Before I left for Reading, everyone around me seemed to crack jokes revolving around various British stereotypes. The biggest joke? “How are you going to survive on such bland food?” While it’s true that Great Britain probably wouldn’t win a spot in the Top Ten Most Delicious Cuisines award, that doesn’t mean everything is inedible.
When I’m on campus, I regularly eat paninis, chicken strips, and chips (aka fries), which is pretty standard for me back home. (I know, I know, I have the palette of a six-year-old.) My personal favorite campus meal is the stir fry. Park Eat, one of the restaurants that accepts my meal plan, has a stir fry station where you pick your own veggies, meat, and sauces. During dinner, both Park Eat and the dining hall in my building serve internationally themed meals, such as Greek, Mexican, and French nights.
When I feel like dining off campus, Reading has a huge selection of restaurants in the town center. While I haven’t had time to try even a fraction of them, most of my favorites are international. My favorite restaurant in Reading is Wagamama, a popular chain that serves Asian-inspired cuisine. I love the chicken ramen and duck gyoza, which are perfectly crispy fried dumplings. Another chain I enjoy is Yo! Sushi. It’s specialty is in the name. Yo! is unique from any other sushi bar I’ve been to though; a conveyor belt runs throughout the restaurant, past each booth and at the bar, carrying little covered dishes of rolls and Japanese desserts. While both are a bit pricey, especially factoring in the exchange rate, they’re a nice treat after a rough week of classes.
If you’re looking for the comforting familiarity of home, don’t worry! Reading has that too. My favorite pizza places, even in the UK, are Pizza Hut and Domnio’s. If you want a cheesy American chain restaurant, look no further: TGI Friday’s is international! Craving a Big Mac or a Whopper? Never fear, Reading has not one, not two, but three McDonald’s, as well as a Burger King. Craving a venti vanilla bean frappe? You’ll be pleased to know there are also three Starbucks located within walking distance of campus.
When visiting the UK, don’t be put off by age-old stereotypes. There is plenty of delicious food, both local and international, for you to enjoy. Just don’t forget to ask for the salt.