The definitive ranking of the UK's weirdest fast food from Wigan kebabs to spam fritters
British food is delicious but still has a questionable reputation around the globe. We think some of these kooky creations might have something to do with it...
“It’s a lot of shit to eat in one meal. And first thing in the morning?!”
We took American rapper @_HoboJohnson for a Full English to see how British breakfasts compare to the US. pic.twitter.com/DTmTSRV3zL
— JOE (@JOE_co_uk) August 28, 2019
Moreover, one thing we absolutely smash in this country culinary-wise is takeaways. One of the many benefits of being such a multi-cultural isle is that we have all of these different cuisines just a phone tap away; whether it's a British classic or a game of takeaway roulette - Deliverooulette, if you will (sorry) - we love fast food.
The chippy on the way home from a night out or getting a curry in at the weekend is a staple in many homes across the UK; chicken tikka masala is our national dish, for god's sake. We bloody love takeaway, whatever form it may come in... almost.
All that being said, food in Britain still gets a bad rep for reasons largely unbeknownst to us. However, we did manage to compile a list of some of the weirdest fast foods we've found on offer around the nation and while some of them look absolutely incredible, we have a feeling some of them are responsible for our reputation.
1. Wigan Kebab
Let's start things off strong with a hearty meal of pie and bread. No, that's it, an actual pie whacked inside a barm. Seriously, some people just call it a pie barm.
If you haven't heard of the ingenious carby creation known as the 'Wigan kebab', then we'll assume you're not a northerner. As for those of us who have already been introduced to heartburn's best friend, it really is just a simple and delicious as it sounds.
While you can get the straight-up meat option in plenty of places, meat and potato pies are the traditional choice — y'know, because two different types of already glutenous carbs all in one hand isn't enough. We do things differently up here.
2. Burger-stuffed pizza
From the strange yet sublimely simple to the 'oh my god I'm gonna have a heart attack, call an ambulance now', we give you the burger stuffed pizza, courtesy of Pasha Takeaway in Treragon, Wales.
This ridiculously caloric creation is exactly what it sounds like: four burger patties, cheese, tomatoey pizza sauce, more cheese, all wrapped up and baked in an oven like a calzone on steroids. Oh, and there's dinner meat chucked in there too, because why not, I suppose? You'll be chugging Gaviscon for the next hour or so anyway.
This isn't their only assault on the arteries Pasha's poses either, they also do food challenges such as a platter of chips topped with tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, peri-peri chicken, chicken shish and lamb donner meat. If you and five mates can finish it in eight minutes, you'll win £200. 'Kin ell.
3. Banana Pizza
For all the people insulted by pineapple on pizza, hold on to your breeches. You may remember that utterly disgusting meme that did the rounds on social media not long of a pregnant woman who sent her hubby for a pizza with tuna and banana on it. It was rightly described as looking like "cat sick" but, apparently, it's not that uncommon - at least the banana bit.
Turns out, banana pizza is a genuine trend in both Sweden and South Africa and while you might not find it everywhere in the UK, there are places that do it: one of which is Smashed Tomato in St. Ives, who claim "banana on pizza is amazing – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it".
Owners Amanda Langard and her partner, Ken Taylor, didn't back down when their much-debated menu item got noticed online; since then, it's become their "most popular dish" and they say they "can’t remember a time a customer has tried it and not liked it". Not gonna lie, we plan to try it, so watch this space.
4. Stargazy pie
What. Is. That? Don't get me wrong, we all love a fish pie: it's a British classic - but apparently so is this monstrosity. If you're like any of us and haven't heard of Stargazy Pie before, it's essentially a Cornish dish made of baked pilchards, eggs and potatoes. While that is not too challenging, it's the fact that whole pilchard heads are intentionally left poking out of the crust that tests your mettle.
For those who are familiar with this old English dish, you might be rightly asking whether this counts as fast food. Well, it does. Although this is typically a homemade dish often eaten around Christmas - chef Mark Hix even won series 2 of the Great British Menu with a rabbit and crayfish variation on the recipe - it can be ordered for takeaway at certain locations.
We're all for celebrating beloved British traditions but, call us vanilla, there's something about have a staring contest with a pilchard head before and during your meal that makes us think a good old Chinese will do.
5. Deep-fried chip butty
Another ridiculously unnecessary indulgence that, as you can see, we're right behind. A few months back, our very own Oli Dugmore and Ed Campbell visited Hartlepool for the by-election and put together a vlog about their run-in with Keir Starmer, their interview with the Northern Independence Party's (NIP) Thelma Walker and, well, eating some locally famous fast food.
PoliticsJOE always get to the hard-hitting stuff but the main event of this adventure was, without doubt, scoffing down a deep-fried chip butty. As you can hear in the video, this one was supposedly an accident that the staff posted on TikTok for a laugh, but considering it also includes a sauce consisting of curry, peas, beans and gravy - commonly known as 'splash' - we doubt it...
As if all those things on a chip butty wasn't enough, the entire thing is deep-fried just to make sure it does a real number of your bowels. Splash going in, splash coming out. Sorry.
6. Spam fritters
A two in one for your delectation. Much like what we've already said about British cuisine, Spam (Specially Processed American Meat) is criminally under-appreciated these days: it's long-lasting, tasty, cheap and greasy goodness that goes well with everything from egg and chips or a full English, to fried rice and the wonderful world of 'Eggsluts' (just click it, honestly).
As you can see in the video above, Oli also somehow managed to find room for a round of spam fritters, though we suspect he didn't finish the whole box. Once again, it's pretty much exactly what it says on the tin: spam, battered and deep-fried, with the addition of the now-infamous concoction known as splash.
In fact, you don't even need to go to Hartlepool or a takeaway at all to find these little delights, many shops sell them frozen and while it might not be an authentic experience, it's an option if you're curious. Another thing that's great about fast food in the UK, whether it strange takeaway creations or not, is that you're bound to find most of it in a supermarket somewhere.
7. Stonner kebab
Last but by no means least is the 'Stonner Kebab', which can be found at a West Lothian chippy in Scotland. Now, while you may have heard of deep-fried mars bars - even chip butties and spam now, too - have you ever heard of sausage wrapped in donner meat, then deep-fried in batter and served with a heap of chips and a sauce of your choosing? Didn't think so.
We're not going to try and high-road anyone at this juncture: this sounds categorically bad for you and we fear for anyone who's had it more than once, but it does sound undeniably delicious.
It was drummed up by the folks over at Knightsridge Chip Shop in Livingston and despite some reservations at first, went on to sell hundreds in just the couple days following it getting picked up on social media. By all accounts, people seem to love it. Drop the second N in Stonner and things start to make more sense...
You've been warned
So that's it for now; it's by no means a comprehensive list (who knows what madness some of you depraved creatures come up with when the 'Create Your Own' option pops up) but at least now you know what to try/what to avoid depending on your level of bravery.
As for me, I feel so dirty after that rollercoaster, I'm going to eat a salad and have a shower.