Living in England gives me a pretty fair advantage when it comes to this list of 1000 foods to eat that are British and Irish before you die. I have currently tried 10 out of the 63 recommended food items. Listed below is my current list of foodcomplishments:
A long standing tradition that dates back to the nineteenth century. Afternoon tea isn’t your sweet tea or iced tea. The best kind is a loose leaf tea similar to what you would have purchased at Teavana in the U.S. In the U.K. my favorite tea company is Whittard’s and their tea combinations are wicked. A more formal tea where you go out will also typically provide various tea options to include the famous Earl Grey and breakfast tea. Most afternoon teas include a serving of biscuits with clotted cream and jam. If you go to the right place, you might get lucky and check three things off your list. To see my afternoon tea recommendations click here.
Bangers and Mash
Bangers and Mash sounds pretty gnarly and if you get the right one it tastes pretty gnarly too. Simply put it’s sausage and mashed potatoes but the former sounds much better. The most common meat used for sausage is pork but don’t be dismayed, there are other types available for those who don’t eat swine. The most common sausage used is the Cumberland banger (sausage) but you could really get fancy and use any sausage. One of my favorites is a chicken and sage banger it definitely speaks to the savory side of me. One of the best places to get a bangin’ Bangers and Mash is at The George located at 2 High Street Spaldwich, Huntingdon UK PE28 0TD.
Black Pudding Hash
It looks just as appetizing as it sounds. So crazy little tidbit here, my daughter has a computer game called crazy café. One of the levels had a British breakfast and it included making a plate of black pudding hash, beans, eggs and mushrooms. I know some of you are wondering who thought up that combination. During the war food became scarce and well we know how that goes. I don’t know how it works but it works. So fast forward to us living in England and guess what is included in the traditional English Breakfast…you guessed it Black Pudding Hash. I was reluctant at first but you know what sometimes you have to eat in the moment. So to date the best Black pudding hash I’ve had has been at Johnson’s Farm in Huntingdon, UK.
These are your Pillsbury biscuits although a good southern biscuit is great. English biscuits are more of a biscotti texture. To Americans the closest thing to a biscuit would be shortbread biscotti I suppose. Many biscuits are served with cheese as they are sturdy enough to support a good brie with a nice chutney. That’s they way I eat them at least.
If you ever have the pleasure of making it to London or if you live in the UK and have not made it to London. Let me be the first to go on record and say visit the Borough Market. There is almost something for everyone there. I’ve had some amazing Paella, Ethiopian Food and Mushroom Risotto. It is set up food market style so you are free to roam from vendor to vendor and chose whatever is speaking to your soul.
My only recommendation is get there early and if you have a fear of crowd’s this isn’t the venue for you. It is literally shoulder to shoulder on Saturdays. The typical hours are 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, although Monday and Tuesday there are limited vendors.
The book describes clotted cream as the cream of raw milk that is left for 12 hours and then scalded. It’s so hard to describe but it reminded me of whipped butter the very first time I tried it. It is usually accompanied with strawberry jam and scones. The clotted cream at St. Ermin’s Hotel Tea Lounge is pretty darn good.
Fish and Chips
The signature dish of England is pretty much fish and chips. Any pub you go into will most likely have fish and chips as a staple on the menu. Chips for the record are what American refer to as fries except they are chunky so we would probably consider them almost wedges. The fish is commonly Haddock, Whiting or Cod and is usually covered in a light batter. If you are fortunate the fish will be fried well enough that it isn’t drenched in grease. Drip a little lemon juice over that bad baby and Bam you are on the money. If you are in the area the fish and chips at the Duke of Cambridge is definitely worth a stop.
If you like peas you may be turning your head ever so slightly at the thought of mushy peas. If you don’t like peas I’m sure you are asking yourself how did this make it on the British and Irish 1000 foods to eat before you die list. Well, the short answer is mushy peas are a British thing and hopefully I can convince you to give them a try. They are made using fresh early peas and usually mushed with some butter. Most of the peas lack salt so be sure to add salt and pepper to give them a good flavor. My favorite mushy peas to date have been mint mushy peas served at one of my favorite places the Brampton Mill.
Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
Sunday Roast is a thing in England and perhaps throughout Europe. Roasts can be roast beef, pork or chicken and they are usually accompanied with Yorkshire Pudding. I’m sure almost everyone growing up has had at least one Sunday Roast fresh out of Grandma’s kitchen. There really is not much different in American Roasts and English Roasts. What is different is Yorkshire Pudding. The name is deceiving as it is not pudding at all. It’s actually a puffy egg bread that baked and sometimes braised with roast drippings then covered in gravy. Currently, my favorite place to have Sunday Roast and Yorkshire Pudding is at the Brampton Mill in Huntingdon.
I added scones to my list because well they are quintessential of afternoon tea. If they are homemade the texture is a bit wonky but man oh man a warm English scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam will make your taste buds do the happy dance. Scones are often accompanied with clotted cream and served with Afternoon Tea as mentioned above. Best scone to date I ate at Betty Bumbles Vintage Tea Room.
Scotch eggs are essentially a boiled egg incased in a meat such as ham or pork sausage. It is then breaded and deep fried. If I know what thing, I know deep fried foods are good. Due to the small nature of an egg, it makes a great appetizer. I’ve only tried them once and that was at the café at Sandringham palace and they were good. I know there are some amazing scotch eggs out there and I’ll keep searching until I find the best ones.
If you’ve tried any of these dishes already let me know what you think. Is there anything on the list that isn’t already there? Also, be sure to check back for more additions to the list of British and Irish 1000 foods to try before you die as I continue to explore more food. Be sure to check out the master list here for an overview of all the regions.