Proper pub food should be enjoyed from a pub! That’s what my British friend told me when I mentioned that I absolutely needed to try every traditional British meal during my time here. I’d like to think I live a pretty healthy and active lifestyle, so going out to eat is not something I do often. However, this is definitely as much of a need as a want.
What better place to start than fish and chips? Around the corner from my accommodation is a place called Stick or Twist, a pub under the JD Wetherspoon chain. They serve a variety of real ales and pub classics such as bangers and mash, British steak and kidney pudding, and (of course!) fish and chips.
Since I turned 21 this past February, going to bars and pubs is a fairly new thing for me. I walked up to the bar to order my food and the bartender asked me for my table number. First mistake. I hadn’t even checked, so I walked back like a proper rookie and told everyone to remember we were table #39. I repeated the table number to myself all the way to the bar. Since the freshly battered cod and chips came with a drink, I also ordered a glass of Strongbow Dark Fruit cider.
I’ve had fish and chips before, but not from a British pub. The serving was HUGE! The fish took up nearly half of my plate and came with a side of thick-cut fries (the British call “chips”) and some mushy peas. The batter lightly coating the fillet had a satisfying crisp. When paired with the soft, warm bite of the chips, it was magical.
What can I say about mushy peas? Well, they’re mushy and reminded me of baby food. It wasn’t gross or inedible, it just wasn’t my favorite thing on the plate. I think I’ll opt out of the mushy peas and go for regular peas instead! Next time I eat fish and chips, it’ll be from a street vendor in London!
Over the weekend, a few friends and I explored the northern Yorkshire towns of Harrogate and Knaresborough. We decided to grab a bite from another pub, (there are pubs everywhere) called The Old Bell. Learning from my first experience at Stick or Twist, I walked up to the bartender, said my table number, and ordered a steak and ale pie like a pro.
What’s a steak and ale pie, you ask? I had no idea either, so I Googled it. It’s essentially a beef pot pie without the veggies inside. This dish came with a side of roasted carrots and parsnips, and some “chips,” which were even thicker than the ones I got in my fish and chips. I had never been more full from eating a slice of pie in my life! I couldn’t even finish my fries.
All in all, my first couple British meals have been delicious! Although I don’t think I could eat these meals every day due to how heavy they are, I could certainly see myself craving them whenever I need some comfort food.
Erin de Leon is a double major in dance and kinesiology. She is studying Fall semester at Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom