As a Brit, I’m happy to admit that we are a nation of uninventive eaters. Besides the humble Yorkshire pudding, and adopting curry as our own, we have pretty much stayed off the world’s culinary map -and for good reason. Interestingly, we do have a lot of great restaurants and the food scene in London is amazing. But it revolves heavily around the food of other nations and we happily accept that and make jokes about it, to hide our true distress.

If you grew up in the UK you’ll know there are a small selection of treats that, whether or not are genuinely delicious or purely just nostalgic, we crave. Battery, yes. Sugary, always. And more than not absolutely terrible for you. But you should try them all the same.

1. Cream Tea

Where to try? Edith’s House, Crouch End

I probably don’t need to tell you that Afternoon Tea is synonymous with England and people pay top dollar (or pound?) to dine at some of the most bougie brasseries around the capital for this extravagant meal. But sadly it’s not a common occurrence and more of a one-off indulgence, as much as I would like it to be. However what is fairly common -and you will see all over London and the rest of the UK- is the modest, but mighty “cream tea” – this consists of a kind of micro take on the afternoon tea: scone, clotted cream, jam washed down with a bijou pot of English Breakfast. Some people would argue it should also have butter, but these people are wrong!

For an extra unique setting check out Edith’s House cafe in the north of the city for some killer OAP vibes. The entire cafe is set up like a grandma’s house – yes, even the bathroom. But it’s sanitary – I promise. So pull up a chintzy velvet chair and park that teacup on a cream doily for a traditional cream tea without any of the faff.

2. Chip Shop Chips

Where to try? At any old greasy chip and fish shop

I don’t care what anyone says, fish and chips are not as widely eaten as they would have you believe, but chips are. I guess they just don’t have that same glamour as a piece of plaice glistening under the counter warmer does, and so get side-lined. One of the cheapest meals in the UK, a bag of chip shop chips is a salty, soggy, squidgy affair and one of the UK’s most economical meals. So save your pennies and skip the restaurant serving overpriced fish and chips on faux newspaper sheets (this for some reason really bothers me) and instead head down to the nearest questionable looking chip shop. Here you will find a range of other curious goodies on offer such as battered sausages, battered hamburgers, pies, eggs that have for some reason been swimming in vinegar, and lots of priceless authentic British banter to boot.

An ideal portion of chip shops chips is never ending, slightly soggy, very stodgy, covered in salt and vinegar and eaten with a wooden (or sometimes plastic) miniature fork that inevitably breaks apart in your hands mid-feast. You should at one point wholly regret your decision to ever have wanted carbs, ever. Otherwise, it really isn’t an authentic experience, quite frankly. One portion is usually enough to feed at least two people, as for some reason the good old British chip shop never learned any portion control: a constant in an ever-changing world. Apply sauce liberally and enjoy super hot, straight out of the paper.

3. Battered Mars Bars

Where to try? Crispy Candy, Camden Stables Market

Not to go on and on about battering things – but – battered chocolate. People seem to accost these sickly delights with Scotland only, but they can be found all over the country. Many chip shops will do it for you if you take them the Mars bar – one of those fusty old English traditions perhaps, much like being allowed to pee in a policeman’s helmet if you’re pregnant and without immediate facilities. Because apparently, that’s a thing…

I like to order my side of diabetes from a super-cute stall in Camden Stables Market called Crispy Candy; these chaps will batter just about anything – or at least any candy bar –  you would like and serve it to you hot and piping on a stick. Its hard to deny the joy of foods on sticks. Its wrong, but oh-so-right.

4. Crumpets

Where to try? Good & Proper Tea, Farringdon or Ask for Janice, Farringdon

It’s very hard to explain exactly what a crumpet is. It’s kind of like trying to explain Yorkshire pudding or toad in the hole. It is made of something, but no one really knows what – some kind of war-time carb-heavy delight that for some reason became a staple. Its closest living relative probably being the English muffin – which ironically is rarely eaten in England.

Mosy on down to Good & Proper Tea (a reassuringly British name) for yummy sourdough crumpets where if you’d like to be really British about it you can try them with Marmite. Close by Ask for Janice serves up super delicious crumpets with jam: apply butter liberally, apply jam liberally and enjoy.

5. Sausage Rolls

Where to try? Greggs, various locations all over London

Ah, the humble sausage roll! The perfect partner to any picnic, eaten hot and cold but mostly lukewarm. In England, we love a good sausage! And we relish in being able to cover whatever it is we want to eat in extra carbs and buttery goodness. I feel like I have to stipulate the fact that British sausages are always made with pork sausage meat because, if you’ve spent any time in Australia you’ll know their sausage rolls are made from beef mostly -which is totally sacrilegious- but I still ate quite a lot of them all the same.

Greggs is many Brits dirty little secret. Behind every sharp businessman and every polished socialite is a pasty-flaked tie and oil-stained hanky. Greggs is simply a chain bakery that does extremely cheap, hot, delicious sausage rolls which are perfect for wandering around with.

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6. Scotch Eggs

Where to try? Scotchtails, Borough Market

These things have been haunting me ever since I attended my first birthday party, aged 5. You simply cannot escape the scotch egg in Britain. A boiled egg covered in a layer of meat and then a breadcrumb finish. Showing off our culinary delights once again with of battering stodgy things, the scotch egg does not disappoint! You could call it the British adaptation of finger food; find them served at birthday parties, funeral buffets, eaten on picnics and – because this is London – tarted up with artisanal flair at food markets.

Check out Scotchtails at the totally delicious Borough Market for some delightful examples of these, served gourmet style piping hot and with a selection of accompaniments. Much better than the tepid variety served at children’s birthday parties, I can assure you.

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7. Proper Scrumpy Cider

Where to try? The Harp, Charing Cross or Howl at the Moon, Hoxton

A treat that can easily turn into a trick, this classic English tipple is very misunderstood. True Devon scrumpy is served room temperature from a barrel – or more modernly from a box/bag combination – ideally it should have bits of weird apple floating in it. Kind of gross, huh? But oh-so-traditional! But beware, drink cautiously. Scrumpy is typically double strength (anything from 6 to 9 per cent, usually) and can easily put even the hardiest of English gentlemen on their arse. You’ve been warned…

You can find traditional cider all over the city, but it’s becoming less fashionable and so if you want to seek out some proper room-temperature tradition be sure to try the extremely cosy The Harp in central or to evoke your inner hipster try Howl at the Moon over in east London.

8. Bakewell Tart

Where to try? Tart, Clapham

Taking a small break from battering things, to sample some of our other favourite – baked things! Bakewell tart is a super-sweet treat that houses cherry jam, frangipani (some kind of marzipan-like dough) finished off with almonds and a sugary top. A bit of an acquired taste, this English treat is probably not for anyone whos not into the whole marzipan flavour as it is essentially just a slab of marzipan in a crust. Another healthy one for you!

Check out bougie chain bakery Tart in Clapham, and at several locations over London for, well, lots of tarts.