Fish & chips
Dining in the United Kingdom varies drastically.
In many ways, it is the most formal country in the world when it comes to eating;
however for most of the population, they're a far cry from formality.
While the formality exists, for the most part there are few dining rules one must
follow in the United Kingdom. The most important
points to remember are that posture at the table is very important and eating with
the knife in the right hand and fork in the left is a must. The rest of the rules
are fairly common in most cultures: don't eat until everyone has been served,
don't eat with your hands, and when finished, place your fork and knife together.
The Brits are fairly accepting of differences and
pointing out a special diet you are on or a dietary restriction is well accepted
and catered to (if you give them advance warning). Likewise, not taking a dish due
to personal tastes is accepted, however don't make a fuss of your preference
and politely ask for another dish. Also, while you are expected to arrive on time
and, if dining in someone's home, to bring a gift, forgetting these will not
make a Brit banish you forever.
If eating in a restaurant, the host typically pays for everyone, however some groups
don't follow these rules, especially among the younger generation or in informal
gatherings. If your meal is at a pub and followed by drinks, it is customary for
each person to buy a "round" (or a drink for everyone), which is later
returned as each person is expected to buy a "round" in turn.
When eating at a sit down restaurant with a server, you should tip about 10% of
the bill or just round up. In bars, if keeping a tab, round up when settling the
The United Kingdom offers drinks from every part
of the world, particularly given the fact that the country is a growing immigrant
destination. One of the more popular non-alcoholic drinks is tea, which is typically
served with milk. There is also coffee, soft drinks, juices, milk, and others.
The most authentically British drink is alcoholic
however: bitter (pale ale). A bitter is a beer commonly served in pubs, but other
beers, like lagers, stouts, and other ales are also served. In addition to these
beers, hard liquors, wines, and other alcoholic beverages are also widely available.
Generally speaking, the tap water is safe to drink in the
United Kingdom, but check with locals for any particular regional differences.
Also, many people may have troubles adjusting to the local tap water, as it will
most certainly be different from what your system is used to.