Eating Your Way Through London

Things to Eat While in the UK Capital

You might not think of London as being on the culinary wild side, but there are quite a few regional specialties to tantalize your taste buds while you are there.
If you are visiting London, you should start out your day with a proper British breakfast, which is hearty and not quite like anything eaten anywhere else. Americans will find the sausage, eggs and bacon familiar, but the bacon is actually different from the type eaten in the U.S. It is leaner, not like the “streaky bacon” that is common in the U.S.

The hallmark of a London breakfast is beans, along with some mushrooms or maybe a grilled tomato. It’s a very hearty breakfast compared to what is eaten in continental Europe.

Fish and chips is another London specialty.

There are a lot of good chip shops around town. One of my personal favorites is a shop called “Traditional Plaice” that serves delicious fried haddock, cod and plaice, along with generous servings of French fries (chips). Make sure to get them with a side serving of mushy peas!

One of my favorite British specialties is “toad in the hole,” which you can also get in restaurants in London. Even better, though, is if you have a British friend who can make you the homemade variety! Toad in the hole is a savory dish of sausage baked in a puffy pastry. It’s usually served with vegetables along with loads of delicious gravy.

For those looking for more spicy, ethnic food, you can also get quite good Indian food in London, due to Indian being a former British colony and a lot of Indian people subsequently moving to the UK. After living in Belgium for the year (where they are much less fond of spicy food), I was excited to eat the most amazing curry from street stands in London.

And when in London, don’t forget afternoon tea! This specialty of the Brits is something to experience. Try out some clotted cream, cakes, tiny cucumber sandwiches, along with Earl Grey tea, of course, at any number of the restaurants offering afternoon tea.

As for drinks, pubs are popular, and alcohol is a big part of social life in London – but watch out! The new law says that bars are supposed to card for anyone who looks like they are under 25…very different from the lax drinking laws on the continent. So bring your card.