While English food isn’t really all that adventurous (taste-wise), the names of dishes can be a little misleading. Common dishes include fried fish and french fries, known as fish and chips, or sausages and mashed potatoes, referred to as bangers and mash. Puddings and pies in the US are typically sweet desserts, while in the UK these terms are usually reserved for savory main courses. Other terms are so unique that there is no equivalent to an American meal. To help with meal planning here are some popular British meals decoded.
Know Your Nosh
Bedforshire Clanger – An elongated dumpling wrapped in caul fat with a savoury filling at one end and a sweet filling at the other comprising a main course and dessert in one package. Traditionally the top of the pasty is scored with a few lines to denote the sweet end. Similar but simply savory dishes are the Buckinghamshire Bacon Badger and Rag Pudding.
Black Pudding – Type of blood sausage (yep made with blood for binding). Typically made with pork blood and oatmeal. Can be served hot or cold, since it’s cooked in the production. The reference I have found to this dish suggests eating it with malt vinegar.
Bubble and Squeak – Traditional dish with fried leftovers from a roast dinner. Yep, that’s it. Once fried, the contents of the pan are mixed with mashed potatoes. The dish is so named because it makes bubbling and squeaking sounds during the cooking process. Some accounts call this dish similar to a hash but I can’t say I’ve ever had a hash like this…
Shepherd’s Pie By Vegan Feast Catering [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsCottage Pie – A beef pie with a mashed potato crush. This is one of my favorites. A similar dish is shepherd’s pie which substitutes the beef for mutton.
Deviled Kidneys – Victorian breakfast dish that consists of lamb kidneys cooked in a spiced sauce.
Game Pie – Simply a meat pie featuring game like partridge, pheasant, deer and hare. Some modern versions also use pigeon but sometimes classed up calling it squab. It’s still a pigeon.
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Jellied Eels – This is one that I just don’t think even my iron stomach could handle. Chopped eels are boiled in a spiced broth and then set out to cool. When the eels are set, they form a jelly that is eaten cold. (shiver)
Kippers – A whole herring that has been butterflied. The fish is gutted, salted or pickled and cold smoked. Typically a breakfast dish.
Lancashire Hotpot – A dish made traditionally with lamb and onions that have been set in a hotpot (traditional baking vessel) and left to back in an oven all day on low heat.
Pasty – A baked pastry filled with meat and potatoes. Oddly enough, this is a very popular dish in Montana. This is kind of like the English version of a Spanish empanada.
Stargazy Pie Credit Jonathunder [GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia CommonsStargazy Pie – A savory pie made of baked sardines, along with eggs and potatoes, covered with a crust. The unique feature of stargazy pie is fish heads (and sometimes tails) poking through the crust, so that they appear to be gazing skyward. While this baking method allows the oils released during cooking to flow back into the pie it makes for a very strange looking meal.
Scouse – A lamb or beef stew.
Stottie Cake – A type of bread that is known for being very doughy and dense after baking. Sometimes the bread itself is stuffed with ham, bacon and other breakfast meats. You can order this treat by asking for a Stottie.
Suet Pudding – NOT A DESSERT! The original version of this pudding was formed by mixing various ingredients with a grain product or other binder like butter, flour, eggs and/or suet (caul fat) resulting in a solid mass. These puddings are baked, steamed, or boiled (not adding to the unappetizing color of this dish). This is similar to Haggis which might make an appearance on Leg 3 when the Race heads to Scotland.
Toad in the Hole – Sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter (known in the US as popovers) and served with gravy.
Yorkshire Pudding – A simple batter that is baked like a muffin. The bottom of the tin is usually coated in beef drippings giving them a savory flavor. These are most similar to popovers in the US.