While most students on exchange are absolutely raving about the food culture overseas, the UK is a bit of another story. The British have a bit of a reputation for bland food, which I have to agree with to some extent. Restaurants and cafes will generally offer the same kind of food as back home; however, coming from Auckland has set my standards quite high. In saying all of that, there have definitely been some perks of living in Glasgow in terms of food and I’ll be sharing some of my personal highlights.
Being an adult and cooking for yourself
Glasgow is one of the cheaper cities to live in the UK, which my bank account is quite grateful for when I go to do my groceries every week. I actually look forward to my weekly grocery shop – not only does it give me a chance to get to know what kind of food Brits eat, but there’s so many cheap options that I’ve become much more comfortable with cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. I’ve never been a particularly good cook, but some of my favourite times in the semester have actually been spent in my kitchen. I almost never cook when I’m home in Auckland but when you’re living in the halls, dinner time in the kitchen feels like its own social affair. Although my cooking isn’t always successful, I’ve definitely enjoyed having the chance to properly cook for myself on a regular basis. One of my personal favourites is a store called Iceland that stocks mostly frozen foods. You can get a frozen pizza there for a pound! Dangerous, but amazing.
What’s a post about Scottish food without mentioning haggis and black pudding?? For those who don’t know, haggis is a pudding made up of various sheep organs (heart, liver & lungs) minced up with onion, oatmeal, salt and spices. Black pudding is a blood sausage made up of pork or beef, pork blood and oatmeal. I tried both in one of my first weeks here and my verdict is that they’re both …okay. Now I know that’s a pretty underwhelming response but personally, I didn’t think they tasted as weird as they sound but I can’t really say they tasted amazing either.
V for Vegetables
Glasgow is known for being one of the most vegan friendly cities in the world and it’s easy to see why. Along every main street you’ll come across a vegetarian or vegan café or restaurant. In fact, there’s a vegan bar right under my accommodation that has jazz sessions every Sunday which I absolutely love. There are ample vegetarian and vegan options in almost every establishment you go to and some of the things I’ve tried have been SO amazing. The peanut butter shortcake in my favourite café Offshore is to die for!
I’ve been considering going vegetarian for a while now but found that it’s been extremely difficult to do so back home, but here in Glasgow, I’ve noticed that I can almost effortlessly avoid meat for days at a time. This change in eating habits has definitely been an unexpected part of my time here but I’ve really enjoyed taking on the challenge of properly committing to going vegetarian.
- Chips & cheese! For some reason people are really into having chips with grated cheese on top, especially after a night out. Strange but also really good.
- Irn-Bru (Iron Brew) – the national soft drink. A weird fizzy orange concoction that the Scots are strangely enthusiastic about. Can’t say that I particularly enjoy it but I do love the fact that Scotland is the only place in the world where Coca-Cola isn’t the top selling soft drink.
- Fish & chips – I’ve noticed a lot of the chips here have been sub-par but I’ve definitely had some excellent fish on the Isle of Skye.
- Tennent’s – it’s not really a true Scottish experience if you don’t go for the occasional pint down at the pub. My go-to beer is a pint of Tennent’s Lager. Kind of like the Speights equivalent in Scotland. It’s brewed locally in Glasgow and I have some very cherished memories of chilled nights out with a pint.
Classes have now finished, as well as my Easter break. Time to actually hit the books and study for exams! 😦 As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you guys have about Scotland and my time here!