25 classic British foods that might sound unappealing to Americans

·6 min read
british foods
Many British foods might sound unappetizing but are actually delicious. Joe Gough/Donna Gibbs/Shutterstock
  • The UK has a number of local dishes that might sound unappetizing to those across the pond.

  • From black pudding to "toad in the hole," these British dishes taste better than they sound.

  • Marmite, a salty spread made from yeast extract, is polarizing to many people.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Black pudding, a blood sausage that's popular in the UK and Ireland, is the perfect accompaniment to a full English breakfast.

black pudding sausage slices
Black pudding. Shutterstock

It can also be served baked, on its own, or with toast. Though many people find the idea of it unappealing, others find it utterly delicious.

Similar to black pudding, white pudding is a sausage made using pork fat instead of blood.

white pudding and black pudding on a plate
White and black pudding. Joerg Beuge/Shutterstock

Though it's served in the UK and Ireland, it's rarely eaten elsewhere.

Jellied eels are a favorite of cockney Londoners, but the dish is far less popular outside of the UK.

jellied eels in a bowl
Jellied eels. Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

The eels are boiled and, as they cool, the liquid forms a jelly. The dish originated in 18th-century London, but it has been popular in more recent years, too.

Stargazy pie is a Cornish meal made with baked pilchards, eggs, and potatoes, and finished with a pastry top.

Stargazy pie with fish heads sticking out of pastry
Stargazy pie. Davis Dorss/Shutterstock

It was named for the way the fish poke their heads out of the crust.

Haggis - Scotland's national dish - is made by mixing sheep's pluck (heart, liver, and lungs) with oatmeal, onion, and seasoning.

haggis traditional scottish food

It's commonly served with "neeps and tatties," or mashed turnips and mashed potatoes.

Baked beans on toast is a classic British dish, though many people outside of the UK would avoid it.

baked beans on toast on a green plate
Baked beans on toast. Robyn Mackenzie/Shutterstock

It's comfort food that can be eaten for any meal of the day.

Liquor, a sauce made with parsley and vinegar, is the classic accompaniment to pie and mash (a meat pie with mashed potato).

pie and mashed potato with green liquor sauce
Pie and mash with liquor. BillyDoogs/Shutterstock

Pie and mash shops originated in East London in the 19th century, and they are still popular today.

Kippers are usually served with brown bread and a lemon wedge for breakfast.

kipper fish on a plate
Kippers. Shutterstock

Other smoked fish like bloaters (cold-smoked herring) are also served this way.

No British Christmas is complete without Christmas pudding, a dessert made from fried fruit, nuts, suet, and lots of brandy that's often set on fire right before serving.

Christmas pudding on a plate with berries
Christmas pudding. Debby Lewis-Harrison/Getty Images

It can be prepared months before the big day.

Mince pies, made with "mincemeat" (a mix of dried fruit, peel, and suet) and cooked in shortcrust pastry, are another Christmas staple.

Mince pies.
Mince pies. Laura Kate Bradley/Getty Images

However, people outside of the UK often dislike the sound of them, thinking they contain actual meat products.

Dripping is the fat rendered from roasting a joint of beef or pork, and it can be used as a substitute for oil in cooking or served straight up on toast.

pork roast in a pan with vegetables
Pork roast. Dani Vincek/Shutterstock

Mucky dripping, which also includes whatever is left in the bottom of the roasting pan, is a variant from Yorkshire.

Offal - the organs of an animal - features in many classic British dishes.

steak & kidney pudding
Steak and kidney pudding. Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

It's a common ingredient in dishes like steak and kidney pudding, which is made with diced beef, lamb's or pig's kidneys, and suet pastry.

Mushy peas are a side dish also traditionally served with fish and chips.

fish and chips with mushy peas
Fish and chips with mushy peas. Pepgooner/Shutterstock

They are made from marrowfat peas which have been soaked overnight then boiled with sugar and salt to form a green mush. If you don't mind eating offal, mushy peas also go well with steak and kidney pudding.

English saveloys are bright red boiled sausages found in most British fish and chip shops.

british saveloys red boiled sausages
British saveloys. zkruger/Getty Images

Sometimes they're covered in a crispy batter.

Potted shrimps - brown shrimps preserved in nutmeg-flavored butter and stored in a glass jar - can be found on menus at some of the UK's best restaurants.

potted shrimp appetizer served with toasted brown bread
Potted shrimp appetizer served with toasted brown bread. neil langan/Shutterstock

It's typically served with wholemeal toast.

Brits have a complicated relationship with Marmite, a salty paste made from brewers' yeast extract that's usually spread on toast.

Marmite toast
Marmite. Shutterstock

It's also popular in Australia.

Brits have been adding brown sauce to bacon sandwiches and breakfasts for more than a century.

hp sauce and english barrister
HP sauce. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

It is made with malt vinegar, tomatoes, dates, tamarind extract, and spices.

Toad in the hole consists of sausages baked into a Yorkshire pudding batter.

toad in the hole
Toad in the hole. Getty Images

Though it may not sound (or look) particularly appetizing, it's delicious — especially when served with plenty of gravy.

Spotted Dick, a sponge pudding made with suet and dried fruit and served with custard, is a nostalgic treat for most Brits.

spotted dick pudding with custard on top of a plate and spoon
Spotted dick pudding with custard. Margoe Edwards/Shutterstock

It can also be found as part of a school lunch.

Periwinkles, or small edible sea snails, aren't for everyone.

Periwinkles are a popular snack in British coastal towns, where they're more commonly known as "winkles."
Periwinkles. Shutterstock

However, they're a popular snack in British coastal towns, where they're more commonly known as "winkles."

Scotch eggs may look unusual, but they are a signature snack in most British pubs.

scotch egg on a plate
Scotch eggs. PratchayapornK/Shuttershock

A hard-boiled egg is encased in sausage meat before the whole thing is rolled in breadcrumbs and baked or deep-fried.

Pork pies are ideal for picnics and pub snacks, but they can be an acquired taste for non-Brits.

pork pie with pastry

Roughly chopped pork is coated in pork jelly before being wrapped in a hot water crust pastry and baked.

Laverbread is a Welsh delicacy made from edible seaweed that has been boiled for several hours before being minced and puréed.

laverbread
Laverbread. tirc83/Getty Images

Laverbread is served on its own, on top of toast, or fried into fritter-like cakes.

Kedgeree is descended from Kichiri, a traditional Indian dish that mixes rice and vegetables.

kedgeree rice dish with boiled eggs

The British version, which was adapted after colonists sent the Indian dish home, features smoked fish like mackerel, boiled eggs, peas, and herbs.

You can find variations of pease pudding - lentils or split peas that have been boiled down and puréed - is a traditional British dish.

pease pudding with ham
Pease pudding. Fanfo/Shutterstock

It's most often served with ham and is sometimes called pease porridge.

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