15 Regional Treats Worth Traveling For
Take the next exit off the fish and chip highway and head for the winding country roads of British grub – you’ll soon find yourself in an amazing lost world of weird and wonderful regional dishes. Yes, this is the land of Singin’ Hinnies and Pond Pudding, where rascals are fat and fish pies have faces. Tuck in.
Walk into a Yorkshire bakery and ask for a fat rascal and they won’t call the police. They’ll direct you towards the nearest plate of buttery tea cakes with Eric Cartman-style faces staring back at you. The faces of these Fat Rascal cakes are made with currants and nuts.
Image by Matt G
A load of Norwegian sailors arrived at Liverpool’s docks during the C19th and brought a dish called ‘labskause’ with them. This was a no-nonsense stew made from meat, veg and potatoes – sometimes adding biccys to thicken things up a bit. The locals acquired a taste for it and this has become the city’s adopted dish. Variations of Scouse are available from most pubs, with the veggie version known as a Blind Scouse. Aye, it’s also where the Scouser nickname comes from.
Image by Kayles Sunerton
Loads of places have variations on the chip butty – you’ll find chip barms, chip batches and chip pieces if you look hard enough – but none of these can compete with the power and glory of Yorkshire’s own Scollop Butty. They push the boundaries of chip butty technology by battering the chips before frying them and whacking it into a bap. So simple. So genius.
Image by Emily Bradley-Stocks
If you’re drunk and you’re meandering around the late night streets of Oldham then you’ll need to be clutching a Rag Pie. This is a fantastically stodgy mix of meat and onions which is tucked snuggly inside a suet pudding wrapper. It gets its name from the rags that local textile workers used to use for boiling it. These days they use new-fangled things called…saucepans.
Image by ‘elizabeth’
This isn’t just a pudding – it’s more of a pudding experience. It’s a traditional dish made by sticking a whole lemon, together with butter and sugar, inside a suet wrapping. It’s then boiled to create this weird brown pudding ball. But what about the pond, you ask? Wells, stick your fork into this bad boy and a tangy lemony sauce comes pouring out. That’s pudding showmanship, that is.
Image by Maria Yeagley
Ham and Pease Pudding
This is Newcastle’s very own ‘Marmite’ dish – you’ll either love it or you’ll find it’s taste offensive. In essence, it’s a smooth paste made from split yellow peas which have been boiled and then mashed. It’s then smeared over a big slab of bread, usually to form part of a bacon or ham butty. Be prepared for an extreme taste reaction.
Image by Corey Dixon
Half and Half
In posh restaurants they’d call this something fancy like ‘hybrid cooking’. In Cardiff, it’s called ‘half and half’; that’s a bed of half rice and half chips. This east meets west layer of stodge is used to soak up whatever saucy stuff you fancy on top – usually curry or sweet and sour options are available. To blend in with the locals, use the correct Cardiffian pronunciation: ‘arf and arf’.
Image by Kathryn Gaston
What you’ve got here is the ultimate in convenience foods. It’s a suet dumpling with meat at one end and jam at the other. So you start chomping at the meaty side and you work your way towards over to the sticky goodness of the jam pudding end. It used to be the scran of choice for farm workers in the C19th but you’ll still find it sold at bakers and stores around Bedfordshire.
Image by Fancy Bakery
It sounds like a death metal band, but this is actually a cracking Scottish fish soup. It’s a thick gloopy mix of smoked haddock, leek and potatoes which you use to dunk big slabs of bread into. In recent years it’s been dangerously close to becoming fashionable, with Cullen Skink starting to appear on trendy restaurant menus up and down the country.
Image by ‘whatevermarcus’
What better way to enjoy a fish pie than by staring into the eyes of the fish you’re chewing on? Yep, this is the beauty of the Stargazy Pie in which the heads of pilchards are poked through the upper crust of the pie, allowing them to gaze longingly up at the heavens… or, more often that not, your face. Inside you’ll find a mix of different fish, along with grated egg.
Image by Tom Kitchin
It’s the biscuit that sounds more like a 1930’s music hall act, but the ‘singing’ here refers to the sweet music made by sizzling lard as these fellas are cooked on a hotplate. They’re a no-frills form of girdle cake made with buttermilk and currants. ‘Hinny’ is also a term of endearment in this neck of the woods.
Image by Samantha Ryan
It sounds like the chummy name for a football pundit – but it’s not. This is a beast which hails from the north east of England and it’s made by slamming pieces of chicken or pork in a deep fryer, coating them in a creamy sauce and rolling them in loads of melty cheddar cheese. And what you’ve got is a parmo – a chicken parmo and chips packs an awesome 2,600 calories. Go easy on that garlic sauce.
Image by Vicky Charles
There were angry demos by Preston North End fans when caterers stopped selling these on the terraces. It’s something of a pie oddity in the fact that it doesn’t contain any meat; just onions and potatoes. They reckon it was created for Lancashire’s Catholic community so they could feast on pies on days when meat was forbidden. Thanks to the fan furore, the Butter Pie is finally back on sale at the Deepdale ground. Phew.
Image by Christopher Ross
Don’t let the fact that this is Gordon Brown’s favourite dish put you off. This is basically a Scottish take on the English Bubble and Squeak – it’s just got a cooler name and a load more cheese. It’s potato, cabbage and onion mashed up and cooked before a layer of cheese is slapped on top and the whole thing baked. The ace name comes from the noise made when mashing it in a pot…apparently.
Image by Tiziana Borg
Undoubtedly, the most perfect sounding dish for a pirate. It’s a Cornish type of cheese which is made using stingy nettles. The leaves are wrapped around the cheese and then left to go mouldy for a few weeks, giving it a delicious mushroom-y tang. Not to worry though, the only thing you could really get stung by is the price (as the nettles are frozen to remove the needle like barbs).
Image by ‘matterialist‘
Featured Image – Stargazy Pie by smalldridge.virgo