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What is Britain’s national dish?

For a nation that has absorbed the cuisines of almost every country around the world, it is difficult to define but what is Britain's national dish?

British national dish

Debate has run for years over what is truly Britain’s national dish. There are strong behind each selection and each dish varies in its origin. Here we present a list of the strongest contenders, including the national dishes of Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

Britain’s national dish

This list of foods contains dishes from a variety of origins but all have come to symbolise true British cooking and can be found all over the UK in pubs, restaurants and family meals.

Bangers and Mash

This family favourite won the prize of the UK’s favourite comfort food in 2009. It is a staple food on almost every menu you’ll find, be it a restaurant, a pub or a school dinner. ‘Bangers’, the British slang for sausages, can be made from any meat, traditionally pork, with a variety of flavourings and are traditionally served with mashed potato and peas. This British home comfort is undeniably a key part of British life.

Roast Beef

Another dish served around the country every Sunday, Roast Beef has topped the leaderboards for years. Combining a large joint of beef roasted for hours with traditional root vegetables, it has come to represent English cooking. However, arguably the most important part, and another contender for Britain’s national dish in itself, the yorkshire pudding needs a mention. Made from flour, milk and eggs this culinary delicacy originated from batter sitting under meat to collect the juices and fat to enhance the flavour. It is so popular that a yorkshire pudding cafe has opened up in Manchester!

Fish and Chips

Fish and chips is another pub favourite served all over the country with fresh fish readily available through the hundreds of seaside towns. It is made up of battered cod or similar white fish, traditionally served with chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce. Tartare sauce is made mainly with capers, mayonnaise and lemon juice.

Chicken Tikka Masala

This dish, on the face of it completely not British, has come to represent a lot of what Britain stands for. Deriving from the South Asian community, it was created solely for the British who decided that the traditional chicken tikka, marinated in yoghurt for hours with spices, required a sauce. Cultural diversity has become one of Britain’s main imports, often attributed to the British Empire and the British Raj in India. The birth of Tikka Masala symbolises the tendency to absorb cultures from all over the world and it can be seen in thousands of restaurants around the UK. Chicken Tikka Masala is now widely considered to be Britain’s national dish.

National dishes of Wales, Scotland and Ireland

Here we present 3 more dishes, more universally considered to be the definite national dishes of the other countries that make up the UK.

Cawl (Wales)

Cawl is the national dish of Wales and is made up of a meat, bacon, cabbage and leeks, amongst others. It is traditionally all served in one bowl. It is often now served with the meat and vegetables separate, having cooked in the broth, with the broth served as a starter.

Haggis (Scotland)

Haggis is world renowned as Scotland’s national dish with tourists coming from all over the world to try this delicacy. It is made from the stomach of a sheep, stuffed with offal, suet, onions and oatmeal and is traditionally served with ‘neeps’ (turnips) and ‘tatties’ (potatoes).

Irish Stew (Ireland)

This dish is made from mutton, potatoes and onions, the foods that were most readily available to the Irish in the past. It is the undisputed national dish of Ireland.

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