forget the Yorkshire pudding – which, despite its name, is not a dessert and if cooked right should be light, perfectly risen and crispy. Blacklock restaurant in Soho is claimed to serve Britain’s best roast, so be sure to book a table.
3. Pies, Sausage Rolls and Pasties
Gone are the days of hiding bad quality meat in even worse quality pastry. From pork pies to Cornish pasties you won’t be disappointed by Britain’s selection of baked goods. Budget friendly bakery chain Greggs offers a selection of hot, freshly baked pasties and pies, including vegetarian and vegan choices. Alternatively, if you find yourself at Borough market be sure to visit Mrs. Kings for a traditional Melton Mowbray pork pie – fresh pork meat surrounded by golden pastry – delicious.
4. The Cream Scone
If you fancy something sweet, how about a fluffy buttery scone covered in sticky strawberry jam and traditional Cornish clotted cream. Real clotted cream is as thick as butter and made from a special process of heating the milk using steam or water then cooling it slowly, so the cream rises to the surface and creates the clots. All you really need to know though is it’s rich, delicious and perfect to be enjoyed with a cup of tea.
5. Fish and Chips
It’s impossible to do a list of British food without fish and chips. I always think it tastes better by the seaside, but if you don’t want to go that far, there are plenty of places serving it up in the capital. Don’t shy away from adding plenty of salt and vinegar and go with a big appetite, it’s certainly not a light meal, but it is incredibly satisfying.
6. Chicken Tikka Masala
It might seem an odd one, but it had to be mentioned. There is some debate as to whether this curry dish originated in Scotland in the 1970s. It was rumored that a Bangladeshi chef added a tomato cream sauce to the chicken tikka to please a customer, but whether that’s true or not, it has become one of our nations favourites. Head to Brick Lane where you’ll find many curry shops where you can try it.