After visiting the UK, I initially left unimpressed with what seems to be the least flavourful of the European cuisines. With Italy’s pizza, Spain’s tapas, and France’s pastries as contenders, it took nearly 12 months of living in the UK to find the truly gastronomic gems… and they aren’t fish ‘n’ chips.
No country does breakfast like the Brits
A Full English is the epitome of morning meals, the mecca of breakfasts, the shrine for brunch-lovers everywhere, and something you have to try during a stay in the UK.
What it is: Scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes, toast, baked beans, black pudding, and occasionally hashbrowns. All served with HP sauce (also called brown sauce), ketchup, and tea or coffee.
Where to find it: Most pubs and cafes serve Full English breakfasts… just check the menu outside.
How to eat it: Challenge yourself to stack a bit of each thing onto your fork, coat it in HP sauce, and enjoy.
Cost: Even though you get an incredible amount of food, the prices usually are very reasonable, ranging from £7 to around £15 per person.
Tea in the afternoon
Pinkies up, please. This prim-and-slightly-posh pastime is as much an experience as a delicious meal. A proper afternoon tea can last up to 3 or 4 hours and is meant for catching up and enjoying time with your companions.
What it is: A three-tiered tray and plenty of tea. The bottom row is finger sandwiches, with classics including smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise, and cucumber. The second tier is my favourite part, the warm and delicious scones. The top tier will be filled with sweet dessert bites.
Where to find it: Hotels are good place to look, as many serve afternoon tea in their restaurants starting around 2 or 3 pm. Some individual restaurants and cafes also have afternoon tea.
How to eat it: Eat from the bottom upward and drink as much tea as possible. Classic teas include English breakfast and Earl Grey. Find my full explanation of afternoon tea for more information.
Cost: You can find teas that cost as much as £100 per person, but there are more reasonable options in London from around £20 or £22 per person as well.
Cornwall’s version of afternoon tea
For a smaller (and sometimes preferred) version of the above, you can pop in to a pub in London or the south of England for a Cream Tea. Basically, you get the best bits of an afternoon tea (the scones, complete with clotted cream and jam, and the tea) without the sandwiches or desserts.
The scones tend to be huge and extremely filling, and of course, delicious. This type of tea is native to the southern English county of Devon, but can occasionally be found elsewhere. It is a way to enjoy the English tradition without the large price tag and pretense.
You can find the two final tasty dishes in part II. For now, we’d love to hear your UK favs below in the comments.
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