Spotted Dick, Winkles, & Jellied Eels — Delicious Yet Suspicious British Dishes [PHOTOS]
If you are lucky enough to attend the Olympics in London this summer, then you’re bound to experience some of the traditional British fare.
The worst part about visiting a foreign country is not having any clue about what food is safe to eat, so pay attention! We’re about to school you on commonwealth cuisine.
According to the In London Guide, jellied eels first became popular in the East End of London in the 19th century “because they were all that could survive in the heavily polluted Thames (river).” The eels were cooked in gelatin to prevent the pollution from getting into the fish. We really hope that the eel served in London today doesn’t come from a polluted river, but if you are offered a chance to try this traditional dish, you should at least take a bite—one bite.
Our first thought when looking at this dish? That doesn’t look like pudding. But we’ll keep an open mind. What are the ingredients? British television channel, “Channel 4,” lists the contents in a home cooking recipe on their website. Among them are: onions, milk, oatmeal, nutmeg—oh and 960 ml of pigs blood. Yes, black pudding is also known as blood pudding and it is essentially a sausage made of dried blood. According to the website, Manchester UK, it is actually a delicacy in the northwest region of England.
What in the world is a winkle? We’re glad you asked. Essentially escargot is to France as winkles or periwinkles are to England. According to the website Aquiziam, the common periwinkle also known as a small sea snail, is a “popular treat” for the locals and is often served with salt, garlic and butter for a delicious meal.
While this dish traditionally hails from Scotland, it has gained quite a bit of popularity in other parts of the United Kingdom. According to TNT Magazine, London is one of the biggest cities to receive the exported sheep stomach. The magazine quotes a spokesperson from the Haggis-producing company Macsween who says: “English people are really enjoying it too, especially in London. We sell thousands of pounds of the stuff down there—they order it in huge volumes.”
This dish may have a strange name, but it’s actually a pretty normal concept. Spotted Dick—it’s ok, you can laugh—is a steamed suet pudding. What is suet? Ok, so here’s where things get weird. According to Food.com, it is “a form of animal fat similar to lard,” but it’s actually a pretty common ingredient in British dishes. The spots come from pieces of dried fruit that are put into the pudding. Why call it a “dick?” The world may never know.
Now, we have to give credit where credit is due. The British may have some weird delicacies, but they’ve also got some pretty sweet treats. Here’s a gallery of culinary delights you will never want to stop eating, courtesy of our friends across the pond.