Food That British Expats Miss When They Live Abroad

by Editorial Team | March 14th, 2023 | Cooking Basics

Millions of British individuals have decided to live in foreign countries for an extended period, or even to emigrate fully.

The Office of National Statistics estimated there were about 784,900 British citizens living in the EU in 2017. But, countries across the world have expat communities made up of people working out contracts, living as residents or retirees.

One thing that links all these expats is the love for food in their home country. As much as they might love the weather and local culture in their new home, there will be times when they just want some Monster Munch.

Where do the British like to move to?

The British seem to pop up all across the planet, but the most popular places to move to include the US, Australia, Spain, and New Zealand. But, others prefer something a little more exotic such as Thailand, The Philippines, and lesser-known spots such as Laos.

Brits might move because of the weather, for family reasons, for work, or because they fell in love with a country or person, but after a while, they start to miss British food, and wonder how they can buy it.

What are the snacks and meals that British expats miss the most?

Ironically, many of the most beloved British snacks are from US manufacturers such as Kellogs or Heinz, but they are so woven into the culture now that they are seen as being as British as Cheddar cheese.

Many British foods date back centuries. The earliest recipe for haggis is from around 1390. And whisper it quietly, but haggis might not be Scottish after all. Nevertheless, here are just some of the snacks and meals missed by British expats.


Love it or hate it but once you’ve tried marmite you’ll never forget it. This savory yeast extract is spread on bread and toast, and the flavor is extremely distinct.

Heinz baked beans

Once you’ve spread Marmite on your toast, you might want to add some baked beans on top. Heinz beans are the ones that every Brit adult grew up with, and foreign brands just don’t cut it.

Walkers Crisps

Simply the crisp of choice for most people in the UK. Advertised by football legend Gary Lineker, these crisps (never called chips) come in almost every flavor you can imagine, including Marmite.

If you’ve ever had Lays then you’ll recognize the Walkers logo but the similarities pretty much end there. Walkers come in flavors as diverse as Brussels sprouts, pickled onion, and prawn cocktail. But, it’s cheese & onion, salt & vinegar, and ready-salted that have the most fans

Branston pickle

Not pickles like Americans know but more of a chutney. Slather it on cheese sandwiches or have it on the side of a ploughman’s lunch. Incidentally, cheese and Branston pickle flavors have been used by Walkers in the past.

Kellogs cornflakes and other breakfast cereals

As a morning meal, eating cereal can be beneficial, and for many Brits, it has to be Kellogs Cornflakes or Rice Crispies. While Kellogs isn’t British, it’s a breakfast staple.

Jaffa Cakes

Not strictly a cake, and very unique to the UK, Jaffa Cakes are a chocolate-topped sponge disc filled with orange jelly. Sounds strange, but beloved by the British.


Not exactly a meal but the perfect snack on a cold winter’s night. Crumpets are a kind of griddle cake, and they are toasted and spread with butter.

Many snacks in the UK are comforting on a cold night, and it’s easy to knock up some simple sausage rolls, or pop some crumpets in the toaster.

Roast dinner

A traditional roast dinner should always include roast potatoes, gravy, perhaps 3 different vegetables, and a meat option (although there are vegetarian alternatives). Then, depending on the choice of meat you may also have Yorkshire puddings, stuffing, apple or mint or cranberry sauce, horseradish, and other sides such as devils on horseback and cauliflower cheese.

Fry up

Typically known as a full English breakfast in the south or simply a fry-up. No one said British food was healthy, but this is a meal that could terrify those unaccustomed to fried breakfasts.

Expect to see fried bread, fried eggs, fried tomato, toast and butter, sausage, bacon, beans, fried mushroom, black pudding, and even hash browns sometimes. A cup of tea on the side, and don’t forget the brown sauce.

How can you buy your favorite British food when overseas?

Many countries have expats operating shops, restaurants, and takeaways. If you’ve ever visited popular parts of Spain then you’ll know there is no difficulty in finding fish and chips for instance.

But, living in Thailand presents more of a challenge when you need a bag of Twiglets, or fancy a plate of bangers and mash. But, thanks to ecommerce, expats can track down almost anything.

Online or in-person shopping

There are several British food suppliers online who will export to other countries or deliver locally. So, if you’re an expat in need, then just do a quick Google. Alternatively, you might find specialist food shops that import from Britain close by.

Cook at home

Alternatively, just search for recipes online and source local ingredients. If you need something specific then check for British recipes on the net, and you might find some online vendors can ship you sausages, or other ingredients.


The British have some strange names for many of their meals and snacks, but expats often crave them. Fortunately, there are plenty of recipes for knocking up shepherd’s pie or toad in the hole.

Even if you’re not an expat, you can still indulge in some weird and wonderful British snacks such as crumpets. Don’t forget the butter though.

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