Traditional food you absolutely MUST try while in England!

Cornish pasty

Now you’ll become aware that we like giving stupid names to food, from bangers and mash, bubble and squeak, afternoon tea to toad in the hole! Don’t worry, I’ll explain it all. Here’s my list of traditional food you absolutely MUST try while in England!



  • Fish & Chips

Fish and chips

Battered fish and fried chips are English food royalty! They genuinely taste better eaten out of paper and sitting on the seafront. Whatever you do, don’t forget the mushy peas!


  • Roast Dinner

Roast dinner christmas dinner

Typically served on Sunday, a roast dinner consists of a roast joint (pork, lamb, beef), roast potatoes, a range of vegetables, stuffing and yorkshire puddings! Yorkshire puddings are a made from a batter and are a must have for a roast dinner. You can’t have a pork joint without apple sauce, or a lamb joint without mint sauce. I may be drooling thinking about it…

Roast dinner is also served for Christmas day with extra additions of brussel sprouts, pigs in blankets (pork sausages wrapped in bacon) and cranberry sauce.


  • English Breakfast – also known as a fry up!

[Image from Christian Kadluba]

Perfect for a hangover or after a morning lie in. Including sausages, bacon, fried or scrambled egg, mushrooms, baked beans, fried tomato and partially cold toast with butter. You may find other components such as hash browns and black pudding make an appearance too. The greasier the better and if it’s served in a cafe – not the French posh cafe type, but a builders greasy cafe pronounced caff – you can guarantee a proper traditional fry up.


  • Bangers and Mash

bangers and mash

Now this is a favourite for one my Lithuanian friends since moving to England. Bnagers and mash is quite simply, creamy buttery mashed potatoes piled in the middle of the plate with sausages served on top. Best served with onion gravy which is poured over the top filling up the moat of the bangers and mash castle.


  • Toad in the Hole

Toad in the Hole[Image from Blue Dot Creations]

Another funnily named Old English traditional dinner, Toad in the Hole in essentially Yorkshire Pudding with sausages in served in a massive tray with gravy. Mmmmmmm…

  • Beef Wellington

Beef wellington[Image from Arlen Tees]

This tasty steak dish involves beef steak wrapped in pate and duxelles (a paste mixture of mushrooms, onions, shallots and herbs) and then wrapped in puff pastry and baked. It’s normally served with potatoes and vegetables.


  • Sandwiches

Sandwiches[Image from Marco Verch]

The English are famed for our love of sandwiches, we eat 11 billion of them a year! You are pretty much guaranteed to find anything in a sandwich. I’m not joking, some of the classics include cucumber sandwich, smoked salmon, cheese salad, egg salad, roast beef and horseradish, cheese and pickle (Jack’s all-time favourite), roast chicken salad, egg and watercress, chicken and bacon, chicken and sweetcorn, prawn mayonnaise, tuna sweetcorn mayonnaise, ham and cheese, a BLT (aka: bacon lettuce and tomato), ham and mustard, cheese and tomato, cheese and onion…

I think you get the point.

Wait! One more: at Christmas you can buy Christmas dinner in a sandwich!


  • Cornish Pasty

Cornish pasty[Image from Wendy House]

Shortcrust pastry in a circle half filled with meat and vegetables and folded over and sealed to make a semi-circle with crimped thick edges. This English favourite now has protected geographical indication status.

Originally made for the men in the mines, the thick edge allowed them to eat food without putting their dirty hands in their mouths. The crust was then left and not eaten. You could also get two course pasties, with a main course meat and veg in one side and a pudding in the other.


  • Pies – traditional English pies

English Pie[Image from Chris Salt]

Pies! What is not to love about a pie! There’s savoury pies and sweet pies (but we’ll talk about them when we get to deserts) and all of them are yummy. Most savoury pies have a thick crust pastry with different meat insides, from chicken, mushroom and leek, steak and kidney, game pie, or if you want to add a little bit of a twist, pick up a gala pie, a meat pie with a hard boiled egg in the middle.

Then just to confuse you, you can also get fish pie, shepherds pie and cottage pie which is the filling topped with mashed potato and baked. We English love using the same name for multiple things even though their different just to confuse everyone else!


  • Crumpets

Crumpets[Image from J Mark Dodds]

A savoury cake made from flour and yeast, grilled and traditionally served warm with a knob of butter. You can serve them with other modern toppings such as marmite, jam or peanut butter.  I like them with melted cheese, but most people think that’s weird.


  • Bubble and Squeak

Bubble and squeak[Image from Mot]

Traditionally served the day after a roast dinner or Christmas dinner, bubble and squeak is essentially potato served with all of the leftover vegetables and shallow friend.


Now there are two types of tea-related-rituals you can get in England which do not mean that you just get a cup of tea, or more correct pronounced ‘cuppa tea’.

  • Afternoon Tea (also known as high tea)


Afternoon Tea[Image from Sally]

This is for the upper class and royalty to act as a mini-meal in between lunch and dinner as they were far too far apart. Served in a layered plate stand and consisting of sandwiches cut into fingers (rectangles), mini sweet pastries and cakes and scones with jam and clotted cream. That’s right, you guessed it, it’s all washed down with tea.

There are lots of restaurants and hotels up and down the country where you can go for afternoon tea. You will also find that most of the high end hotels will serve you afternoon tea with a glass of champagne alongside the tea.


  • Cream Tea

Cream tea

A tradition dating back to the 11th century, cream tea is scones served with jam and clotted cream with lots of helpings of tea.

You should split the scone in two and then layer on the jam and clotted cream. Depending on where in the country you eat them, make sure that you do it correctly. In Devon you add the cream first, then the jam. In Cornwall you add the jam first then the cream. Got it? They take it very seriously.


Now with all of the above, this is not to say that you shouldn’t eat other food while you’re in England. We have some of the most diverse high streets when it comes to food. You can pretty much guarantee an Indian, a Chinese and an Italian and they make some cracking food too!

Let me know what your favourite English foods are or what you’re looking forward to trying on your trip in the comment box below!

Make sure you check out my post of traditional puddings or desserts you absolutely MUST try while in England!


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Traditional food you absolutely MUST try while in England; from bangers and mash, bubble and squeak, afternoon tea to toad in the hole.

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