To the foreign traveller, some traditional Welsh dishes might sound a little weird and definitely unfamiliar, but they are packed with flavour and loved by Welsh locals! We’ve listed some of the most popular traditional Welsh dishes below that everyone must try when visiting Wales.
Widely known as the national dish of Wales, Cawl is a hearty meal made of meat and vegetables. Cawl can be traced to as far back as the 14th century, when historically, it would be made with salted meat like bacon or beef and carrots, swedes and other vegetables. However, nowadays, Cawl dishes are often made with leeks, lamb and potatoes. As a warm, hearty meal, Cawl can best be enjoyed during the cold winter months in traditional Welsh pubs for a true Welsh experience!
If you’ve ever tried English scones, be sure to try the Welsh version next – Welsh Cakes. Welsh Cakes are very similar to English scones in how they look and taste and how they are made, but many Welsh people will testify they are different. The only major difference between the sweet treats is that, traditionally, Welsh Cakes are fried, whereas scones are baked. Welsh cakes can also be made with currants and served with jam and cream. Unlike scones, Welsh cakes are much flatter, almost like a pancake, but not quite.
Another sweet treat: Bara Brith is traditionally a yeast bread made with dried fruit, mixed spices and tea and usually served with salted butter. It’s sometimes known as speckled bread as this is what it’s literally translated to. Bara Brith is so popular that there’s a World Bara Brith Championship which involves bakers from all across the world submitting their own take on it!
Some might call it cheese on toast, but the Welsh call it ‘Welsh Rarebit’! Technically, it is cheese on toast, but what makes it tastier than your average cheese toastie is the added ingredients: English mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and sometimes even beer. Originally, Welsh rarebit was called ‘Welsh rabbit’, although it has nothing to do with rabbits, so to avoid confusion, the name changed. This is a popular breakfast dish or makes an ideal quick snack.
This traditional Welsh sausage is actually vegetarian, made up with cheese (usually Caerphilly) and leeks and coated in breadcrumbs. Glamorgan sausage was popular during the Second World War when it was harder to find meat which is the reason why it’s traditionally vegetarian. However, there are versions of the sausage made with pork… Could it then still be classed as a Glamorgan sausage? Nonetheless, even meat-eaters love Glamorgan sausages, purely because they are so delicious!
Laver is a type of seaweed that is commonly found in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Laver only becomes Laverbread when it is boiled for several hours then minced or pureed. There is actually no bread involved in laverbread, other than when it is spread over bread like butter, which is how most people enjoy it. It’s also a staple of a traditional Welsh breakfast, served alongside eggs, sausages, beans, bacon and cockles, or some like to use it as a sauce for lamb, crab or monkfish. Does it sound like something you would love or hate?
Want to make some of these tasty traditional Welsh dishes for yourself? You can find recipes for some of these dishes here. Just in time for St David’s Day!
Best of Scotland Holiday organises a variety of holiday packages to Wales. You can check out all of our Wales packages here. Do not hesitate to get in contact with us if you’d like to find out more about any of our packages.