9 Strange British Foods

Julia Child, the chef who brought French food to middle America, famously said, ‘People who love to eat are always the best people.’ And we definitely agree. The British love their food and love to eat! Unlike the French, the British aren’t usually known for their food, but this reputation is doing them a disservice. After all, Britain is incredibly varied and multicultural. There are over 7,000 languages in the world, and we would bet most of them are spoken in London. Each of these languages has their own culture, and each of these cultures bringsin new and beautiful foods, which the British wholeheartedly embrace.

But alongside Lebanese food, Cantonese food and Basque food, and many other cultural imports, there are also some really odd ‘traditional’ dishes in the U.K. We’ve tasted them all! Here are a few we enjoyed (or were surprised by) the most.

Mushy Peas

We Aussies love a hot plate of mashed potatoes on a cool winter night. However, Brits take this to the next level with their love of mushy peas. Mushy peas are made with dried marrowfat peas, which have been soaked overnight then boiled with sugar and salt to form a green mush. This side dish is traditionally served with fish and chips. If you don’t mind eating offal, mushy peas also go well with steak and kidney pudding. Strangely delicious!

Potted Shrimps

If you love seafood, you must give potted shrimps a try. This traditional dish is made with brown shrimps that are preserved in nutmeg-flavoured butter and stored in a glass jar. It’s typically served with wholemeal toast and sometimes a bit of cayenne pepper. This British delicacy can be found on menus at some of the U.K.’s best restaurants and was a favourite of Ian Fleming, who passed on his love to his fictional creation James Bond. Be as adventurous as 007 and give potted shrimps a go!

Toad in the Hole

Some dishes deserve an exotic name! This one, which consists of sausages baked into a Yorkshire pudding batter, is definitely one of these. Though it may not sound (or look) particularly appetising, it’s delicious — especially when served with plenty of gravy. Toad in the hole has been enjoyed in Britain at least since the 17th century when the first recipes appeared. Centuries of British cooks have enjoyed making this dish (and eating it too)!


Small edible sea snails aren’t for everyone, but they’re a popular snack in British coastal towns, where they’re more commonly known as winkles. Simply boiled and served with vinegar and salt, or garlic butter if you prefer, the taste is similar to a clam and has a lovely inviting texture. If you are travelling through the U.K. you absolutely must give it a go.

Scotch Eggs

Scotch eggs may look unusual to some Aussies, but they are a signature snack in most British pubs. A hard-boiled egg is encased in sausage meat before the whole thing is rolled in breadcrumbs and baked or deep-fried. If you make them at home, serve them with a piece of cheddar cheese and some pickled cucumbers and onions. Jamie Oliver describes this as ‘heaven!’ Yum!


This is considered a Welsh delicacy and is made from edible laver seaweed that is traditionally collected along the Welsh coastline. Once the laver has been collected, it is boiled for up to six hours before being minced or puréed and mixed with olive oil and lemon juice. Bread is then toasted and buttered and the hot laverbread spooned on top. Salty and soft in texture, it has been described as the Welshman’s caviar.


Although it sounds like a character from Harry Potter, it’s actually a casserole made from leftover cabbage with lots of butter slathered in cheese. It’s the Scottish border’s variation on the British favorite, bubble and squeak, which is made with fried leftover vegetables. This cheesy dish might be a good excuse to finish your vegetables, like your mother has been insisting.

Pigs in a Blanket

Culinary names have always been some of the most imaginative. Pigs in a blanket are basically pork sausages (the ‘pigs’) wrapped in bacon (the ‘blankets’) and cooked together. It is often served as a complement to roast meat and is traditionally served with roast turkey at Christmas lunch. These bite-sized morsels are also perfect as party food, for picnics and in a lunch box.

Stargazy Pie

Stargazy pie is perhaps the oddest dish on our list. However, in the spirit of travel and adventure, give this dish a go as well. Stargazy pie is a Cornish fish pie made with pilchards (or sometimes sardines), eggs and potatoes, and covered with a pastry shell. The unique (and strange!) thing about this pie is the fish heads that protrude from the sides of the crust. Although it might sound less than appetising, there is a romantic connotation – the heads are ‘gazing’ up at the stars. I’m not sure if that is helpful, but this unusual dish is definitely worth checking out!

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