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What British People REALLY Eat

Image representing what British people eat


British food has a terrible reputation around the world. People often think it is either boring, or greasy and unhealthy.

In the past, this was probably true. Many British people would only eat things like toast or cereal for breakfast, a plain cheese or ham sandwich for lunch and meat with two types of boiled vegetable or potatoes with lots of salt for dinner. They wouldn’t be very adventurous with their food, try new flavours or add unusual spices or chillies to their food!

Of course, in many other European countries like France, Spain or Italy, families also eat simple meals of things like bread, cheese, cured meats or pasta with just a few ingredients. The difference is that in these countries, people tend to expect much higher quality food, and so this would be really delicious bread, cheese, meat, pasta and other ingredients.

On the other hand, in the UK, when people had a cheese sandwich, this would often be made with cheap white bread and bland (meaning there is not much flavour) Cheddar cheese. No wonder people from other countries thought British food was tasteless!

But things have changed a lot in the UK today. You only have to turn on one of the dozens of popular cooking programmes on TV to realise that British people’s tastes are much more varied than they used to be. More and more people regularly use recipes or spices from Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa… you name it.

In fact, two of the most popular types of food in Britain are Chinese and Indian. Until recently, the country’s favourite dish was chicken tikka masala, but this has now dropped down to the second most popular. The number one choice is now a Chinese-style stir fry!

There are many Thai, Mexican, Italian and Vietnamese restaurants all over the UK, too – and Korean and Peruvian food is becoming more and more popular.

In many towns and cities, Japanese sushi is a popular choice for lunch. Many food markets and street stalls sell everything from Caribbean dishes like Jerk chicken and rice & peas to Argentinian empanadas, Spanish paella, Moroccan tagine and Lebanese falafel and hummus. And for many people, no night out is complete without a 3am visit to a Turkish kebab shop!

But what about traditional British food?

Many classic dishes and snacks are still eaten on a regular basis. For example, you can see things like Cornish pasties, crumpets with butter, oatcakes, Scotch eggs (hard boiled eggs covered in pork and breadcrumbs) , bangers and mash (sausages with mashed potato), Welsh Rarebit (creamy cheese on toast) and pork pies sold all over the country.

In particular, fish and chips with plenty of salt and vinegar, curry sauce and mushy peas is very popular. Many people look forward to a full English breakfast at the weekend, with fried eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns, tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, toast and a cup of tea – or the Scottish version, which includes a potato scone, black pudding and sometimes even haggis.

And then, of course, there is the famous Sunday roast. This usually involves roast meat, such as beef, lamb or chicken, with Yorkshire puddings, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables like carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, and plenty of gravy. Although it’s called roast “dinner”, families would traditionally eat this as a late lunch on Sundays. Many pubs and restaurants also serve Sunday roasts.

Last but not least, the UK has many wonderful dessert and cake recipes that are just as popular as ever. Treats like sticky toffee pudding, Scottish shortbread, Chelsea buns, Bakewell tart, apple crumble, Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle cake and scones with plenty of jam and clotted cream are all delicious – and much loved by British people and visitors, too!

What’s your favourite British food? Let us know in the comments section below!