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321: British Cuisine Explored

When most people think of UK cuisine they tend to focus on foods and dishes which are native to England’s prominent cities, like London, for example.  Similarly, the traditions of the English countryside are also often represented when the subject of British foods and customs pops up.  But what about Ireland (specifically, the Northern part), Scotland and the Welsh territories, don’t they also have some interesting additions worth exploring?  Well, we’re about to look at a few dishes which are native to those aforementioned areas right now…

Food Network's Bangers and Mash

When it comes to food in Northern Ireland, popular UK dishes like “bangers and mash” as well as “fish and chips” are certainly popular and regularly enjoyed in addition to locale fare.  However, the region also has its own favorites, such as Ulster fry.  In short, an Ulster fry is a full breakfast which consists of items like fried or over-easy eggs, bacon, sausage, vegetable roll, soda bread, potato bread, and even things like beans, fried tomatoes, or mushrooms.  As you might expect, nearly all the side dishes are also to be fried, hence the name “Ulster fry”.  Tea is the usual accompaniment. The Shepherd’s pie or Cottage pie also was born in Ireland – who hasn’t heard of this?

Shepherd’s pie

Shepherd’s pie

Scotland is known for the culture and traditions of its people as well as its beautiful landscape.  Naturally, there are specific Scottish dishes which are quite famous (or infamous, depending on whom you talk to).  Game animals (for meat), dairy, vegetables, as well as fresh fruit and fish are all staples of Scotland and a lot of traditional dishes tend to lack heavy flavorings due to the historic high cost of importing spices, etc…  One of the most notable dishes from this area is Haggis, which is a mixture of sheep organs along with onion, oatmeal, suet, salt and other spices which have been bound up inside the stomach sack and cooked for around 3 hours.  While this might sound slightly odd to some people, it’s actually quite good and goes well with a dinner consisting of potatoes, turnip as well as a glass of Scotch whiskey on the side.

Tatws Pum Munud

Tatws Pum Munud

When it comes to Welsh cuisine, you need to know that the main meat product featured in their cooking tends to be lamb.  But don’t get the wrong idea, beef as well as fish are also extremely popular in the region.  As far as veggies go, the leek is often found in recipes as it the country’s national vegetable.  Then there is Tatws Pum Munud, which is a traditional stew that contains stock, potatoes, veggies and smoked bacon.  Perhaps one of the more well-known dishes is “Welsh rarebit”, which is a bread-based dish which features hot, melted cheese (as part of a creamy sauce) being poured over it.  Lastly, there’s “Cawl” – a traditional Welsh soup that incorporates lamb, potatoes, carrots as well as other (perhaps seasonal) vegetables.

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