7 Foods You Should Eat When Visiting England
England often gets a bad reputation for its food. Most people tend to visit the capital, London, trying the first pub they run into only to find the food isn't so great. It's easy to have one bad meal where the 'chef' is just microwaving ready-meals and label the whole country as a terrible place to eat. However to see the real face of the country's food, you really have to give it a chance. Here's our picks for dishes you just have to try when visiting England, so don't say the food here is bad until you try these dishes out.
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Steak and Kidney Pudding
Ask many an English what their favorite food from home is and most will answer with some kind of pastry encased treat. Steak and kidney pie is one of the most well-known and loved dishes in the nation, but for the ultimate comfort food you have to try a decent rendition of steak and kidney pudding. The pudding label is a bit of a miss-informer, there's no sweetness about this dish. It's pure umami with a rich meat and gravy filling enclosed with suet pastry, a unique, heavenly-tasting pastry that we feel blows the socks off shortcrust.
While they might hail from the southern region of Cornwall, these are one of the most common (and delicious) pasties you'll find all over the UK. Unlike most pasties which tend to have quite a small amount of filling enclosed with excessive amounts of pastry, Cornish pasties tend to have a hearty amount inside. The filling usually consists of minced beef, potatoes, onions and swede, usually cut into chunks and flavored with a good amount of pepper.
A classic home-cooked meal you can usually find offered at the pub during Sunday lunchtime, This traditional Sunday staple usually features a spread of roasted vegetables, Yorkshire puddings, potatoes and the star of the show, some kind of roasted meat, often beef. After plating up, the dish is usually given a coating of gravy, the further north you go you'll often see the more gravy added, until it's virtually swimming in it. Don't fret though, if it's homemade and done right, you'll want as much as you can of this rich, meaty sauce as possible.
The perfect snack for on the go or to accompany a few drinks down at the pub, scotch eggs are best when using a soft-boiled egg which is wrapped in sausage meat, breadcrumbs and then baked or deep-fried. Avoid the ones sold in supermarkets and make sure to try them at a restaurant, cooked fresh and with well-made ingredients. These bad boys will have you craving more in no time.
Another beef filled pastry dish we can't do without, beef wellington really takes fillet steak up a notch. The meat is usually coated with a meat pâté, wrapped in puff pastry and then baked until cooked through and crispy on the outside. The dish is often difficult to cook perfectly, but some great renditions can be found in restaurants around the country.
A cream tea usually consists of a British tea like earl grey served alongside scones, jam and our personal favorite, clotted cream. If you've never tried clotted cream before then you're in for a treat. The rich, concentrated cream is out of this world. Paired with a dollop of fruity jam and spread over freshly baked scones and you have the perfect afternoon treat. You'll find cream tea cafes all across the country, we'd highly recommend trying one out.
Although the name might not quite be appetite-inducing, worry not as there are no actual toads in this dish. British comfort food at its best, most people growing up, especially in the north of England will reminisce of this childhood favorite. Toad-in-the-hole uses a base of Yorkshire pudding, another popular comfort food, with sausages thrown in and cooked in the middle. Often people will add onions and herbs to the mix too to ramp up the flavor. Drizzle some homemade onion gravy over the top and you have a delicious, comforting home-style dish.
While these are some of the more traditional dishes you can't miss out on, cities like London have fast become a gourmet paradise for foreign foods too, just make sure to do some prior research to find the top restaurants first. Be sure to try some of the British-Indian food you'll find all over the British Isles, cities like Birmingham and Manchester with its curry mile street have a huge scene for Indian food unrivaled in any city outside of South Asia.
If you're visiting anywhere on the coast such as Brighton, be sure to head to a fish and chip shop. You've probably tried it before, but it's always so much better and more famous in the coastal towns which usually use the freshest fish.