In this blog series, BFA student Kassi Ferry shares an authentic look at her study abroad experience in Brighton, England, during the Spring 2017 semester.
So far food here in Brighton is very similar to food in Minneapolis. Fortunately I’m on a meal plan, so breakfast and lunch are provided Monday through Friday. Breakfast usually consists of potatoes or chips (a.k.a. fries), some fruit, orange or apple juice, and sometimes cereal or oatmeal. Lunch is a lot more varied. I’ve had gnocchi, vegetables, soup, rice and curry, veggie burgers, and lots of other things. The cafe at Varley Park where we eat tends to offer what feels like home-cooked meals, which is nice.
Botanically brewed drinks
In town there are a ton of places to eat. If i’m not grabbing lunch from the cafe on campus I usually go out for something quick. I also go out on weekends for lunch or dinner as I don’t have a ton of fridge space for groceries. So far I’ve eaten at this cute little vegan pizza place called Purezza. It was £12 for the whole pizza but it was a decent size. I got the four-cheese because Purezza makes all of their cheese on site. It consisted of rice cheese, coconut cheese, almond cheese, and cashew cheese. I’ve never had any of them before but it was really good!
There's a chain here called Pret a Manger. It’s an adorable French-themed cafe. They serve coffee, tea, biscuits, and sweets, as well as a wide variety of lunch food. So far I’ve had their veggie lover's sandwich, dairy-free tomato soup (which is to die for!), falafel salad, chia seed and pomegranate cups, and a sushi salad.
I’ve also eaten at Mcdonalds, and their chips (fries) are way less salty here, which is good because back home they are over the top. I’ve been to this tiny Belgian Chip shop a block from campus. They only serve chips, and they come in fake newspaper wrapping along with whatever sauces you want! The serving sizes are so big I had to split with my friend Sophie. (Don’t worry, no seagulls got our chips this time while we walked the pier!)
A Harry Potter themed cafe sign
There are several places to go grocery shopping here. There's a chain called Sainsbury's that has the basics. Then there is Morrison's, which is set up like a traditional grocery store. There are a ton of specialty stores as well, like Infinity, which is devoted to vegan food. The closest grocery store to my flat is Asda, which is similar to a Target or Walmart. I do most of my grocery shopping there. It is a bit of a walk though, it takes about forty minutes. They have a lot of different food, including some familiar brands. Like they have Reeses Peanut butter (not the cereal, it’s legit a peanut butter!). They have Naked juices, but they aren’t as brightly colored and don’t contain as many ingredients. They have a relatively small crisp (chip) aisle, and there aren’t any Cheez-Its, Lays, or bags of Chex-Mix in sight. My British friends Esther and Emily didn’t even know what they were when I asked.
Speaking of chips (well, British chips), a popular English delicacy is Fish and Chips. Everyone raves about it! I’ve seen the guys mix mayo and Ketchup together and dip both the fish and the chips in it. Esther puts vinegar on her chips and mayo on her fish. Everyone seems to have a different way of eating it and there are a million Fish and Chips shops in Brighton. So yesterday I finally had my own most amazing vegan Fish and Chips from the Loving Hut cafe. It was freezing and windy out, so I needed something warm. The fish was soy based and lightly crisped. The chips were amazing and weren’t too salty. I am definitely going back to the Loving Hut soon!
Another thing that seems to be very popular is the Sunday Roast. It’s very similar to Thanksgiving in America but much smaller and not a national holiday. Basically friends come together to eat roast meat and potatoes, along with accompaniments such as Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, vegetables, and gravy. Vegetables such as roast parsnips, sweet corn, Brussels sprouts, peas, carrots, runner beans, and broccoli are included and can be cooked in different styles; for example, cauliflower or leeks accompanied by a cheddar cheese sauce are popular, in addition to gravy. I have yet to participate in this event, but my friend Daniel is planning one soon, it probably won’t be until everyone gets back from their study trips.
I haven’t found anything that I’m not fond of yet, and I’m still trying new things every day. I had Oreos for the first time in years the other day. Back home they have gelatin in them so I avoid them but here they are made with soya instead. I have missed Oreos, and I definitely miss some other things, too, like having an abundance of fruit and vegetables, being able to make waffles or smoothie bowls for breakfast, and pasta.
And finally, tea is definitely more popular than coffee here. Earl Grey is a very popular choice. A lot of people either put milk or water in their tea, sometimes they put sugar in it after it’s steeped for a few minutes. Some people drink lots of tea, others just have it once in a while. A lot of students actually opt for hot chocolate with their meals or after they are done. I’ve seen a few Starbucks, but there are a lot more small mom-and-pop coffee shops around Brighton.
Overall, the food situation here is pretty favorable. I've found some new things that I really love, and it's fun to learn about a different culture's eating preferences. Can't wait to keep exploring!
Kassi's Study Abroad Blog Posts