Food and Cuisine in the UK
International students studying in the UK are often concerned about whether or not they will be able to adjust to British food. However, part of the adventure of delving into a new culture is to try the local cuisine and thus giving you a better understanding of the country you live in.
One of the many advantages of living in the UK is the huge diversity of foods available in almost all towns and cities. Because of the British obsession with international cuisines, most supermarkets will sell a variety of international foods from Asian, African and the Middle East. You will almost always be able to purchase food items that come from your native country. The majority of students studying in the UK will cook for themselves and will very quickly discover where to buy the foods they like.
Below is a selection of some popular British dishes that you should try during your time in the UK.
Fish and Chips
Fish (cod, haddock, huss, plaice) deep fried in flour batter with chips (fried potatoes) dressed in malt vinegar. Possibly the most iconic of the British meals, this is England's traditional take-away food. Fish and chips are not normally home cooked but bought at a fish and chip shop ("chippie" ) to eat on the premises or as a "take away".
Bangers and Mash
Bangers and Mash is another term for Sausage and Mash and is a favorite British food. The name "Bangers" is believed to come from the habit of sausages bursting in the pan with a bang if cooked too quickly. The sausages used are almost always made from pork and often seasoned with herbs and spices. The word "Mash" refers to mashed potato - the most common accompaniment to sausages, and is often drenched in thick gravy.
This is a small meal, not a drink. Traditionally it consists of tea (or coffee) typically partaken of between 3pm to 5pm. It consists either of the following:
- Freshly baked scones served with cream and jam (Known as a cream tea)
- Afternoon tea sandwiches - thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off.
- Assorted pastries
The UK is renowned for its selection of different pies and one that is very common is the Shepherd's Pie. It consists of minced lamb which is simmered in stock with aromatic vegetables. This type of pie doesn't contain any pastry but is rather covered in creamy mashed potato, baked long enough to create a golden crust.
The Sunday Roast
The British Sunday Roast is at the very heart of British food and cooking and can also be found in many country pubs and restaurants. It is a time for families or friends to get together and share good food. It consists of roasted meat, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, vegetables and gravy.
Steak and Kidney Pie
This is a British classic, tender pieces of beef tenderloin and lamb kidneys are combined with fried onion, brown gravy and topped with a flaky pastry disk. Pies are very representative of British cuisine and range in size from handheld pies to larger dish sized pies to feed a family.
Haggis is a very traditional Scottish dish and is eaten on New Year's Eve (Hogmanay) and on 25th January. It consists mainly of a sheep's stomach lining filled with a selection of offal and oatmeal. It should be served hot accompanied with mashed potato and swede, and accompanied by small glasses of neat Scotch whisky.
This is a traditional English food snack originating from Cornwall., It has a 'D' shaped pastry case filled with beef, swede and onion, diced potato, and seasoned with salt and pepper. It is now extremely popular with holidaymakers visiting Cornwall