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8 "British" Foods No One Eats in Britain

Fish and chips? Yes. Those are popular in the UK. These foods? Not so much.

Here's a little experiment you can do that's both a spot of fun and also a wee bit woeful when you think about, but let's proceed: pull up Google (or your preferred search engine) and type in the words "British food is," then note the top hits that begin to auto-populate. Assuming your search history doesn't compromise the hits (you can use a private/incognito window) you will surely get results like:

British food is bad
British food is bland
British food is trash

And so on. Want even harsher phrasing? Lead with the search terms "Why is British food…"

Look, maybe the Brits can't go toe-to-toe with French, Japanese, Italian, or Mexican cuisine when it comes to unique, signature dishes and flavor profiles, but British food is better than its bad wrap. Or at least the nation has given the world a few dishes that deserve celebration, let's allow, such as Shepherd's Pie, the Scotch Egg, and of course the Full English Breakfast, via CNN. Full vindication? Maybe not, but at least some bright spots exist.

What tends to rarely exist, however, are these dishes and drinks, which you will almost never find on the menu at the pub (or any other type of restaurant) in Great Britain.


Cucumber sandwiches

cucumber sandwiches

A must-have at tea time meals in the Victorian and Edwardian Eras (meaning most of the 19th century and about the first decade of the 20th, for reference), as tea time is no longer a regular affair for most Brits, so too is cucumber sandwich no longer a common snack in Great Britain, according to Wise Geek. No one will look askance at you if you order one, but don't expect a morsel consisting of sliced cucumbers served between buttered slices of white bread to be ubiquitous.


Spotted Dick

spotted dick

Alright, get your giggles out, already. Spotted Dick is a traditional British dessert made with dried fruits, which make the "spots," and named "Dick" because of the shortening of the Old English word "puddick" (now pudding) according to British Food History. Once popular to eat, this oddly-named semi-sweet treat is now more popular for its mockable name.




Not only are most British people not eating haggis these days, but many of them don't even know what the stuff is. According to polling cited by Reuters, in a group of more than 1,620 British people surveyed, 18% of them thought haggis was an animal, not a dish of sheep offal cooked in the stomach of that same animal. Which is what it is, which yes, is off-putting. A further 15% thought haggis was an instrument. And a few thought it was a "Harry Potter" character.


Jam sandwich

jam sandwich

According to CKBK, the British jam sandwich used to be a traditional eat, but it's not so popular anymore. What is a jam sandwich? Just what it sounds like: it's a couple of slices of bread with a layer of jam or jelly slathered between. And sometimes with some butter in there, too.


Warm beer

unique beers

Ice cold beer might not be as common in Great Britain as it is in the United States, but don't think that means the beer served at a traditional UK pub is warm, despite the rumors, according to Trip Savvy. Most establishments serve beer chilled to cellar temperature, which is refreshing and not so cold as to mask the taste, and by the way, that's the right way to do it.

RELATED: These Are the 25 Worst Beers in the World




Why do so few people eat the unique, savory spread known as "vegemite" in Great Britain? Because contrary to common misconception, vegemite is Australian, not British. In Great Britain, marmite is the go-to yeast extract spread popular on toast. Or popular with some Brits, but reviled by just as many more, according to Perfectly Spoken.


Sherbet ice cream


Picture a serving of British sherbet, and you are almost surely imagining an orange-flavored ice cream dish, correct? Well, that's not what sherbet is, according to Wiki How. That's sorbet, and yes, sorbet is popular. But what is sherbet in Britain then? It's actually a powder—made with sugar and an array of flavorings—that is used to make drinks as often as it is mixed in with a frozen puree to make a sweet dessert treat.

RELATED: Old-Fashioned New England Dishes and Drinks That Are Still Popular


Steak and kidney pie

Steak and kidney pie

According to a Q&A thread on Quora, steak and kidney pie is hardly the staple dish it once was in the UK, but not because people soured on eating organs and offal, but rather out of safety concerns. During outbreaks of mad cow disease that were rampant in the later years of the 20th century, beef consumption, in general, took a hit, and some dishes never really recovered.

Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more about Steven