Sunday, January 30, 2011


I was walking down Portobello Road this afternoon and noticed two Mexican restaurants in the span of two blocks. They stood out to me because Mexican can be really hard to come by in London. Especially compared to Chicago, where the supermarket nearest to my place is actually a Mexican grocery.

All in all, I'd say I eat pretty similarly to the way I did at home but there are certainly some differences. Here are some that come to mind:

  • Cornish Pasties (without an R) - I had no idea what these were before moving but there are entire shops dedicated to selling Cornish Pasties. They're pastries (with an R) filled with meat, potatoes, and onions...and variations on that theme. (Pictured on the right below)

  • Fish and Chips - This is the obvious traditional dish and you can find fish & chips on just about any block. The surprising part to me is that they're always served with a side of peas. Usually mushy ones! (Pictured left above)
  • Meat - Lamb tends to be more common than beef and at a restaurant you would more likely to come across a couple lamb dishes before steak. Rabbit and duck are also common. Oh, and duck confit sandwiches. They even serve these at the deli at work.
  • Baked Beans - Looking past the roasted tomatoes, grilled (and soggy) mushrooms,  "Traditional English Breakfast" comes with a side of baked beans.   Beans in the morning!?!

  • Kebabs - Kebab takeaway shops are everywhere! Rather than pizza or burritos, kebabs are the late night food of choice in London.  There's a great Turkish restaurant near my place called Fez Mangal that has the best kebabs, eggplant salad and hummus around! I usually opt for the healthy-ish version of the kebab but I found this fact pretty interesting (and disgusting!):
    • Nutritionally, the Doner Kebab is one of the unhealthiest fast foods to include in your diet on a regular basis. Food scientists found that the Doner Kebabs they tested contained as much as a wine glass full of cooking oil. 
  • Pub food - In the US, bar food is pretty standard no matter where you go: nachos, wings, burgers and the like. In London, pubs often specialize in a certain cuisine and the food is really great. It always cracks me up to find myself in a pub that serves thai food. 
  • Speaking of thai food,  there are SO many asian restaurants in London. Chinese, thai, sushi, and especially dim sum....they're everywhere you look.
  • Vegetable soup - This is a weird one to me. Vegetable soup is just different here. Instead of a broth with floating vegetables, the soup is usually a big puree that's light orange in color and creamy and smooth and a little bland. 
  • Preservatives - Are far less frequently used. Food tends to be fresher but this means that it goes bad pretty quickly. Most foods purchased at the grocery must be eaten in under a week's time.  I also find that there are a less frozen foods. This makes it pretty tough to get through your groceries when you're living on your own.


  1. I became strangely addicted to the fish and chips and mushy peas. Not good for my diet or cholesterol levels I'm sure :)


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