The Food of Britain -
The Best of British Cuisine from Tea to Pudding

You’ve most likely heard of afternoon tea, you’ve eaten fish and chips, and you may have even tried some bangers and mash, but what is it about English cuisine that fascinates us? This page will discuss some of the most popular dishes found around Britain, and some of the traditions that are part of English meal times.

Popular Foods and Beverages

Fish and Chips - One of the most popular food combinations in England is its fish and chips. There are a lot of restaurants and counter service shops that serve the battered and deep fried fish and French fries - which the British call chips. The meal originated as an affordable meal for the working classes around the mid 19th century. The first shop dedicated to serving the affordable meal opened in 1860 in London. The “chips” of England tend to be thicker than the French fries found in fast food chains around the United States. A variety of fish types are used to make the battered and fried fish portion of the meal. The most common types of fish used include haddock and cod, but other types of fish can be found around Britain. Many people in England add salt and vinegar to their fish and chips before eating.

Bangers and Mash - The mild sausages served in England are called “bangers” by people in England. They are different from a lot of the sausages found in the United States because they are very rarely dried, smoked, or strongly flavored. The are also today frequently made using only fresh premium meat varieties. The most common bases for bangers include beef and pork, but other types of meat can be used. Different types of bangers can be found around England in food shops and grocery stores. The most popular types of banger include the Lincolnshire - a pork sausage known for it’s use of sage, and the Cumberland sausage, a peppery pork sausage. The “mash” portion of “bangers and mash” consists of mashed potatoes. The food is frequently served with onion gravy.

Pudding - In the United States, we tend to only use the word “pudding” when talking about the instant kind that comes out of a box. In England, pudding is more or less just a word used to describe the dessert course of the meal. Some of the more popular types of “pudding” in England include bread and butter pudding, apple pie, spotted dick, and Christmas pudding. Apple pie is pretty well known in America, but a lot of American citizens haven’t tried Christmas pudding or spotted dick. Spotted dick is a steamed suet (fat) pudding with dried currents or other fruit. It’s usually served with a custard. Christmas pudding is usually only eaten on Christmas, as the name suggests, and is a dessert made with sweet spices, plums, and suet.

Beer and Cider - The first drink containing alcohol to be made in Britain was beer. The styles of beer in England include mild, bitter, old ale, and brown ale. In England, bitters are pale ales that range from gold to dark amber. They contain from 3 percent to 7 percent alcohol. A lot of people believe that beer in England is served at room temperature but this isn’t really true. The truth is that most beers served in the UK are actually served at cellar temperature, which is around 50 degrees.

Tea - In England, tea is one of the most popular hot beverages, making England one of the biggest per capita tea consuming countries. English tea is usually black tea and is served with milk and sugar. Tea in England began as a drink reserved only for the wealthy, but by the late 18th century was a drink enjoyed by all classes.


The food of England is considered by many people from other countries to be very bland, especially when compared to French or Italian dishes. Many people however don’t realize that in 2005, 15 restaurants in the UK made the list of the 50 best restaurants in the world according to Restaurant magazine.

More Information

For additional resources about British food, take a peek at the following websites: