Food Differences in the UK and Canada

I can’t believe I’m leaving England in 5 days! I’ve already been here for 3 months and I can honestly say November flew by in an instant. I’m trying to hold onto every last experience and memory here and cherish everything that I took for granted throughout the term. All the little things, like being able to walk to my class in three minutes and hanging out at friends’ rooms spontaneously, are going to be missed but I think I’ll save that for a different post in the future.

I thought it would be interesting to comment on my favourite topic: FOOD! My eating habits here haven’t been 100% healthy but that’s alright. Let’s just say that’s what exchange is for. Maybe.

I’m going to briefly talk about random things I observed or experienced while in England that are related to food:

On Grocery Stores

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1) Eggs are not stored in fridges
They are sold on a non-refrigerated shelf beside all the other non-chilled goods. I just don’t get it.

2) Packaged food seem slightly healthier
I find that some packaged foods and canned soups have less preservatives in the ingredients list. The varied canned soups I’ve had tasted less salty and contained more substantial pieces of vegetables in it (unlike Campbell’s soup).

3) Nutrition labels
I like how nutrition labels explicitly display how many calories each portion is. For example, in a package of cookies, it will tell you the nutrition facts for each individual cookie. In Canada, the way they display portions are inconsistent and are difficult to read. Not many people are willing to put in the effort to measure how many pieces of chips equals 100g.

4) No 4L jugs of milk available 😦

Restaurants/Shops

1) No need to tip servers
Since servers get paid a decent wage, tips are not mandatory. You only  tip if you think you received excellent service.

2) Sunday Roasts
On Sundays, restaurants offer a discounted price on the classic British roast. This consists of potatoes, vegetables, roast beef, gravy, and Yorkshire pudding (this isn’t the pudding you’re thinking of – it’s bread). Typically it’s about £7-9 ($12-16 CDN) for a plate. Yesterday Michelle, Patrick and I found a place on campus that sold a generous portion of Sunday roast for only £4.40 ($7.90)! Surprisingly, it tasted better than the restaurants we went to previously.

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3) Pasties!
I still don’t know how to pronounce pasties correctly. Is it “pay-stees” or “pah-stees”? A pasty can be found everywhere in the UK and this meaty/vegetable filling enveloped in a buttery flaky pastry is delicious. They’re often no more than £1.30 and are perfect for on the go trips.

Food in General

1) Cadbury chocolate in the UK surpasses Cadbury in Canada in taste
I learned a bunch of cool facts about Cadbury when I went to Cadbury World in Birmingham in November. Since the UK has tight food regulations, chocolate has to have at least 20% cocoa solids, whereas Canada is 10% I believe. Also, Cadbury in Canada isn’t even owned by Cadbury at all! Hershey’s bought the rights to produce products under the Cadbury label for North American consumers while the Cadbury chocolate in the UK is still owned by Cadbury. I dare not tell you how many Cadbury chocolate bars I’m bringing home.

2) Lays chips are called Walkers
Packaging looks extremely similar, but they’re called Walkers in the UK. I haven’t tried Walkers yet but I assume it’s exactly the same as Lays chips.

3) Easy to find non-British food
While classic British food can be found everywhere, the diverse ethnic groups living in England brings food from different cultures. At first I thought it would be difficult to find Asian food in England, but there are a good number of Chinese restaurants in each city. Indian and Thai food is also quite popular too.

4) Afternoon Tea
A lot of British people have afternoon tea. I noticed that I eat a lot more pastries/biscuits and drink more tea for leisure (as opposed to needing the caffeine). The British culture is rubbing off on me, and I love it.

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Time to get working on my paper now. Hope you enjoyed my little blurb about food differences!

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