What's On Your UK Menu?

17 March 2016

Great Britain may be making headlines these days with its penchant for fine dining decked out with Michelin Stars, but let's not forget where it all started. These dishes have stood the test of time, continuing to comfort with the familiar flavours of perfected recipes.

Capable of warming souls to the core at first bite or invoking memories of dinner tables past, they're the tasty traditional dishes put forth to represent entire nations.

Locals love them and every holiday-maker crossing the border must try them. Here's just a taste of Great Britain's traditional fare.

England

Breakfast

Full English

The full English breakfast is the mother of all early-morning eats, sure to fuel you for a full day of activities.

This brimming plate comes complete with bacon, eggs, grilled tomato, fried mushrooms, sausage, baked beans, and toast with butter. Serious English breakfast aficionados will also opt for the black pudding.

English Breakfast A traditional English Breakfast goes down well

Lunch

Fish ’n’ chips

Chicken tikka may have taken over as the most popular dish in England, but traditionalists will never stop loving good ol’ fish ’n’ chips.

There’s rarely an English menu that doesn’t offer some version of it. It’s as simple as battered fish fried to a crisp golden brown accompanied by thick-cut chips (with vinegar). Mushy peas if you must.

Steak and ale pie Once steak and ale pie please sir

Dinner

Steak and ale pie

British pubs take their traditional fare seriously, particularly the pies, which is why it’s the best place to tuck into a steak and ale pie, oozing with rich gravy.

Acceptable variations come with mushrooms, but generally speaking, it’s all about the beef – large, tender chunks that give way to your fork when you dig in for another delicious bite.


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Scotland

Breakfast

Full Scottish

Scotland offers its own tasty start to the day with the Scottish take on the full breakfast. Another gut-buster of a plate, it’s filled with bacon, eggs, link or Lorne sausage, baked beans, grilled tomato, mushrooms and toast with butter.

It’s not Scottish, though, until you add Scottish-style black pudding and a tattie (potato) scone.

Scottish Breakfast It ain't Scottish without black pudding

Lunch

Cullen skink

On a chilly day in Scotland (and there are a few), there’s nothing more comforting than a wee bowl of cullen skink.

This full-flavoured, hearty dish is a creamy soup made of smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. Some say it’s similar to a chowder, but it has a much smokier flavour and is traditionally served with bread.

cullen skink Cullen skink will warm your chest and soul

Dinner

Haggis, neeps & tatties

Haggis is the national dish of Scotland. Along with shortbread and whisky, it’s ingrained in the Scottish identity and features on nearly every restaurant menu in the country.

It comes in many forms – deep fried to fine dining – but it’s almost always accompanied by neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes).

Wales

Breakfast

Eggs and cockles

When it comes to the first meal of the day in Wales, you won’t find the usual full-breakfast suspects. The Welsh prefer cockles in the morning.

As with most dishes, everyone has their own recipe, but popular versions consist of sauteed cockle meat and leeks spooned over laver bread, accompanied by eggs and bacon.

Rarebit Try rarebit, a twist on a classic, while in Wales

Lunch

Welsh rarebit

If you love cheese on toast, you’ll love Welsh rarebit! No one really knows where the name came from, but this traditional Welsh dish takes the humble recipe to new, delicious heights.

Think along the lines of a luxurious, velvety cheese sauce spiced with mustard spread over a thick slice of bread and toasted until bubbly and golden.

Cawl Cawl provides a heart and patriotic dinner

Dinner

Cawl

Cawl is the national dish of Wales. It’s a traditional stew that features potatoes, swedes, carrots and other seasonal veggies.

As far as the meat goes, the traditional variations used salted bacon or beef, but more modern takes have adopted lamb and leeks. No matter how you try it, it’s a hearty dinner guaranteed to satisfy any appetite.


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Carlie Tucker

Travelling is for discovering the unexpected. From fantastic meals in ramshackle joints to stumbling upon a best kept secret, I love those fortuitous travel moments that couldn't be planned if I tried.