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27th Nov 2020

The definitive ranking of every British pub snack

Wil Jones

Pubs are primarily places that sell alcohol, but they offer so much more

Roasts. Pool tables. A place to congregate with friends, form social bonds, and maybe even find love. Sky Sports. And also pub snacks.

Crisps are of course the quintessential British pub snacks, but there is far more to them than just that. Everything from nuts, to crunchy bits of pig, to cheese flavoured biscuits – you can find them all down your local boozer. So we have decided to rank them.

Note: I’m sticking to pub snacks you get in packets from behind the bar. Nothing fresh, nothing hot. So no scotch eggs, or sausage rolls, or whatever cockles Eric the fishman brings around (apparently this is a thing in South Wales). That is a whole other ballgame.

14: Pork scratchings (no hairs)

If you get pork scratchings, and there are no hairs on them, then they are cheap, bad pork scratchings and you should send them back.

13: Dry Roasted Peanuts

Urgh. Dry. Dusty. Memories of asking your dad for Quavers, and he brings you dry roasted peanuts instead. “That’s all they had at the bar, son.” They taste like disappointment.

12: Bombay mix

Nah. Probably the sort of thing that is actually nice if you have it in India, but here it is just dry and sad and tastes like the 1970s.

11: Twiglets

Does anyone actually like Twiglets? They’re fine, I guess, but does anyone ever eat them out of choice? They are just always there. They feel like a government-mandated quota thing.

10: Vegetable Crisps

Actually, they don’t taste that bad. But they look like potpourri and I feel weird eating them.

9: Wasabi Peas

So, so boujee. Yes, wasabi peas are very nice, but you shouldn’t be eating them in a pub. You should be eating them in an independent cinema while watching a black and white Danish film about regret.

8: Salted peanuts

No one has even been excited to get salted peanuts, but at the same time, no one has even been disappointed by salted peanuts either. Bog standard and dependable.

7: Mini Cheddars

I only recently discovered, after three decades on this earth, that Regular-Sized Cheddars are also a thing, and that’s why they are called Mini Cheddars. Anyway, good snack.

6: Fancy crisps

You know the type of crisp I’m talking about. Kettle Chips, or Sensations, or some trendy new company with a quaint name that sounds like the surnames of two Arsenal players (‘Holding & Partey’s Real Honest Potato Crisps’).

And they can’t just call it ‘salt and vinegar’ flavour, it has to be ‘hand-reared Anglesey sea salt and artisanal wild French malt vinegar’ or some crap.

There’s nothing wrong with them per se, they’re just crisps, but you could do without the pretension.

5: Pistachio Nuts

Pistachios are very good, but the empty shells build up and there’s always one you can’t open and you end up breaking your teeth trying to crack apart with your molars. They are definitely worth suffering through that for though.

4: Cashew nuts

Cashew nuts are more expensive than regular peanuts, but they taste better and are shaped like velociraptor claws.

3: Standard crisps

Proper crisps. Walkers, McCoys, Taytos, or the other Taytos. Crisps that don’t need no fancy names. They are just crisps.

2: Scampi Fries

So wrong. But also, so right.

1: Pork scratchings (covered in hairs)

The sign of a good pork scratching is if it is covered in hairs. The true king of pub snacks, a heart attack in a plastic packet. Ideally from some local farm, where they didn’t even bother to shave the pig. So good.