Yes, yes, I know, look at the British man being defensive about his country’s embarrassingly sub-par food. Yes, I understand I would be the one saying this. I also apologise as this has nothing to do with Japan or Korea but it is a very deeply seated impression even for people here, despite most never going to the UK have about British food.
In this piece I will talk about where the impression came from, examples of good British food and then finally a couple of British restaurants here in Tokyo so I can put this under the Japan tag.
I’ll do a quick citation here to say I am very aware that although it may not be bad, its not great either especially in the wake of Indian, Korean and Thai food, I know this but when those words come from the mouth of Europeans and Americans it can be very tedious.
This quote from reddit user Rassimo flom couldn’t be beaten so I shall put it here:
I think the roots of it are probably in the industrial revolution.
People came from the country into the city and along the way lost many of their more traditional techniques which were retained in nations like Spain, France and Italy.
Tie this in with being the first nation to industrialise food production and combine it with a general Victorian sense of anything sensual being seen as vulgar and one begins to understand where the stereotype came from.
After this, rationing during WW2, though actually healthy for the nation, put the final nail in the coffin of British food until Elizabeth David planted the seeds of good eating at home again. An entire generation of people grew up thinking meat paste sandwiches were acceptable.
Edit: postscript: supermarkets are also terrible for British food. We have thousands of varieties of apple, supermarkets sell 4/5. There are a vast number of traditional cheeses in the U.K, but again, hardly any of these are sold in supermarkets.
I would add by saying in the 70s and 80s, although way before your’s beloved was born, the UK was a very different place with many on the poverty line and very cheap alternative foods were being sold and distributed to supermarkets and schools and this stuff was rancid. Imitation meats etc. I would say in the last 15 years or so the UK has started taking cooking a lot more seriously with shops being filled with exotic cook books and cooking shows being common place on the telly. There has been a very evident bump up in quality during my life time and I would implore anyone to go out and give the UK’s cuisine another try. Don’t forget Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver are from the UK too!
I will go ahead and talk from person experience. I’ve travelled a lot and the ones that prepretuate the British food myth the most are Europeans and Americans. I would like to state that its all well and good to push that rhetoric but I have vivid memories of crap meat tasting of chemicals in America and pretty underwhelming culinary experiences in Europe too. BLAND would be the title for both sides of the pond’s food and I am curious where they get their forwardness to complain about the British food they never ate.
Rant aside here is a list of the foods you need to try before you can confidently say you don’t like British food;
Conversion by food
To start with I’ve never seen fish-eye pie or jellied eel being sold anywhere and I guarantee if they truly were unironically consumed that those people have been kissing the inside of a coffin for the last century because there is no one who messes with those atrocities.
I would say, although I don’t have a sweet tooth, our confectionaries are unbeatable and no country has much on them but for the sake of ease of reading I will break the categories into Savoury and Sweet
I suppose its more of a way of eating than actually a specific type of food. This is a place you can get a roast dinner style buffet of several meats, cured meats, sauces and vegetables.
Cornish pasties are a regional speciality of Cornwall, the most southernly section on the United Kingdom and the next to-be England divorcee. This pastry is filled with beef skirt, root vegetables and black pepper and has no right being as tasty as it is, it really is quite special. You won’t find anything like the quality you’ll get at a traditional cornish pasty shop in Cornwall but if you can’t make the trip down there then one of the several new chain stores will give you a glipse of the glory that be.
English Breakfast: Sausages!
Made up mainly of Sausages, Bacon, Beans and Egg with all the other trappings (mushrooms, bread, tomato etc.) this is a magic combination and the taste is has quite an emotional hold over the nation. This is probably my number one.
The “all american breakfast” adds a pancake and a hash-brown and suddenly its a new entity. The colony complex is strong.
British sausages are like no other, they’re often heavily spiced and just have some kind of magic on them. A far cry from the German SaltDog or the american paste-in-the-shape-of-a-sausage. So it doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to put this masterful meat phallus into a struggle food like casserole. A true romeo and juliet story. I always put mine with a small wheelbarrow load of chilli sauce-age.
Sick of sausages yet? You won’t be. And if you allow the Koreans their Kochujang, the Japanese their Miso paste and the Thai their lemon grass, you would be hypocritical at this point to criticize. This simple but effective combination is truly a powerful thing. Put some mustard gravy on top and you have reached a higher level of culinary consciousness.
Scotch eggs, a london invention, go figure, is a full boiled egg in SAUSAGE MEAT with breadcrumbs on top, the british onigiri. it. is. so. good. and so unknown.
As for Melton Mowbrays, try one. Older men seem to like them.
That’s right bitch, Sandwich just a stupid name but it was also the name of an title in Sandwich,Kent…. UK! Mr. Montagu, thank you for inventing the sandwich and in a perfect world silencing all British food haters who have been unknowingly consuming a British masterpiece since their first day at school, fuck you.
There are so many more I could tell you but I am losing the will so I’ll stop there.
The purple boi you all can’t resist. You know this is the best chocolate. Half of Nestle is British too but we are already winning too hard, I’ll digress
A mix of cream,custard,jelly,fruit, sponge fingers and fortified wine. If you heard angels singing- it might just be your British food Epiphany.
Eton mess is meringue, strawberrys and cream and got it’s name for being characteristically messy. Bit of a lady killer and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t get to you too.
As american as apple pie does make me laugh as the apple pie predates the united states but in a way due to its origins in Europe and its eventual spread in the new world, I guess it is as american as apple pie. Q.E.D not that american.
I could do this all day- our’s too, wabbit.
To conclude this article, it is all to be taken light heatedly, it is just food and we aren’t the best by far. And comments are always welcome. To be honest, in spite of everything I wrote, I’d write off all my nation’s food for Korean, Thai and Indian any day, their food is truly the best.
This piece came from a place in my mind over many years having to listen to Americans and Europeans go on and on about how bad our food is as they sit down to their own sweet good in total ignorant bliss. for the ones whom have lived or stayed in the UK and complain about the food of the places they’ve been I always feel like saying “well yeah, you ate a *something at wetherspoons for fuck’s sake” or “you bought powered mash from Iceland, what did you expect, mong”. What I’m trying to say is, if you make bad choices, you’ll get bad results so if you’re going to hate on British food, at least try a good quality dish and not base anything on your FOBby mistakes. But I think like a lot of very religious people have a negative opinion of romantic contact; if you go into something “knowing you’ll hate it, your ego won’t let you like it so its on you.
So if you don’t like British food, thats fine and I respect that, but I won’t accept your opinion until you have truly had it and not just repeating the international airhead mantra.
Okay finally on a light note!
My Tokyo British food recommendations. 
Obviously, with the image of British food and the Japaese reluctance for individual opinion, there arent many restaurants in Tokyo to try these things
Probably the most aesthetic one, Japanese style British food with standard mega Japanese price markup and size down but one of the best you’re gonna get in this area. The website‘s cute too.
An actually British company, they’re a beer company with a cute mascot. Just starting their Sunday roast which might be worth checking out!
Thanks for reading my rant post-
Until next time