Japanese people seem to love telling me that British food is terrible, and the only good thing we have going for us is fish and chips. No one can believe that I actually get a bit tired of Japanese food and pine for my favourite dishes from home! Perhaps to try and change this perception, the British Embassy has been undertaking a campaign called ‘Food is GREAT!’ (for Great Britain, geddit?), and our Japanese writer decided to put some of their recipes to the test.

What do you think of when someone says English food? One of our lovely lady reporters here at RocketNews24 had memories from her trip to the UK of things like scones, tarts, and other baked sweets that go deliciously with afternoon tea. But when it comes to actual meals… apparently nothing left such a deep impression. And I can tell you that many people I’ve spoken to have said that the absolute worst thing about their trips to the UK was the food!

  • Let’s make some British food!

No matter how unfavourable the verdict on English food is in Japan, recently it’s starting to become more fashionable thanks to the influence of celebrity chefs such as the creative Heston Blumenthal, everyone’s favourite naked chef Jamie Oliver, and domestic goddess Nigella Lawson.

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Recently, as part of their ‘Food is GREAT’ campaign, the British Embassy in Tokyo has been putting up recipes on the website Cookpad, and all the dishes look scrumptious! But with what she’d heard…our writer felt that seeing isn’t believing, and that she really needed to put them to the test. And so she did!

  • Deciding the menu

Our writer thought it would be best to have a real life British person present, so she invited British gourmet Charlie to help her think of a good menu. There are many traditional recipes on Cookpad, but also many things he’d never actually tried before, so together they decided not to make standards like shepard’s pie or famous baked goods such as scones, but some British food that even a British person had never eaten!

In the end they went for ‘lobster & mushroom salad’ as a starter, ‘simple smoked salmon and crab terrine’ for the main, and for dessert a ‘rhubarb & strawberry trifle’.

  • Lobster and mushroom salad

For starters was a fancy salad with marinade. It’s fairly difficult for a salad with quite a few ingredients and steps: marinate the mushrooms, boil the lobster, make the dressing, and prepare the salad. And the recipe called for 50 grams, or 5 large spoonfuls of sugar in the marinade sauce, which was a bit dubious, so they decided to use just half that amount.

Charlie says:

“The combination of lobster, mushroom, and salad is a good one, but the marinade sauce was too sweet. I thought maybe you’d used Thai chili sauce. You could stiffen up the taste with some fish sauce instead of salt, and a herb like coriander.”



  • Simple smoked salmon and crab terrine

A stylish dish of tinned crab fluffed up with cream cheese and wrapped in smoked salmon. It’s super simple to make but looks very classy. The original recipe didn’t include any salt, but you can season the salmon with salt if you like. Although they followed the recipe to the letter, the crab and cream cheese mix ended up quite loose, and they came to the conclusion that if they’d added about 50 grams more cheese it would probably have stuck together better.

Charlie says:

“It’s a bit different to how I imagined salmon terrine, but the creamy texture goes deliciously well with bread! We eat a lot of smoked salmon in the UK.”




  • Rhubarb and strawberry trifle

A traditional British dessert of sponge cake soaked in an alcoholic syrup, custard, jam, fruit, and fresh cream arranged in layers. Its main accent is a compote combining rhubarb and strawberry, two fruits that are eaten across Europe from the beginning of spring to early summer (Actually, rhubarb is really a vegetable but it’s used as a fruit, kind of like the opposite of a tomato). Fresh rhubarb is hard to get your hands on in Japan, so they used 250 grams of rhubarb jam that consisted of rhubard, granulated sugar, and honey.

Charlie says:

“It’s an interesting idea to put white chocolate in the custard. The tangy-ness of the compote and the sweetness of the cream are a fantastic mix! I also liked the crunchiness of the almonds on top. And the rhubarb is deliciously bittersweet! Rhubarb crumble, a baked pie of rhubarb with a crumbly batter of butter and flour on the top, is a popular dessert in the UK.”




  • Final thoughts

Since they’d got a hold of some top-quality ingredients, everything turned out super delicious. However, our writer and Charlie both thought that there is ‘something missing from British food’. Our Japanese writer thinks that this missing piece is probably ‘umami’, the vague Japanese word for a pleasant savoury taste, and now recognized as one of the five basic tastes. She thinks that if there were more spice in traditional British foods, they might be more satisfying. But still, they both thought these recipes were pretty darn good!

Unfortunately what I think she’s really saying is that British food is too bland. Well, I suppose my tastebuds must be used to it, because I still stand by my opinion that British food is way better than Japanese people give it credit for!

Source: The British Embassy Official Kitchen at Cookpad
Lobster and mushroom salad
Smoked salmon and crab turine
Rhubarb and strawberry trifle
Images: SoraNews24

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