Canteen cuisine – what food can you expect at a UK university?


There are many reasons why international students opt to come to the United Kingdom to do their postgraduate studies. The UK is renowned worldwide for its excellent academic standards not to mention its great heritage, beautiful countryside, outstanding architecture and lively nightlife, but one thing that’s almost guaranteed NOT to be the reason for coming to the UK is the reputation of its cuisine!






While Spain has its paella and tapas, Italy its homemade pastas and pizzas, Greece its stuffed vine leaves and souvlaki, and France too many gastronomic delights to mention – what is the UK known for? The first few dishes to spring to mind are pie and chips, fish and chips, sausage and chips… er that would be pretty much anything with chips then.

These are a few of our favourite things!

And apparently the nation’s favourite dish is… wait for it… chicken tikka masala – this in itself poses two questions – 1) Where are the chips? And, 2) If our favourite meal is an Indian dish rather than a British dish – what does that say about the state of our food in general?

So, if you are an international student about to move to the UK – you are no doubt feeling really excited and maybe slightly apprehensive about moving to a new country and starting a new course. You’ll be experiencing a whole load of new things, living in a new place, meeting new people and learning new things – and the last thing you need to be worrying about is what you are going to be eating for the next twelve months!

Food glorious food?

But fear not, you will not have to exist on a diet of fried food, rubbery pasta, dry chicken, fatty meat and mushy veg for a year. Food in the UK has improved ten-fold over the last few years, with the rise of the celebrity chefs, a massive public interest in organic, fresh, locally grown produce, free-range high-quality meat and fish – the food has never tasted so good – and this is reflected in the uni canteens too. And last but not least, the UK is the only country in the world where you can eat a HEALTHY pizza with perfectly balanced nutrients !

When the chips are down…

Gone are the days of chips, chips and more chips – although obviously there are times when only chips will do – and for those occasions you’ll please to know that chips are still very much available!

Nowadays canteens offer everything from the humble jacket potato with delish fillings to sushi, salad bars, paninis, fresh-filled pasta, homemade cakes and fair-trade coffee, and they aim to cater for all dietary requirements, vegan, vegetarian, halal, organic, fair-trade etc. And for those times when you’re not eating at your uni – Britain now has so many fab cafes, bistros, bars and restaurants with fantastic food, your UK eating experience should be a pleasant surprise!

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