Lonely Planet Writer

Is British food the world's worst?

The stuff we do when traveling -- like go to museums, walk through markets, see statues, walk up mountains – is what I call the ‘space between meals.’ For many travelers (if you consider the almost embarrassing devotion to food seen on TV travel shows or travel mags these days), it's the dining experience that anchors our day on the road. We plan travel around the meals. Or for the meals. And often our eating experiences are the most memorable of a trip.

Photo: jaakko.hakulinen

Sometimes the food we find traveling is plain weird. Cambodian menus include spiders, Vietnamese ones cats, Chinese go for pig faces, Oaxacans crickets – and Colombians put cheese in their hot chocolate. It’s all fair game, whether you eat or not.

But what’s the worst?

It seems an easy, and over-shot, target but a recent Lonely Planet staff poll has ignored the site's recent praise and deemed that the world's worst food is from Britain.

By a landslide.

A few weeks ago, a food poll sent around the LP offices in Melbourne, Oakland, London and the one-guy office in New York, and only one office didn't care enough about its food scene to vote for it.

Can you guess which? (Hint: Not Oakland.)

The final poll put New York City/Singapore tied atop the list for best dining experiences, followed by Rome/Paris tied at second, then a predictable three-way tie of Oakland/Melbourne/San Francisco.

What does it say that the London office didn’t think to vote for itself?

Perhaps that even in Britain, the stand-by specialties of eel pie, spotted dick, haggis, crappit head, Scottish eggs (as seen on The Office) toad in the hole are still awaiting their renaissance?

I think I can wait.

Keith eats a Scottish egg

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The 'best' British regional food is bravely featured in LP's '1000 Ultimate Travel Experiences' book.