Menuism Dining Blog
Dining education for foodies

So you have an adventurous spirit when it comes to food and you especially have an interest in trying out cuisines from other countries; however, there are those times when you walk into a restaurant, sit down and read menu that literally is in a foreign language. Yikes, what do you do?

Well, the first thing that usually helps is to do a little bit of research beforehand so that you don’t go in blind. Today, you’re getting a jump start on British Food because below, you’ll be getting a list of some common dishes and ingredients you may find on an English restaurant menu. So are you ready to increase your foodie vocabulary?

Afters: Simply, it refers to dessert.

Banger: A link sausage that can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  There are also many regional sausages that combine different meats, herbs and spices.

Bap: A soft round roll, lightly floured. These are like hamburger buns in America, but also eaten as sandwiches.

Bickie: Short for biscuit.

Bitter: Bitter is beer, which are the dark ales that are so popular amongst British drinkers. Served a little below room temperature, but not cold like yours.

Black Pudding: Looking like a black sausage it is made from pigs blood and fat.

Blancmange: Blancmange is custard that has been made thick, and allowed to set. It is generally served as one of the layers in a trifle. The bottom layer would be sponge cake soaked in jelly, then some fruit, then the blancmange, then a layer of whipped double cream and finally a chocolate flake crumbled over the top.

Bubble & Squeak: Bubble & squeak is an old English breakfast dish made from frying up left over greens and potato.

Bucks Fizz: English version of the Mimosa, champagne and orange juice.

Butty: A butty is a sandwich. The most famous butty is the chip butty. The perfect chip butty (invented in Liverpool) consists of two fairly large slices from a large white loaf, liberally buttered, layered with chips (salt and vinegar optional) and smothered in tomato sauce.

Chip Butty: They are sandwiches made from white bread, buttered and filled with piping hot chips and tomato sauce!

Chip Shop: Abbreviation for fish and chip shop. Also known as the “chippy” or “chipper” in some places.

Chipolata: A small pork sausage.

Chips: British equivalent to French Fries to you but liberally dosed in salt and malt vinegar.

Clotted Cream: It is thicker than single cream or double cream and is served with cakes or spread on scones.

Cornish Pasty: A real pasty from Cornwall, is a pastry in the shape of a half circle, filled with spiced meat and potatoes. In the old days they also had apple at one end and they were tossed down the tin mines for the miners to eat for lunch.

Cottage Pie: It’s minced beef with veggies, topped with mashed potato. Not to be confused with shepherd’s pie which is virtually the same but with minced lamb.

Cream Tea: A real cream tea consists of a pot of tea, some fresh warm scones that you spread with homemade strawberry jam and top with thick, yellow, clotted cream. Delicious!

Crisps: Salt and vinegar, cheese and onion, beef, smoky bacon. Crisps are called chips in America.

Crumpet: A cratered flat cake that is toasted and covered in butter, so that it drips into the holes.  It is about the size and shape of an English muffin

Doner: Short for a doner kebab. The closest thing in the US is a gyro. Kebabs in England, whether shish (meat on a skewer) or a doner (lamb on vertical spit), are served in split pitta bread with salad.

Double Cream: This is even thicker than single cream and is also served with desserts, tarts etc. We didn’t find cream this thick in Texas, even in dairy farms.

Faggot: Made by many butchers, they are meatballs wrapped in a casing of intestine.

Fairy Cake: A cupcake.

Garibaldi: They are small hard biscuits with currants embedded in them.

Gateau: A gateau should be large and rich and probably brimming with fresh cream. Normally served in slices on special occasions.

Granary: This is a kind of malted, brown bread with whole grains in it.

Hob Nobs: One of the more popular British biscuits.

Horlicks: Malted milk drink.

Jacket Potato: Baked potato in America. Also referred to as “potatoes in their jackets”, meaning their skins.

Jaffa Cake: Little cake filled with orange jam and topped with chocolate.

Kedgeree: A wonderful dish of smoked haddock, eggs and rice. Still served in some hotels, generally for breakfast.

Kipper: A smoked herring. Kippers are very popular eaten hot with breakfast or cold with a salad.

Liver Sausage: Similar to  liverwurst in America.

Marmite: Described as “salty tractor grease” this spread is made from the yeast gunk they scoop out of beer vats when they are finished with them. Definitely an acquired taste. Usually used in sarnies with cheese.

Mash: Simply short for mashed potato.

Mince: Ground beef (or other meat).

Mince Pies: They are small pies filled with mincemeat and topped off with cream or served hot with brandy butter.

Mincemeat: Mincemeat is a sweet product made from dried fruit and suet (a dry form of beef fat) and is used as a filling for mince pies, eaten at Christmas with brandy butter.

Mushy Peas: An English tradition. Mushy peas are reconstituted dried peas that go all mushy. They are often served with fish and chips, or on their own with mint sauce

Pancake Roll: Otherwise known as a spring roll here or egg roll in the US.

Parkin: A sweet heavy cake made with treacle. Often served on bonfire night.

Parsley Sauce: A white sauce similar to southern gravy with chopped fresh parsley in it. Sometimes served with ham or fish.

Parson’s Nose: it is the tail of the chicken or turkey.

Pea Fritter: It is made from mushy peas, rolled into a ball, covered in batter and deep fried.

Perry: Perry tastes a lot like our cider. That’s because it is made the same way except instead of apples, they use pears. Just as alcoholic and just as likely to make you fall over.

Pimms: Another English tradition. Pimms is a liquor that you mix with lemonade in a tall glass with slices of apple, orange and cucumber and some fresh mint leaves. It is a summer, outside sort of drink that people drink at home and at the races, Wimbledon, Ascot, Henley etc. It is fairly alcoholic.

Ploughman’s Lunch: You’ll see these in pubs on the menu at lunchtime. Basically it’s a chunk of cheese, some pickle, a pickled onion and a hunk of  bread. Sometimes the cheese will be substituted with a piece of home baked ham.

Rasher: Slices of bacon.

Runner Beans: String beans.

Sarny: Another word for sandwich.

Saveloy: The saveloy is a rather odd kind of sausage. Similar to a long hot dog sausage, it is generally found in fish and chip shops, heated in hot water and served with chips as an alternative to fish

Savoury: In some cafes and tea shops you might see savouries on the menu or the black board. This is just a term for pastries that are savoury rather than sweet. They might have cheese, or meat in them, like Cornish pasties for example.

Scones: These look like your biscuits but must ONLY be eaten with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

Scotch Egg: They are hard-boiled eggs surrounded in a half-inch layer of sausage meat and coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. Then you eat them cold at picnics!

Shandy: Generally lager and lemonade. However, bitter shandy and cider shandy are also popular, especially with drivers or at lunchtimes.

Shepherd’s Pie: It is minced lamb, cooked with some veggies and topped with mashed potato (sometimes with cheese) on top and grilled till brown. Not to be confused with Cottage Pie which is almost the same, but with minced beef.

Simnel Cake: This is the traditional British Easter cake. It is a heavy fruit cake with a thick layer of marzipan right through the centre. There is marzipan on the top too plus usually balls or chicks made from marzipan decorating the top.

Single Cream: This cream is used for pouring on cakes and pies and is best served poured over apple pie. Single cream can be whipped to make it stiff for topping cheesecakes etc.

Soldiers: Finger sized slices of toast.

Spotted Dick: A suet pudding with dried fruit and is an excellent pudding in winter with custard.

Suet: Suet is a fairly dry white beef fat. It is rubbed into flour as a base for many puddings. Sweet and savoury.

Tarts: A pastry base with jam or fruit topping with cream or custard poured on top.

Toad in the Hole: It is basically Yorkshire pudding or batter with sausages embedded in it.

Tomato Sauce: Ketchup.

Treacle pudding: Treacle pudding is a steamed pudding, eaten for dessert with a runny syrup topping.

White Sauce: A gravy that is made from flour, butter and milk.

Yorkshire Pudding: You may see this on the menu in a pub or restaurant. It is a light batter that rises when it is cooked. In pubs you will sometimes see huge ones that rise at the edges to form a sort of bowl. The middle can be filled with anything from sausages and beans, to soup or stew. Worth a try if they look good. Traditionally, smaller Yorkshire puds are served with roast beef, as an accompaniment with horseradish sauce and gravy, roast spuds and veggies.

Posted by on June 20th, 2010

Dave Jensen

Dave Jensen
Craft Beer

David R. Chan

David R. Chan
Chinese Restaurant

Nevin Barich

Nevin Barich
Fast Food

Justin Chen

Justin Chen
Menuism Co-Founder

John Li

John Li
Menuism Co-Founder

Kim Kohatsu

Kim Kohatsu
Managing Editor