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U.K.Foods

Are there any foods we should avoid while in Ireland, Scotland and the London areas. Hagas etc.

Posted by
237 posts

Why would you want to avoid haggis? After a couple weeks in Scotland and many servings of haggis my biggest complaint was that is it actually a little bland. Try everything and avoid things you discover you don't like. The UK is way ahead of the US in terms of food sourcing information and even BnBs will usually tell you where each of their items come from. Ingredients are usually sourced locally and with a fair amount of pride - especially in rural areas. Personally, I don't see the point of going somewhere intending to avoid the local experience. My US$.02,
=Tod

Posted by
922 posts

This may not bother you, but you'll never catch me in the same room with a Black Pudding (blood sausage). :)

Posted by
1832 posts

If you are skeptical about the food I would suggest you take a supply of MREs in checked baggage. Haggis is good if you are extremely curious.

Posted by
5669 posts

Here's what I would avoid--Lasagna in pubs. It's atrocious. Otherwise try it all! Pam

Posted by
6334 posts

No worries. McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Subway can be found across the pond. You'll be fine.

Posted by
4683 posts

Personally, I avoid the soft-serve "ice cream" with the Cadbury flake that seems to be pervasive in resort towns and parks ... but only because I think it tastes completely artificial. I like real ice cream but not this stuff. Seriously, a lot of people seem to think that British food is all offal and jellied eels. It isn't. If there is something you don't care for you can easily avoid it. There will be plenty of things on the menu that you recognize. There may be some items on the menu that you don't recognize and if you see these, you can always ask your server. Some might be dishes that are uniquely British (e.g. Bangers and Mash, Bubble and Squeak, Spotted Dick, etc.) Others may be things where the British English name is different from the American English name (e.g. rocket, courgette, aubergine, etc.)

Posted by
3428 posts

I enjoy many British dishes. Shepherd's Pie (ground lamb, carrots, onions, peas, celery, and other veggies with gravy under a mashed potato crust), Cottage pie (same as shepherd's but with ground beef), Steak and Ale pie (chunks of beef, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and gravy made with good ale under a pastry crust), Sunday Roast (roasted beef, pork or chicken served with potatoes and veggies, sometimes with Yorkshire pudding- a pastry crust type side dish, and gravy), Bangers and Mash (sausages and mashed potatoes) and Hubby LOVES the fish and chips (chips are French Fries, and they call 'our chips' crisps and offer them in MANY flavors you'd never see here). Also try Cadbury chocolates! Get fresh fruit at a market stall and pick up a sandwich at Pret A Manger or Marks and Spencer's Food Hall or Boots the Chemist for lunch. They often have great deals that include a drink and crisps. Get REAL Scottish shortbread (we like McVittes' brand or try some homemade/house made). Rocket is a kind of lettuce, courgett is zucchini, and aberguine is egg plant. Ham is called gammon. What they call bacon we'd call thin ham (lots less fat than ours). What we call bacon, they'd call streaky bacon. Breakfast can be an experience- they often serve baked beans and grilled tomatoes! Black pudding is a kind of blood sausage. White pudding is also a kind of sausage- but not sure what kind. They call appetizers entrees, they call the main dish 'mains', and desserts are usually called afters or puddings (even if they are cakes, pies, etc.). Lollies are suckers Ice Lollies are popsicles. Candy is 'sweets'. For more details about British slang and food check out this website
http://www.effingpot.com/slang.shtml

Posted by
964 posts

Have to agree with Pamela about pub lasagne!! One thing you should try is Sticky Toffee Pudding. With custard. And also fish and chips, but from a proper chippy (i.e. a dedicated Fish and Chip shop).
But don't blame me when your waistband gets tight ;-)

Posted by
31465 posts

Terry, You'll probably find that most of the foods there are quite acceptable, albeit in some cases somewhat different. Feel free to try Haggis is you're curious, but there's nothing wrong with choosing more "traditional" fare. I agree with Rose - I really enjoy the "Full English Breakfast" but draw the line at Black Pudding. Although I know it's not good for my waistline, I also quite enjoy the fried bread that's sometimes served with breakfast in England. If you want to try Black Pudding, go ahead. If you want to see all the gritty details about it, have a look at this website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_pudding I've found the quality of food in the U.K. and Ireland to be excellent. I'm especially fond of Fish & Chips with mushy Peas, accompanied by a pint of Guinness. I also agree with a previous comment - you may have to let your belt out a few notches. Happy travels!

Posted by
922 posts

I think you will be surprised to discover how great the food actually is. I've never eaten better sweets - the moistest cakes - and so much variety. A proper English 'fry-up' breakfast is amazing - minus the Black Pudding of course - though James Ramsden, food writer for The Guardian calls it 'a national disgrace' because of the astonishing fat and salt content. It's a good thing many British people get out and walk a lot.

Posted by
1068 posts

Actually, I suggest that you TRY the haggis! :-) It's a lot like meatloaf, frankly. It is in fact the same concept - minced meat, grain, and seasoning. It can be really, really tasty. Blood sausage is wonderful - it's standard if you order a "full English" breakfast. I also like it sliced into about quarter inch thick slices, fried, and served on a thick slice of toast with a little mayo and a slice of fresh tomato. Too bad you aren't going to Wales... the laver bread (boiled sea veggies) and cockles is a traditional breakfast - usually served with bacon, mushrooms and sausages for the full-on porky meaty goodness quotient. Sweet, sweet cockles... briny and fresh... mmmmm.... British food has been undergoing a rather incredible renaissance for the past 15 years or so (maybe longer?). Some of the most creative chefs in the world today are working in London. And the farm-to-table movement has revitalized public markets - the fresh produce, artisan cheeses and locally sourced meats are amazing. I think you'll find that if you travel - and eat when traveling - with an open mind, you will have a much better experience. Happy haggis!

Posted by
875 posts

It may have changed for the better in the last few years, but I'd say play it safe and avoid Garfunkel's restaurants. Yuck! There are hundreds of better places to eat.

Posted by
11450 posts

Why would you worry about what to avoid,, are you really that nervous about food. If millions of people eat something you don't, can't you give it the benefit of a try, you might be missing out on something great.

Posted by
3453 posts

I absolutely agree with Pat !! We had marmite when we were in the UK and were surprised to find that it was made from the meat of large ground squirrels that live in the Berner Oberland ;-) As for Haggis ,I grew up eating the NYC version , It's called " Kishka " .

Posted by
964 posts

Michael- you're not eating in the right places! ;-)

Posted by
484 posts

Black Pudding - I tried one slice with breakfast. It tastes a bit like liver.
If it's on a buffet, you can brave one piece as I did. I would not buy a full order of it without sampling it first. Sticky toffee pudding is great! There are different versions of it and they are all excellent. Scotland is good for salmon and beef. The funny, hairy cows make good eating. Ginger beer is very good. Beats Canada Dry. (Crabbie's Brand)

Posted by
922 posts

Try a bottle of icy cold Bulmer's Cider. Very refreshing on a warm summer day.

Posted by
2982 posts

I loved both black and white pudding. The black pudding doesn't taste like blood at all (some other variations of blood sausage found elsewhere in Europe do). Ate really well in both London and Dublin. Lots of gastropubs and gourmet burger shops.

Posted by
521 posts

Black Pudding - I tried one slice with breakfast. It tastes a bit like liver. If it's on a buffet, you can brave one piece as I did. I would not buy a full order of it without sampling it first. It's not the kind of thing that anyone would normally eat by the plateful. An English breakfast might include one or two slices of it, but alongside 2 rashers of bacon, 2 sausages, mushrooms, eggs, hash browns, beans, grilled tomato, toast or fried bread. And tea, strong enough that a mouse could trot across the top of it (as my wife says).

Posted by
993 posts

Terry, Ask us what time it is and we'll tell you how to build a clock. Avoid Nothing. I try everything...once. These days I'll tell my landlord not to give me black or white pudding (just in case they were going to.) Also a lot of B&B's don't use the best quality sausage so if I'm there for one breakfast I'll give it a miss. If I'm there for more than one I'll have it the first morning and then usually give it a miss after that. I like Haggis but never want to know the recipe.
If anything I've learned not to have Chinese food in Scotland. I never met a scone, well maybe those in Tintagel, or a sticky toffee pudding, or a bangers and mash I didn't like.

Posted by
922 posts

Just occurred to me - if you heard about the scandal over horsemeat DNA possibly containing 'bute' (Phenylbutazone, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory used to treat horses and other animals) being found in meat products in the UK... There was such a huge to-do over it, the risk of it happening again any time soon is probably slim to none.

Posted by
4684 posts

Never, ever eat anywhere in London that refers to itself as a "Steak House".

Posted by
2658 posts

I agree completely with Pat, why worry about what to avoid. If something doesn't look good or sound good to you, then don't have it. I enjoy the food in the UK, go with an open mind.

Posted by
970 posts

Avoid the same foods you avoid at home. Otherwise, chow down.

Posted by
964 posts

Ah, Michael, an airport restaurant- well, now I understand. Sympathy!

Posted by
970 posts

Ah, yes, heed Phillip's advice about "Steak Houses".

Posted by
312 posts

Avoid anything? But then you may lose out on a special trip memory :-) The fish & chips were fine, but when I arrived late one evening and saw 'hamburger' on the menu, okay, I'll try that ... umm, never again, lol, not at a fish & chip shop. It was a deep fried, batter dipped meat patty. Go, eat, enjoy .. and come back and tell us all the good, the bad, and the never again! Cheers. PS: Don't miss the Gü Puds (yum!), and if you like this sort of drink, Fentimans ginger beer is what I look forward to on my next trip!

Posted by
2349 posts

As a general rule in Europe and Canada, avoid food that is billed as "American" or "Southern" because it won't be. You may find canned corn on a pizza, or BBQ with no flavor or heat.