When talking about UK cuisine, the conversation often starts with fish and chips, afternoon tea or the devilish creations such as haggis and black pudding.
The food culture and tradition in the UK, including England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, varies in accordance with the products available and different appetites.
And as the UK was a giant of the sea, foods and spices were brought back from international trading and blended into the local cuisine, such as the spices from India.
The British Empire also picked up food traditions from the countries it colonized. Here are some iconic British dishes that best represent the British culinary traditions.
In the late Middle Ages, breakfast was established as the first meal of the day. Now, English breakfast is among the most notable breakfasts worldwide for the ideal combination of delicious, energy-packed ingredients.
A classic full English breakfast contains the key elements of bacon, eggs (fried, poached or scrambled), grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans and bread or hash browns.
In Northern Ireland, the breakfast also features black pudding made of pork fat, pork blood and oatmeal. The black pudding is served grilled, fried or baked.
The ideal companion to an English breakfast is a cup of tea.
Fish and chips
This iconic simple fast food combo has received tremendous love from people all over the world. When one runs out of meal ideas, fish and chips won’t disappoint.
The dish was created in the 19th century when fried fish was introduced to England. The batter mixes flour and beer. Cod and haddock are the more common choices of fish, while other white fish such as pollock and ray are also popular.
Fish and chips are traditionally served with lemon wedge and tartar sauce to balance the rich, fried food flavors with some acidity.
Originally, fish and chips were a meal for the working class and commonly wrapped with old newspapers, which has now been replaced with plain paper and cardboard due to the ink transfer.
Pies, sweet and savory, are important elements in British cuisine.
Cottage pie is a minced beef pie with top crust made of mashed potato. As a signature comfort food, the warm, hearty pie is especially suited for cold winters and enjoyed by families. When lamb or mutton is used, the pie is often called Shepherd’s pie.
Cornish pasty is a classic pie from Cornwall that’s filled with minced beef or steak, potato, onion and swede. The semicircular shape is the result of folding the circular pastry sheet.
The favorite sweet fruit pies include apple pie, rhubarb pie and blackberry pie.
An essential element in the traditional British Sunday roast, Yorkshire pudding is made from a simple batter of eggs, flour, milk or water that goes very well with the delicious roast beef and potatoes.
When cooked right, a freshly baked Yorkshire pudding is light and airy.
Now, there are more variations of the Yorkshire pudding like toad in the hole which includes sausages and is often served with gravy and vegetables.
One feature of British cuisine is the various ways to cook offal, like the Scottish Haggis made with sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, stuffed all together in the animal’s stomach.
Haggis is traditionally served at a Burns supper, the celebration of Scottish poet Robert Burns on his birthday, January 25.
In Scottish fast food restaurants, or chip shop, deep-fried haggis is sold with potato chips as a simple meal.
When “To Be a Better Man,” a Chinese TV drama series about the story of a chef, came out in 2016, one dish became famous in the country overnight — Beef Wellington.
But it has been around for a long time. It’s also the dish that has appeared many times on Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” TV show.
Beef Wellington is a hearty entry that wraps a beef filet, smeared with pate in puff pastry and then baked until the crust turns golden. When sliced open, the section shows clear layering of ingredients that are infused with flavors from the duxelles, a mushroom mixture in the stuffing.
Where to taste British in Shanghai
• glo London
This franchise serves some British dishes like the full English breakfast, afternoon tea, fish and chips as well as pizzas, salads and burgers.
Address: 1F, Plaza 688, 688 Nanjing Rd W.
• The Sailors
A restaurant and bar specializes in fish and chips. The classic dish is served on wood boards and its battered and fried sausage is also worth trying.
Address: 163 Yanping Rd
• Coquille Seafood Bistro
This restaurant serves Beef Wellington that’s made of beef sirloin and foie gras.