Boiled cabbage. Fish and chips. Bangers and mash. This may be what you think of when you think of English cuisine (it’s what Christine thinks of, along with treacle tarts from Harry Potter), but English food has many variations and twists, many of them delicious. The chipperies (I think they’re called) are still popular, but the Indian restaurants are far busier and there are ethnic restaurants all over. There are homegrown gems and wonderful selections of almost everything from within the EU (hooray for broken-down trade barriers!) Here are a few things I found that left me wanting more English food (I bet you never thought you’d hear that phrase!)
Alright, first off, first day, first lunch. Toad in a hole. What? Garret ordered this. Adventurous guy! Sausages in a batter/bread ‘container’ with gravy on top and potatoes on the side. It was actually pretty tasty. Good choice, Garret!
Baked potatoes also made their first appearance at that first meal, though it wouldn’t be their last. They love their potatoes here, ever since they came over from South America many centuries ago (well, they started there, anyway). Mashed on the side, chips with their fish, and baked. The baked potatoes, however, aren’t a side here, they are a meal in themselves. Covered in toppings – cheese and bacon, veggies, and whatever else you may want – they are guaranteed to fill one up.
I saw these again when I was in Scotland. A restaurant in Edinburgh served only baked potatoes with almost any topping you can imagine on it. I had chicken salad. Chicken salad! On a baked potato! It was crazy. And filling. I certainly did not want anything else after that.
Ham steak. Ham steak? Yeah, it’s a piece of ham covered with two eggs and some cheese. (I believe Adam requested the removal of the piece of pineapple that is included and the inclusion of the second egg.) With fries on the side. Don’t worry, the salad balances it all out. The picture was taken in Scotland, but you can easily find these on English menus as well.
Cornish pasties were a yummy snack that reminded me of empanadas not only in their design but in their range of flavours. The one shop in London where I bought this had Steak & Ale, Cheese and Bacon, Traditional Steak (I got this, might as well go with tradition!), Cheese & Mushroom, Beef & Stilton, Lamb & Mint, Spicy Chicken, and Spicy Vegetable. Not as cheap as empanadas, but just about as healthy and still quite a nice tasty treat!
It’s impossible to be in England and not have some Indian food. It is the most popular type of food, after all. To be honest, the Indian that I had was not the best Indian that I’ve ever eaten. The restaurant was nice, though, and it was still good stuff. I’m sure there is amazing Indian in England, I’d just rather try other things. Indian is becoming one of those kinds of foods that is available almost anywhere. No one exports English cuisine (well, most of it, anyway).
If all of these pictures are making your heart want to either jump out of your chest or stop beating (both due to cholesterol and the like), you can take heart (ahhahahaha I kill me) in the fact that one can also eat healthily here. I was staying in Oxford and the Oxford market opened every Wednesday and offered a wonderful selection of vegetables, meats, cheeses (oh, the cheeses! I’m salivating just writing about them now), olives, dips, art, and other fun and delicious stuff. We partook of the edible treasures that were found within when we could.
Stay tuned for more food from this side of the world.