Who Eats Best? America vs France vs United Kingdom:
Food. We love it almost as much as we love music (sometimes even more). We love to cook and we love to eat. Whether trying new dishes and restaurants, or sticking to the classics that we know we enjoy, we will almost never turn down the opportunity to get on some grubbin’. With that said, we have compiled a short list of the similarities and differences between English, French, and American cuisine.
*For an added treat, we have also put together a small catalogue of some of the best places to chow down in the cities that we’ve visited*
Many ingredients that Americans have grown to expect to find in their food (like hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, etc.) simply aren’t legal in the United Kingdom, France, and many other European nations. Instead they use natural or organic ingredients.
American food manufacturers tend to put a lot of sugar in everything! Salad dressing, condiments, vitamins, and even bread! In Europe, sugar only goes into things that are meant to be sweet.
Most everyone that makes fries serves the thick cut variation and occasionally curly fries. In the states we have both of the above in addition to shoe string fries, waffle fries, home fries, thin-sliced fries, and standard fries. Fun fact: In the UK, french fries are called chips, and potato chips are called crisps
The British seem to be a little skimpy on their seasonings in restaurant dishes. They simply don’t add as much salt, pepper, or anything else for that matter.
English breakfast => Two fried eggs, toast, baked beans, bacon, sausage, whole sautéed mushrooms, and sliced sautéed tomatoes, served with tea or a latte; American breakfast => Scrambled eggs with cheese, hashbrowns, bacon, pancakes, buttered toast, served with coffee or orange juice; French breakfast => A croissant and espresso.
Speaking of bacon…American bacon is all pork belly and tends to be fattier than British bacon, which is the perfect blend of pork loin and pork belly.
British and French milk doesn’t need to be refrigerated until after being opened. Same with their eggs.
British and French varieties of butter and cheese are more creamy and flavorful than their American counterparts.
Americans have McDonalds, Burger King, White Castle, Chick Fil A, Wendy’s, etc…The British and French have Kebob shops and fried chicken joints. THEY. ARE. EVERYWHERE.
Try and find an American that doesn’t lather up their food in some kind of sauce. It’s in our nature. Turns out to be the same for the British. They just like different sauces. Brits love gravy, brown sauce (sort of like steak sauce, but not very good…), and Peri Peri sauce (credited to Portuguese explorers and made using the Bird’s Eye Chili which is native to South Africa). We love ranch and hot sauce. We both love ketchup, mayo, and mustard, though English mustard tends to have an after-burn reminiscent of horseradish or wasabi.
Portion size…Americans just eat too much food. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s the truth. On the upside, we’ve all lost some weight!
America takes the gold in food variety and overall restaurant satisfaction. France (at least Paris) follows closely with silver, and England…well…let’s just call it Bronze. Don’t get me wrong. There are some great Indian, French, Spanish, Italian, Kurdish, and Greek restaurants in the UK and France. But only in America will you find all of the above plus New York and Chicago pizza, true southern (Memphis, North Carolina, and Texas) Barbeque, traditional Mexican, Latin American street food, hot wings, Maryland crab, and much, much more.
Last but not least, let’s talk about…Beer. The best pubs are most definitely in the UK. The best beer, the best cocktails, the best bartenders, and a healthy respect for the potential dangers of alcohol. France follows closely with fantastic wine at fantastic prices. Which means the US of A takes third…though I’ve had several people tell me they love American bourbon and American lager. So, you know. There’s that.
Now that we’ve established our similarities and differences, here are our personal recommendations for restaurants and pubs to check out when you can:
Manchester – Food => Trof, The Soup Kitchen, Pound Bakery, Market Street Vendors; Pubs => The Whiskey Jar, Guilty By Association
Sheffield – Food => The York, Pound Bakery, The Great Gatsby, Patiserrie Valerie, Kurdistan Restaurant, Arusuvai, Pizza Express; Pubs => The Green Room, Brew Dog
London – Food => Pizza Express, Patiserrie Valerie Vapiano; Pubs => Electric Social, Hand In Hand, Troubadour
Leeds – (hopefully this list will expand as we continue our stay in Leeds) Food => Pound Bakery; Pubs => Bierkeller
Until next time, mind the gap and keep to the left.