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Is British food as bad as people say?

Updated on August 6, 2013

Being born in the UK but spending the majority of my life overseas I commonly hear the same comments being made "English food is terrible". I will always ask people to explain what is so bad and examples of food they have eaten. Nobody really seems to be able to give me a concrete answer on the problem they have with English or British food. Eating fish and chips in a restaurant and not a proper "Chip Shop" is one of the first problems about tasting English food.
As I am from a Caribbean background I am used to eating exotic flavoured food however I wouldn't say that the average English dinner is terrible if cooked well. Plus, the majority of people who visit the UK are not even sure what the traditional dishes are.

Reason for people looking down on British food

Basically Traditional English food doesn't have the exotic taste, smell or appearance of other international cuisine that is available all around us. If you take for example typical dishes such as shepherds pie, cottage pie, lamb chops etc. they don't really stand out in terms presentation however if cooked by a good chief these dishes can be amazing and perfectly satisfying.

Many non-British have a large misconception about what the British eat daily. Fish and chips is definitely not a standard evening meal. It is more like a lunch or maybe for dinner if you are on the move and no time to prepare dinner. If foreigners are basing their criteria on fish and chips then of course there idea of British cooking will biased.

A lot of people simply go to the wrong places for English food. Tourists will more than likely go to easy to find well advertised expensive restaurants to eat, not all these places represent good English food.The best option would be to come to the UK on a home stay and experience family which with a decent cook. Or eat at local places in neighborhoods rather than the central of big cities or towns.

What do the English really eat?

The UK is so ethnically diverse that you can get almost any type of food. One of the favorites must be Indian curry. Due to the large Indian (and Pakistani) population in the UK you should be able to get curry anywhere and there are only a few British that don't like it. The same goes for Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Korean etc.
There are 100's and 1000's of people in the UK who are British by nationality but have parents from other countries, so it is very difficult to get accurate statistics unless you ask people what their ethnic backgrounds are.

Many Caucasians may have a typical Sunday roast as in the picture however you will find other nationalities eating similar food e.g. Afro Caribbeans, however they may add more rice or other spices to the dish.

Typical British Food

  • Roast Lamb - A very plain and simple dish, with carrots, sprouts and often cabbage. The lamb is often roasted without seasoning but Mince sauce is added afterwards. No stars for the appearance and presentation of this meal but if cooked well it is a good meal.
  • Roast Beef - Similar to roast Lamb but with beef instead. Also, people like to add a Yorkshire pudding with this meal, since it goes well with the gravy and beef. Yorkshire pudding hence the name is not a desert, it as a soft batter baked in the oven which is softened by gravy
  • Bangers and Mash - Most people just image sausage prodded into mash potatoes. However if cooked and prepared very well, it is a very good meal as you can see by the picture. Spices and chopped vegatables can be added to it to give it more kick.
  • Shepherds Pie - One of my favourite, A well baked Shepherds Pie will be a good representation of British food, especial when the Mashed potatoes are slightly burnt and crusted at the top.


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    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very well said. I like British food too. The Roast dinner and the British breakfast are my favourites. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      I'm glad to see someone is defending British food! I love bangers and mash, roast meats and Indian curries. I think sometimes a certain cuisine falls out of favor due to the whims of fashion.

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 5 years ago from Japan

      Thanks, it should be OK, if from a decent place. Nothing really spectacular though.

    • Magdaleine profile image

      Magdaleine 5 years ago

      I tried many kind of British food during my short holiday in UK. The taste was OK for me :)