I haven’t lived in the UK for more than a few months since 2011. That’s a bit of a long time. While there are many things I don’t miss – the way rain is drawn to that country like a magnet, the dire TV options on a Saturday night (bring back Blind Date and The Generation Game, I say!), and how last orders still seems to come before 11.30pm in most pubs – I do miss many, many things. Aside from family and friends and some very special places (London, I’m looking at you), I miss the great food of Great Britain more than I can describe. While I return to the UK more than a few times a year, and I have very generous friends who squeeze tea bags into their carry-on luggage when they come to visit us in Amsterdam, I never seem to time either of these occasions with when a particularly strong craving for a certain British food strikes. You really don’t even want to know how close to tears I’ve got in a Dutch supermarket when I can’t find a can of baked beans anywhere. But if I can’t enjoy these weird and wonderful British foods, you absolutely must!

So here’s my list of the great British foods that you should try when you find yourselves somewhere on the fine shores of the United Kingdom, even if only to take a photo and tag me on Instagram with the caption “Jealous, much?” Because, yes, I will be.

Roast Dinners

Roast Dinner

Top of my list – and any self-respecting list of good British grub – is the almighty roast dinner. The best ones in the world are cooked by my mum (no, MY mum, not YOUR mum), but a close second would be one served in a cosy pub that is at least 300 years old. It doesn’t matter if you go for chicken, pork, lamb, beef or even the vegetarian option, the essential ingredients are really the trimmings; roast potatoes, overcooked veggies, yorkshire pudding and a gallon of gravy. And you know you’re having a special roast dinner when you’re also served stuffing, pigs in blankets and a choice from bread sauce, fruit jelly or mint sauce. Feel free to Google any of these slightly odd names as visual explanation would probably be quicker!

Salt & Vinegar Discos


Nowhere has more interesting crisp flavours than the UK – Crispy Bacon Frazzles were in all the kids’ lunch boxes when I was at school and everyone knows a purple bag of crisps are going to be Worcestershire Sauce flavoured, right? – but for some reason it’s the classic salt & vinegar flavour that I find myself craving most. Yes, my local supermarket stocks Kettle Chips in sea salt and balsamic vinegar flavour and I can easily find where they’re kept (with my eyes closed), but they’re not the same as other salt & vinegar crisps available in the UK, namely, Discos. This brand of crisp shaped in round circles does come in other flavours but it’s the shiny blue packets I’m always looking out for when I’m back in the UK. The flavouring is so overdone I find the acid of the vinegar burning my tongue while the salt dries out my mouth meaning I need at least a litre of water to fully recover. Man, I miss those crisps.

Lincolnshire Sausages


Disclosure: I was born in Lincolnshire (and am a yellow belly and proud!) so maybe my love of Lincolnshire sausages is very biased, but these herb-infused pork treats have more flavour than any other sausage in the world, nay, universe. Yes, even the currywurst pales in comparison. Of course, Lincolnshire sausages are best served with all the trimmings of an English cooked breakfast, but don’t assume this is a morning treat. Lincolnshire sausages can and should be enjoyed at any time of day and will make any Toad in the Hole or Bubble and Squeak the very best of your life. (Again, Google Images should help you out).

Percy Pigs


I could list one hundred foods from British High Street royalty Marks & Spencer, but if I had to choose one (and believe me I was stuck on their BLT sandwich for a while) I’d have to go with Percy Pigs. These strawberry-flavoured gummy, chewy, apparently free-from-artificial-colouring are addictive, possibly medically, though I’ve not done any scientific research. But it must be why M&S has now got at least 1340038 different variations of Percy Pigs. There’s the Travelettes’ preferred packet of Globetrotting Percy, there’s his Phizzy Pig Tails, there are Vegan-friendly Veggie Percys, there’s the totally out-there Reversy Percy, and my bag of choice… Percy Pig & Pals (featuring my favourites, the cola flavoured cows – but does anyone like the white sheep? I’ve never met a soul who does). I should confess that Amsterdam does have an Marks & Sparks so I’m not completely Percy-less, but for some reason it’s not the same as knowing they’re on every street corner or in the service stations I used to stop at on a road trip. FYI, they are essential company for any car journey longer than… hmm.. 20 minutes.

Galaxy Chocolate


You may find it controversial that I prefer Galaxy over Cadbury’s but neither are “British” anymore so let’s not get sentimental. I just prefer the silkier (yes, I’ve seen the adverts) and smoother flavour of Galaxy and when you’ve not had any for six months or more, it just gets creamier in your fantasies. Also, this is the most perfect chocolate for dunking in tea (yes, the British milky kind). Don’t judge before you’ve tried it.

Cadbury’s Creme Eggs


See, I’m not a complete monster! I do like and miss Cadbury’s chocolate and it’s NOT the same made anywhere else in the world – Australian Cadbury’s? Eeeewww! Although it recently came out that Cadbury’s Creme Eggs aren’t made with Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate (dun, dun, DUH!) I would still quite happily fill my return luggage with as many of these beautiful, super sickly and sweet concoctions as Dutch customs would allow.

British Bacon (that is most likely Danish, but that’s the not the point)


My friend has been a vegetarian for nearly twenty years and mostly for personal rather than ethical reasons; she just doesn’t like the taste and texture of meat. She does, however, say that there is one thing that could turn her if she was hungry enough. A bacon sandwich. I 100% know what she means. Bacon bought in British supermarkets is thick cut and juicy. Bacon served in famous British “greasy spoon” cafes isn’t fried to a horrid horizontal state (sorry North American friends) and never, ever, ever is bacon served with something sweet, like syrup…*shudder*.

Again, bacon is an essential part of the full English breakfast (and the Irish and Scottish equivalents) but I like to make bacon the main event and devour it in the simple but delicious form of a bacon butty. (Feel free to Google that too, though make sure you also search for “chip butty” too – another cholesterol-raising favourite of mine.) Oh, and bacon butties are best served with brown sauce, which would easily feature in a Top 20 British foods I miss/you should try.

Sticky Toffee Pudding


I have to say that nobody has less appetising names for desserts than the British – Eton mess, trifle, crumble, spotted dick, should I continue? – but the flavours of these sweet treats are second to none. Which brings me to sticky toffee pudding, a dessert that is as calorific as it is delicious. It’s fairly uncomplicated – a moist toffee flavoured sponge cloaked in a toffee sauce and served with vanilla ice cream (or custard if you’re feeling really British) – but it’s one of my favourite puddings and simply not something you find served the same way anywhere else in the world. The same goes for treacle tart, a dessert that literally coats your insides in treacle – which is a good thing, by the way, as long as you run a marathon afterwards.

Shepherd’s Pie


“But it’s not a pie!” exclaims my Aussie boyfriend every time I suggest I make shepherd’s pie for dinner (or tea, depending where in the UK you come from!). And he has a point. If you think pie has to have pastry in order to be a real meal then move along, there’s nothing for you to look at here because shepherd’s pie is a shortcrust-free zone. But it is still very capable of warming the cockles of my heart on the coldest of days and let’s be very clear from the outset; no, it does not contain actual shepherds. Essentially lamb mince and vegetable stew topped with a thick layer of mashed potato, what I secretly love about shepherd’s pie is that it’s also one of those dishes you can pretty much throw any leftovers into and get away with it. I especially love adding the following ingredient into the mix…

Baked Beans (on toast or a jacket potato, but ALWAYS with cheese)


As a child, baked beans were really funny, because they make you trump or pump… or fart, if those last terms failed you. As adults you don’t forget this easily and my boyfriend nearly dumped me after I ate a jacket potato, beans and cheese three hours before we boarded a twelve hour flight to Malaysia. He may not have appreciated it but Future Me has never been more grateful that I enjoyed one of my favourite meals so close to my departure time. It made being apart from baked beans (which are NOT the same in other countries, much to my regular disappointment) that little bit easier. I don’t care if they do mean you spend twelve hours with clenched butt cheeks (I didn’t by the way, I’m immune to the effect of beans) they’re also yummy and warm and cosy and when you let grated Cheddar cheese (mature, obviously) melt on the top of the beans which cloak a hot buttered slice of toast as thick as a small novel, you may as well call that heaven on a plate. Oh, and I also love to add a splash of balsamic vinegar or Worcestershire sauce to the top of my plate of heaven so why not try that next time?

Now over to you. Where are you from in the world and what foods do you miss the most when you live or travel abroad?

Photo sources: Roast Dinner, Discos, Lincolnshire Sausages, Percy Pigs, Galaxy Chocolate Bar, Cadbury’s Creme Egg, Bacon Sandwich, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Shepherd’s Pie, Baked Beans

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This post was written by Frankie Thompson who was a Travelette from 2012 – 2015. Originally from London, UK, Frankie was nomadic for several years before settling in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where she lives with her Australian partner and baby boy. She spends her time buying vintage dresses, riding a rusty old bike around the canals and writing books inspired by her travels. Frankie blogs about travel, writing and motherhood at As the Bird flies blog.