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Food and drink in the UK

The UK offers its residents an appetising array of food and drink choices. Students from all over the world are attracted to the country because of its cosmopolitan landscape – a landscape that delivers a variety of culinary tastes, flavours, aromas, and ingredients.

The UK is a multicultural melting pot, so it is easy to find the food that you like to eat, and discover delicacies you never knew you liked eating. The country’s many cities, towns and villages provide an exotic array of intercontinental cuisine from Thai, to Malay, Mexican, Vietnamese, Italian, Portuguese, and Ukrainian.

In amongst all this variety, you can still find traditional British cuisine – from baked beans on toast to the famous British fry-up. This page will give you a little taster (no pun intended) of the edible delights that the UK offers.

Did you know? The world’s first chocolate bar was made in Britain!

The world’s first chocolate bar was made in Bristol in 1847 by Joseph Fry Ltd, a company that later merged with famous chocolatiers Cadbury.

 

Brits and their sandwiches!

As is the case in many countries around the world, sandwiches are a hugely popular food item in the UK.

But did you know that the term ‘sandwich’ came from the UK?

John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, was a prolific gambler; so to keep his hands clean whilst playing cards he would ask that his meat be put between two slices of bread. And, so the world’s most eaten convenience food was born.

Did you know? Tea is the most popular drink in Britain?

165 million cups of tea (also known as a ‘cuppa’) are drunk every day in Britain; this is 60.2 billion cups per year.
Did you know? Most people (98%) take their tea with milk, but only roughly 1 in 3 people (30%) put sugar in their tea.

Famous regional dishes: Yuk or yum?

The UK is a big place, so naturally you will find a selection of food items that people seem to either love or loathe. We’ve selected a few regional acquired tastes…

Jellied eels:
Jellied eels originated primarily in London’s east end. Chopped eels are boiled in stock, then left to cool to form a jelly. The dish is typically served in pubs, and eaten with vinegar and pepper.

Deep-fried Mars bars:
A Mars bar is a popular chocolate bar that the Scottish are famously known for covering in batter and deep-frying. This delicacy is typically sold in chip shops.

  

Haggis:
Made predominantly from sheep’s heart, liver, lungs, and oats, then stuffed in a sheep’s stomach; whilst it may not sound appetising, haggis is a firm favourite for many Scots.

Black pudding:
Whilst at first glance, this may look like chocolate, black pudding (sometimes referred to as blood pudding) is made from pigs blood and fat – another Scottish favourite.

Interesting UK food facts

The fry-up:

You must try a typical British fry-up: eggs (scrambled, poached, omelettes, sunny side up), bacon, sausages (also known as bangers), mushrooms, fried tomatoes, and baked beans.
Elevenses:

As the name suggests, elevenses is a morning snack taken around 11am – it typically consists of a cup of tea or coffee with some biscuits or cake.
Dinner:
Dinner is also often referred to as ‘tea’ or ‘supper’.

Traditional British dishes

Fish and Chips
Fish and chips are a mainstay of British cuisine. Cod, haddock, and or plaice are dipped in batter then deep-fried and then served with chips. Mushy or green peas and tartar sauce often accompany this dish.

Cottage Pie / Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s pie and Cottage pie – Neither of these dishes are pies in the traditional sense (pastries with a lid). They are essentially identical dishes: minced meat cooked with vegetables and topped with mashed potato. The difference lies in the meat that is used; minced lamb in the shepherd’s pie, and minced beef in a cottage pie.

How’s your sweet tooth?

The British love desserts (also known as puddings), so we’ve listed a few favourites that everyone should try!

Bakewell tart, roly-poly pudding, trifle, battenberg, victoria sponge, rice pudding, bread and butter pudding, English crumpets, sticky toffee pudding, and so on …

Mince Pies: Despite the name, minced pies do not contain any minced meat; rather, they are small pastry pies filed with dried fruit – traditionally eaten at Christmas time.

Spotted dick: A suet pudding traditionally served with custard

Simnel cake: An Easter fruitcake made with marzipan

Cream teas: Whilst this delight is enjoyed across the UK, it is in the West Country that cream teas are most famed. It consists of a warm scone filled with clotted cream and strawberry jam, oh and of course a pot of tea.

 

Where to find international food?

Food produce from a number of countries can be purchased in many towns and cities in the UK. There are a range of supermarkets (typically located on the outskirts of major cities) that sell global food products. Many high-streets (the name given to central shopping areas) are also known for selling international products.

Did you know?
International cuisine is extremely popular in the UK. Polls show that Indian curries are the nation’s favourite food.

The top three curries are:

(1) Jalfrezi
(2) Madras
(3) Rogan josh

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Source: The British Curry Club – Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/14253425

Source: The British Sandwich Association (BSA) – Available at: Sandwich News http://www.sandwichnews.com/sandwich-facts-and-trivia (Accessed May 2013)

Source: http://www.tea.co.uk/