Finding superlative examples of Britain's national dish isn't as easy as tracking down great cheese in Paris or sublime sushi in Japan.
Serving originally as cheap and filling fodder for the country's burgeoning 19th-century working class, most of the 250 million portions of fish and chips sold today by Britain's 10,000 or so vendors of the dish - "chippies" to locals - remain unappetizing concoctions of gray-colored fish in soggy batter, accompanied by anemic chips and flaccid little sachets of ketchup.
Little wonder that so many first time visitors to the UK wonder what all the fuss is about - never mind where to find mouthwash strong enough to remove the taste of stale cooking fat from their mouths.
That's a shame, because some establishments are great exceptions to the mediocre rule.
Discover Britain's 10 best fish and chip shops on CNN Travel.
Nothing wrong with a mug of builder's brew and a biscuit. But when you need a little extra, this city has you covered
Loading up on scones, cholesterol-heavy clotted cream and liters of tea is an English tradition that dates back to the days of Dickensian urchins and Queen Victoria.
But your average London tea experience can be a stuffy event, all ancient china and tedious rituals.
Linnie Rawlinson is the Special Projects Editor in CNN's London bureau.
As the temperature falls and the leaves start to crackle under foot, British minds turn towards comfort food – and there’s nothing more comforting than a traditional suet pudding.
Suet, as in, beef fat?
In a dessert?
Why yes, actually.
And do you know what? It’s really rather good.
Behold Scottish breakfast, which was easily accessible to me all last week when I was trouncing about the West Highlands on my first proper vacation in five years. It's laden with streaky bacon, sausage, and black pudding - not as traditional as haggis, but the hotel wasn't keen on the local offerings. It also has lightly roasted garden-fresh tomatoes, a mushroom that flavor-wise could easily have doubled as beef tenderloin, a tattie scone (not unlike a potato pancake) and a fried egg straight out of a chicken somewhere in the immediate vicinity.
Now, back home, I pine for this breakfast. I sit on windowsills, staring out into the middle distance and dreaming of the day that this breakfast and I can be reunited. I have stopped just short of composing a mournful, touching love ballad starring this breakfast, but I'm fairly certain that this here counts as a mash note.
5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
By Jove, British food isn't exactly the most popular kid on the culinary block.
Many associate the traditional fare with heavy roasts, bangers and mash, beans and toast, and lots and LOTS of puddings (sweet and savory) - with nary a salad in sight.
What You Don't Know About British Food: Chris Rendell