Birmingham is home to more Michelin-star restaurants than any other city outside of London, but the local delicacies make it a special place to eat. From the iconic balti to orange chips, pikelets and Shrewsbury cakes – in fact, the whole of the West Midlands is full of incredible dishes. But two local delicacies have been rated ‘the worst English foods’.
The eighth worst English food, according to Taste Atlas, is Phall. Invented in Bangladeshi-owned curry houses in Birmingham, it’s often considered the world’s hottest curry. Typically a thick, tomato-based curry made using up to 10 or 12 very hot chillies – with lots of ginger, garlic, fennel, paprika, turmeric and whatever thrown in for good measure – we get this infamous curry won’t be to everyone’s tastes.
But when British cuisine is derided the world over for its lack of flavour, why are we suddenly being attacked for adding too much? Ridiculous! People all over the world now enjoy a phall – you can even experience the ‘phall challenge’ at the Brick Lane Curry House in New York City! But some of the best spots are still in Birmingham, like Balti 2000, Mijan Balti Hut and Balti Queen.
Taste Atlas says: “Phall is the hottest curry in the world, originating from Indian restaurants in the United Kingdom. It is based on lamb or chicken meat, with the addition of tomatoes, ginger, and a combination of numerous fresh and dried hot peppers. Many people say that it is painfully spicy, which isn’t surprising considering that one of the peppers used in phall has a Scoville rating of 1,000,000.”
Sounds delicious to us! But it’s not the only local delicacy to feature highly on the ‘54 Worst Rated English Foods’ list. Coming eleventh is faggots (this is really what it’s called) – the West Midlands meatballs made from minced off-cuts and offal. According to Taste Atlas, “What makes faggots unique is the addition of caul fat (stomach membrane) on the external layer, helping to hold the meat in place.”
Traditionally served with mushy peas, mashed potatoes, and onion gravy, like all good British foods has its origins in WWII rations. It, for various reasons, has fallen out of favour on modern menus, but is still “an inexpensive, yet extremely nutritious dish.” We’re sure it still has its fans (my dad, for one), but it’s not something we’ll be ordering in a hurry.
What are the other worst foods in England?
Unsurprisingly, the top spot went to devilled kidneys, which look and smell as appetising as it sounds. The once popular Victorian breakfast is made by frying lamb kidneys in a sauce of vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and fruit jelly. Second place, however, is a bit more controversial – Marmite. The yeast extract spread – love it or hate it – still fills supermarket shelves all over the country.
Third place went to the traditional Cockney street food item, jellied eels, often served on the side of pie and mash in the East End. Rock cakes, which are like crumbly English cookies, came in fourth. While another controversial pick (especially at Christmas), was Christmas pudding coming in fifth – the festive staple dessert which makes an appearance at every British Christmas dinner.
Taste Atlas’ 20 Worst Rated English Foods
- Devilled Kidneys
- Jellied Eels
- Rock Cakes
- Christmas Pudding
- Pease Pudding
- Lardy Cake
- Devils on Horseback
- Hard Sauce
- Pie Barm
- Peach Melba
- Barm Cake
- Simnel Cake
- Black Pudding
- Egg Sandwich
- Brandy Snaps
To see all 54 of the worst English foods head here.