Shepherd’s Pie, Haggis, Welsh Rarebit, and more. British Food. Bon Apetit!

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Whilst the United Kingdom is not particularly noted overall for its cuisine, there are many regional dishes and local specialties that may surprise you! Shepherd’s Pie, Haggis, Welsh Rarebit, British Food – here we come. Bon Apetit!

Typically, when foreigners think about British food, the first things that spring to mind are fish and chips and the famous Sunday roast dinner, which comprises a type of meat, vegetables, potatoes, and gravy.  Yorkshire pudding is a traditional accompaniment with roast beef.  Despite the name, Yorkshire pudding is not a sweet item – it is similar to a savory pancake batter.

Cooked English breakfasts are also widely known, with bacon, sausages, eggs, hash browns, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, and possibly black sauce and baked beans, served with buttered toast.

Your kids can find out about some typical British foods on the Kids’ Travel Guide – United Kingdom, as well as documenting what they have tried, what their favorites are, drawing a meal, doing a fun word search, and completing other food-related activities. There are fun facts too. For example, did you know that the sandwich was born in the UK and named after the Earl of … Sandwich! He was too lazy to leave a card game to eat, and so the early sandwich was invented.

The guide presents a balanced overview of different UK foods, with representations from the four countries (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) that make up the larger UK.

Today, many different types of dishes from all over the world can be found in the UK.  This has led to a rich fusion of cuisines, with many hybrid dishes being found.  It also means that it is very easy to please picky eaters!

When it comes to drinking, the British are quintessentially associated with tea.

Some British dishes that you and your kids may not have heard of include:

Bangers and Mash

This is a meal of sausages with mashed potatoes.  Sausages are sometimes referred to as bangers in the UK because in times gone by, sausages were filled with lots of water when meat was scarce, and they were prone to exploding in the frying pan, making a big banging noise!  Bangers and mash may be served with a selection of vegetables and gravy.


England is known for its selection of pies, most especially in the northern part of the country.  Various fillings are baked inside a sealed pastry case.  Pies are often served with chips and peas, although mashed potatoes and vegetables may be used as an alternative.  Some popular pies include steak and kidney, steak and ale, pork, and cheese and onion.  Pasties are similar to a pie, and it is said that you shouldn’t need anything else with a pasty – it is meant to be a complete meal on its own.  Your children can see the difference between a traditional English pasty and a Northern Irish pasty in Kids’ Travel Guide – United Kingdom on page 29.


Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie is not a pie in the true sense of the word.  It is called shepherd’s pie because the meat used is lamb – and shepherd’s look after sheep.  It is minced lamb, often with carrots and onions, topped with mashed potato, which is then crisped in the oven.  If the same dish is made using minced beef, it is then known as a cottage pie.

Ploughman’s Lunch

This salad takes its name from the fact that is was a common meal for farmers to take to work with them, often when they were ploughing the fields.  It is a typical pub food meal today.  The salad is served with a thick hunk of bread, cheese, pickles, and pickled onions.  It is really tasty.

Welsh Rarebit

Welsh rarebit is essentially cheese on toast!  It may also be served with ham, and Worcester sauce is a popular condiment.  It is eaten throughout the country, and not only in Wales.


Haggis is a traditional dish from Scotland.  It is a sheep’s stomach, stuffed with a variety of different vegetables and organs from the sheep.  Salt, spices, and onion are added for flavor, and oatmeal is added to bulk out the mixture.  The sack like item is then cooked for a few hours before being served.  Today, the outer casing is often sausage meat rather than the traditional stomach.  Haggis is often served with potatoes and turnips.


Bubble and Squeak

This dish is not as common today as it was in times gone by.  When food was harder to come by and people tried hard to use every last scrap, bubble and squeak was a handy way to use up any leftovers.  Cold, cooked vegetables are added to finely chopped pieces of potato and pan fried.  Any leftover meat may also be added.  When the mixture is friend it makes bubbling and squeaking sounds, hence the dish’s name!


Mainly associated with the northern parts of England, hotpot is a type of casserole.  It contains meat and vegetables that have been cooked in an oven together in a thick gravy, and it is topped with slices of potato.

Toad in the Hole

Despite the unappealing name, there are no toads in this dish!  It is made from sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter.  It is cooked in an oven in a large dish.


Crumpets are a savory type of thick pancake.  They are toasted, and served hot with butter.  Some people may put jam on their crumpets to make them sweet.  They are round and quite spongy, and butter seeps into the crumpet when it is hot.  Scone

A scone is a quintessential British treat.  Somewhere between a cake and a biscuit, a scone is made from oatmeal, wheat, or barley, and baking powder is used to make the mixture rise when it is baked.  They often contain dried fruit.  A scone is typically served with thick cream and strawberry jam.

There are many other British treats to discover, many of which are very tasty and sure to set your taste buds tingling! Bon Apetit!


For more United Kingdom travel guides and lots of fun and enrichment:

More adventures with Kids’ Travel Guides to France, Italy, USA, Thailand, New York, San Francisco and many more destinations…

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