Are you planning a city break in London?

Still undecided about what to eat there?

Take a look at this selection of 8 foods (and drinks) that you should definitely try while enjoying your time in the UK and hopefully you won’t get seriously addicted to any! Or maybe you should…

1 - Pork Pie

Admittedly, most picnics in the UK strike fear into the hearts of anyone who’s ever lived there: will the rain hold off long enough to get through your first scotch egg? Will the wasps just leave the damn lemonade alone? Did you bring enough layers?

But just when you thought the whole picnic idea should be sacked off altogether, there’s pork pie: the pastry a thick, suet-y, artery-clogging comfort blanket surrounding meaty jelly and peppery pork. Best served with a classic English pint.

Pork Pie UK Food
2 - Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips UK Food

It may sound like a cliché, but fish and chips is so ubiquitously British that it’s actually different everywhere you go.

While your choice of fish will depend mostly on how conscious your local chippie is of sustainable fishing practices (answer: generally not very), your chip-dipping sauce of choice is an instant giveaway. Gravy? You’re probably in Yorkshire. Mayonnaise? You southern fairy. Ketchup? You might as well be American.

3 - Haggis

Yes, haggis is essentially a bunch of ground-up animal organs stuffed into a sheep’s stomach with a sack-full of seasoning and oatmeal. But don’t let that put you off. No, really: it’s actually the second best thing to come out of Scottish cuisine (the first being the deep-fried Mars Bar, obvs).

And these days, some recipes even leave out the sheep’s stomach bit – remember those southern fairies I was talking about…

Haggis UK Food
4 - English Breakfast
English Breakfast UK Food

Hear the words “full monty” in a café in the UK and you’d be forgiven for thinking that one of the waiters was about to strip. But no, they’re probably just talking about their breakfast. Not for those with any kind of heart condition, the full English breakfast is a veritable fry-up feast. Think sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes – even the toast is often fried.

Needless to say, this is a weekend treat only, or the entire British population would have died of a heart attack by now.

5 - Salt Beef Bagel

This is what American’s call corned beef… except… on a bagel.

I’m not sure why we never thought of this, because it’s one of those foods that’s life-changing once you know what you’ve been missing. Beigel Bake in London’s Brick Lane has been serving salt beef bagels 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, since 1974. That’s over 40 years of beefy, bagel-y goodness right there.

Salt Beef Bagel UK Food
6 - Beer
Beer UK Food

Beer was being produced in the UK before the Roman times. I’d say they know what they’re doing. If you’re in any doubt at all, head to one of the hundreds of beer and ale festivals that take place across the country. They have Morris Dancers, for chrissakes…

Any drink that makes grown men dance in a circle with bells round their ankles has got to be pretty special.

7 - Whisky

Just because you’ve tried Irish whisky and are a fan of Bourbon, do not for one second assume that you know anything about Scotch.

Smokey and musky with peat, it’ll take the roof of your mouth off.

It’s an acquired taste – but that’s the point.

Whisky UK Food
8 - Bara Brith Bread
Bara Brith Bread UK Food

Best served with a lilting Welsh accent and lashings of butter, Bara Brith is similar to fruit cake but without the bad reputation.

Imagine tea round your long-lost Welsh grandmother’s house…

If we were to able to convince you to try any of these British foods, the next step is to take a look at our London apartments and start planning your stay!

Illustrations by Edward McGowan for Eating London.

Author
Eating London was created by East Enders proud of their neighbourhood, its culinary treasures and its rich cultural history. We give people a taste of London they won’t forget by exposing them to real food, people and neighbourhoods. Our mission is to leave travellers with an unparalleled, non-touristy, food-related experience in undiscovered neighbourhoods of London, with tours in Soho and Shoreditch.