- Flickr/Blowing Puffer Fish
The English may have a notoriously bad reputation in the culinary department, but it appears that some people living across the pond pine for traditional British favourites – or they might, if they knew they existed.
A Quora user asked the question: Are there any UK foods USA folk wish they had readily available & vice versa?
There are in fact quite a few quintessentially British snacks and drinks that are difficult to source in America.
Here are 23 of the best, according to Quora users and members of the Business Insider London office.
A thick, flat, savoury cake-like muffin, with a porous texture, best served slathered in butter and/or Marmite.
- Flickr/PROSimon Allardice
You can certainly buy the drink in America, but there are far less brands available compared to the UK, which is famed for its wide selection of home brewed ciders.
Peter Jacobs, news editor at BI US said: “In the states, when you’re getting cider it’s always apple, or if you want variety maybe you can find pear. Here, the amount of different types of cider is staggering and seems to make the drink a little more widely accepted. For the Americans: try the passion fruit.”
Popular British brands include Old Rosie, a flat, cloudy and strong (7.3%) cider, Aspalls, a fizzy medium cider from Suffolk, and Bulmers, one of the UK’s best selling bottled varieties.
3. Cadbury’s chocolate
- Flickr/Sheila Scarborough
British-made Cadbury chocolate is praised for its rich and creamy texture, while the American version is often criticised for being too sweet. That’s because they use different recipes.
Shona Ghosh, senior tech reporter at BI UK said: “American chocolate, specifically Hersheys, has this strange, vomit-like flavour, which happily you don’t find in British chocolate.”
“Even really cheap British chocolate seems to have a better, tastier combination of milk and sugar. Personally, I’m a big fan of non-US KitKat.”
- Getty/Phil Walter
Ribena, a sweet juice drink most famous for its blackcurrant flavour, is a firm childhood memory for most Brits. The majority of Americans, however, have never even tasted blackcurrant.
Ribena also comes in squash form, a concentrated syrup which is diluted with water to make a drink.
“You can’t get *any* kind of squash here,” according to Quora user Dewi Morgan, a UK expat living in Texas since 2009.
5. Cornish pasties
- Shutterstock/Joe Gough
As its name suggests, Cornish pasties are associated with Cornwall, in the West Country. They usually come in a “D” shape, resembling a cross between a sausage roll and a calzone.
The pasty, a real heart warmer, is filled with meat, potatoes, and onions. In particular, Quora users mentioned pasties from Greggs, a bakery chain in the UK.
6. Yorkshire puddings
- Shutterstock/Stephen Gibson
A vital batter-based accompaniment to your Sunday roast, served either as small individual puddings or as one giant Yorkshire treat.
It is most often paired with a beef roast and lashings of gravy, but is increasingly served with every meat choice at pubs on a Sunday.
7. Scotch eggs
- Flickr/Blowing Puffer Fish
Fortnum & Mason, an upmarket British department store, claims to have invented the Scotch egg, which consists of a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried.
A trusty picnic snack, they have witnessed a resurgence in popularity in recent years and gourmet Scotch eggs are now sold in trendy gastro pubs as a bar snack.
8. Heinz baked beans
Baked beans are a staple of the classic full English breakfast.
Erin Brodwin, science reporter at BI says: “Initially, the idea of beans for breakfast weirded me out. Do you eat them plain? Put them on toast? Mix them with eggs? I quickly found out you could do all three. They’re delicious, plus they’re a great source of protein and fiber to keep you energized throughout the day. My personal favorite is the Heinz reduced-sugar version.”
“Oh my God I would kill for a decent Hobnob,” says Quora user Morgan.
“It doesn’t even have to have chocolate on I just want something I can dunk without it falling apart!”
“The difference in US cookies vs UK biscuits simply cannot be guessed without understanding that they are aimed at entirely different ways of consuming them. The majority of biscuits bought in the UK will be eaten with a hot drink, and will be dunked.”
10. Real tea
- Shutterstock/Joe Gough
Morgan added “actual real tea that isn’t some strange herbal infusion” to the list.
It’s well known that Britain is full of avid tea drinkers, and many claim that while herbal teas are popular in America, it’s not as easy to find “normal” teabags in the states.
English breakfast tea is the most common kind in Britain, but Earl Grey is another favourite.
Alan Dawson, BI UK’s sports reporter said his preference is for “one earl grey tea bag with a lady grey tea bag in the same tea cup. Where I’m from, that’s called a dirty grey.”
11. Jacobs cream crackers.
Jacob’s cream crackers are a classic variety of cracker that most cheese boards will usually feature. They’re square, plain in taste, and have a good snap on them. They taste great with a slice of mature cheddar and slather of chutney or pickle, or equally with jam and butter.
12. HP brown sauce
- Shutterstock/ SGM
The tangy brown sauce is a key breakfast condiment. Best served in a bacon or sausage bap.
13. Decent bacon
- Flickr/Health Gauge
Bacon is arguably the main component of a full English fry up. UK supermarkets sell multiple forms of bacon – smoked, unsmoked, streaky, back rashers, thick cut or thin – while in the states you can only get the streaky kind, according to Quora users.
14. Black pudding
- Shutterstock/Dmitry Naumov
Black pudding, a type of blood sausage, is nicer than it sounds. It’s considered a delicacy in the UK and is often served fried or sliced with a tradition full English breakfast. In Scotland they apparently deep fry it at some chip shops and people eat with chips instead of battered fish.
15. Prawn cocktail crisps
When reviewing a variety pack of British flavours of Walkers crisps, Amazon member, Lesa Vsaid: “Prawn Cocktail does NOT taste like prawns/shrimp, rather it’s a slightly sweet and sour tomatoey flavour that must be tasted to be understood (like cocktail sauce with a bit more sour flavor to it).””I really, really wish Walkers would start selling these crisps here in the US. They are just so good, it nearly kills me to pay this price for them, but they are worth it.”
16. Clotted cream
Clotted cream is an essential component of the quintessentially English “Cream tea” or “Devonshire tea” an afternoon tea consisting of scones, raspberry jam, and thick cream, originating from southwest England.
Quora user McKayla Kennedy, from the US, said: “Oh pretty please, someone send me some clotted cream!”
17. Meat pie
- Flickr/PRORebecca Siegel
Jacobs says: “The idea of a savory pie is at first odd, but tends to make the perfect bar food. While dessert pie is definitely missed in the UK, a deeply comforting British pie can really be quite nice.”
Meat pies, in particular classics such as chicken and mushroom and steak and kidney, are big business in traditional British pubs. Best served with thick gravy and chunky chips, and washed down with a pint of ale.
18. Jaffa Cakes
Another McVities masterpiece, the Jaffa Cake consists of a layer of sponge, a thin film-like layer of orange-flavoured jelly and is covered in chocolate.
There is an ongoing dispute over whether the Jaffa is, in fact, a cake or a biscuit. We think it’s the latter.
19. Irn Bru
Irn Bru is a sugary fizzy drink from Scotland that tastes like no other. It’s original taste is made to a secret recipe which contains 32 flavours. It’s bright orange in colour but doesn’t have the taste.
20. Branston pickle
Branston pickle, which is made from a mix of chopped vegetables pickled in vinegar, makes the ultimate cheese and pickle sandwich, also known as a Ploughman’s.
21. Bisto gravy granules
- Shutterstock/Paul Daniels
Bisto gravy thickening powder is a staple in most British homes’ food cupboard. Some people add several scoops of the granules to their meat and veg juices when making gravy for their Sunday roast, but people also just combine it with boiling water and serve over chippy dinners.
22. Pickled onion Monster Munch
- Shutterstock/Keith Homan
Monster Munch crisps are shaped like chunky monsters’ feet. Other flavours include roast beef and flamin’ hot, but pickled onion is the most popular.
23. Salad cream
While from the same family, the tangy taste of salad cream is very different to the mild flavour of real mayonnaise – and like Marmite, people usually either love it or hate it. Apparently it tastes similar to “Miracle Whip” in America.