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Food and eating

Did you know that the most popular dish in the UK is actually Chicken Tikka Masala (an English version of an Indian dish)?

Because the UK is a multicultural society, there are many different varieties of food on offer in supermarkets and restaurants – and Bournemouth is no different!

It’s much easier to find a Chinese, Italian or Indian restaurant than one that serves traditional British food!

If you want to sample proper English food, you need to go to a quality restaurant or stay with a host family.

Typical British foods

  • Cooked breakfast (often called ‘a full English’): sausages, bacon, eggs, baked beans, mushrooms and fried bread. Most people in the UK will only eat this kind of breakfast at the weekend as a special treat. More usually we eat toast with butter and jam, or cereal with milk.
  • Fish and chips: fish deep-fried in batter, served with thick potato chips and usually garnished with salt and vinegar. A popular side dish is ‘mushy peas’. There are fish and chip shops everywhere you go in Bournemouth, but the quality of the food varies. Often local people have a favourite fish and chip shop where they always go because they prefer the food. Why not ask your British neighbours or some British friends on your course if there is a particular fish and chip shop that they could recommend to you?
  • Roast dinner: oven roasted meat (beef, pork, lamb or chicken) with roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy.
  • Sausages and mash: usually pork sausages with puréed potato and meat gravy
  • Baked beans on toast: haricot beans in tomato sauce on buttered, toasted bread
  • Marmite: a savoury yeast spread to put on toast and butter – the advert says you either love it or hate it... and it’s true (most international students hate it!)
  • Cream tea: tea with milk, scones (a type of sweet bread) with jam (normally strawberry) and thick cream (normally clotted).

How we eat

  • In the UK we usually eat breakfast at home before we go to work or study.
  • At about 1pm we have a quick sandwich for lunch, often ‘on the run' or at our desks.
  • Tea and a snack (usually biscuits) happens mid-afternoon.
  • Between 6pm and 7pm we have dinner, the main, cooked, meal of the day.


Eating in restaurants can be very expensive in the UK. Many places in Bournemouth do however offer special lunch menus which are cheaper. In the evening, a starter and main course in a mid-price restaurant will cost you £15 on average and a bottle of wine normally costs about £15.

If you plan to eat dinner in a restaurant for dinner you should normally expect to arrive between 7pm and 9pm. Restaurants often stop serving at 9.30pm. Some restaurants are closed on Sundays. Many pubs serve food (‘pub grub’) throughout the day.

Takeaway meals are very popular, and a lot cheaper. A large ‘kebab’ (flat bread filled with grilled meat and salad) will cost approximately £5. A large pizza will cost on average £10 and can be shared between two people. Takeaway meals can be collected from the restaurant or delivered to your home. Check delivery charges!