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英国饮食狂(1)

2007-03-02 09:26British Council

Food and drink fads

Eating and drinking habits have changed considerably in the last five years. More people are eating in pubs, which were previously reserved for drinking and an occasional Sunday lunch, and coffee bars are appearing on every corner of our high streets.

Pub grub

Eating out has never been so popular in the UK, and we are spoilt for choice. It is no longer just restaurants that satisfy our appetites. Many pubs - which traditionally served only alcohol - have become popular eating venues. As well as pubs that serve the usual 'pub grub' (pie and chips, fish and chips, salad and chips), there are now more than 430 gastropubs in the UK. Gastropubs serve restaurant standard food in a more informal setting than restaurants and many take pride in offering healthy food, locally produced.

Restaurateur and critic Egon Ronay has recently produced a 2006 guide to gastropubs. He commented that the emergence of these pubs is the 'biggest change' he had seen in UK food for 50 years.

'I tend to eat out in bars as it's more relaxed, generally slightly cheaper and easier to do on the spur of the moment. If it's a special occasion though I would go to a restaurant, probably what's now called a contemporary British restaurant.' Jasmin, 23, from Widnes

Coffee culture

We are also succumbed by coffee in all its numerous variations more than ever before. In the last five years cafés and coffee shops have appeared everywhere and visiting them is a popular pastime. If the weather is reasonable (and sometimes even if it isn't) we adopt the continental style of sitting outside.

People feel comfortable visiting them on their own with a book or newspaper and equally find them good places to relax with friends. It is becoming much more a part of our culture to meet for a coffee or stop for an espresso or a latte when we want a break from shopping. Coffee is also available in many bars and pubs.

The choice doesn't end there though. Healthier alternatives, such as noodle bars and juice bars, are also springing up and becoming increasingly popular. Maybe they will be next to dominate our high streets.

Connie and Bernie February 2007

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