From rugged coast to mountainous peaks, Wales is a truly scenic land. This beautiful country has thrived on the side of the ocean for centuries and over that time the Welsh culinary tradition has grown into something exceptional. The food in Wales is truly one-of-a-kind and full of vibrant flavors. Come hungry and ready to discover all the wonders of Welsh food.
What Is Special About Welsh Food
Welsh chefs have worked for centuries perfecting their simply seasoned yet gorgeous style of cuisine. Welsh food is designed to bring comfort to the cold Welsh climate. The most delicious dishes all elevate basic local ingredients turning them into something exceptional.
Wales has excellent access to the Atlantic so the local appetite for seafood is strong, but it is not just the surf that is great here but also the turf. The grasslands in Wales support amazing herds of sheep and cattle that bring rich and fatty flavors to Welsh cuisine.
The splendor of the Welsh countryside is served up plate by plate through wonderfully tasty Welsh foods!
Most Famous Welsh Food
Cawl (Lamb Stew)
This comforting classic is a favorite among locals during the cooler months. Delicious Lamb Cawl is considered the national dish of Wales and with one bite you will understand why. This luscious and filling stew is so generous and warm that it feels like a hug for your stomach.
Lamb Cawl is a stew made from traditionally underused portions of the animal. Today many variations exist but a typical lamb cawl may use a lamb’s neck or joints. The rich meat is stewed with hearty vegetables in a lightly seasoned sauce to create the perfect Welsh food!
Try this hearty stew on a cool Welsh night for a bite of true comfort.
Traditional Welsh Food
Laverbread (Seaweed Spread)
Despite its name, laverbread is not actually bread. This Welsh food is a spread made from boiled seaweed. It is crafted with the lush local variety of seaweed, Laver. This is a highly prized type of seaweed known for its briny flavor and crisp texture.
The seaweed is boiled into a paste that goes wonderfully with fresh seafood or served on toast. This classic Welsh food is often spread on crusty bread and served alongside mussels.
This traditional Welsh food may be one of the oldest in all of the United Kingdom. The Aberffraw biscuit is a classic Welsh shortbread cookie. This sweet bite of Welsh cuisine has a texture that will make your mouth water. They are wonderfully short and crumbly thanks to plenty of creamy local dairy in their batter.
This traditional biscuit is shaped into a lovely seashell possibly as a nod to their light and sandy texture. Enjoy these beautiful biscuits with hot black tea.
The leek is Wales’ favorite vegetable. Welsh soldiers were once ordered to wear leeks on their armor as insignia and the leek has stuck as the endearing symbol of Wales. One of the best foods in Wales to celebrate the leek is deliciously creamy leek soup.
Leek soup is a delectably smooth dish typically made from leeks and potatoes. Often Welsh chefs work delicious local cheese into the soup for added creaminess. Try this creamy soup in Wales with a rarebit or toast.
Salt Marsh Lamb
The lush landscape of Wales supports some of the best culinary herds of lamb in the world. One particular variety of this local meat is the salt marsh lamb. This meat is seasonal and can typically be found from summer through fall only.
The herds graze freely in the salt marshes making the meat rich and evenly fatted. This particular cut of lamb is known for its rich Welsh flavor.
Welsh Rarebit (Cheese Toast)
This Welsh food is highly loved and has been reinvented in countless ways throughout the years. Welsh rarebit is a delectable celebration of the Welsh love of cheese. It is a simple dish made from toasted bread topped with a creamy cheese sauce.
Some variations include a creamy bechamel-style sauce, whereas others have a more simple toasted cheese topper. No matter how you try it, this simple Welsh side dish will win you over.
Welsh Food: Breakfast
No tea is complete without delightful treats. Welsh cakes are the perfect sweet bite of food in Wales to set you up on a sweet note. These treats are sweet cakes that have been capturing Welsh hearts for centuries.
The recipe uses basic sweet cake ingredients with the addition of sweet dried fruit. The sugary cakes are made thin and pan-fried so they have nice crispy edges. Welsh cakes are perfect with warm tea or as an afternoon pick-me-up.
Teisennau Tatws (Potato Pancakes)
Wales is an island with a cool climate so getting crops to grow here can be challenging, but one vegetable that thrives here is the potato. These tasty spuds make the base of the delicious Welsh food of Teisennau Tatws or potato pancakes.
This savory treat is made by boiling potatoes and then mashing them with flour and spices to make dough. The dough is pressed into thin discs and then pan-fried. The delicious potato cakes get crisp and caramelized from the frying making them simply irresistible.
The welsh delicacy is excellent with breakfast or served with local lamb for dinner.
Crempog (Welsh Pancakes)
Crempog is an amazing Welsh dish of pancakes. These airy cakes are known throughout Wales for their satisfying chew and light sweetness.
The batter for crempog is a lot like other pancake batters, except for the addition of vinegar. This gives the batter a little acid that makes the cakes interesting and delightful. Crempog is often enjoyed with berries, syrup, honey, or whipped cream.
Bara Brith (Welsh Tea Bread)
This sweet Welsh food has been completing tea time in Wales for centuries. It is a beautiful traditional bread that has the perfect balance of sweetness and chew.
This traditional Welsh food utilizes the flavors of molasses and tea to craft a bread that is warmly spiced and fragrant. The bread is studded with wonderful dried fruits like currants and raisins and then baked into a beautiful brown loaf.
This bread is a classic icon of Welsh cuisine and it goes beautifully with black tea.
Welsh Food: Lunch and Snacks
Tatws Popty (Welsh Potatoes)
This traditional Welsh food is comfort in a bowl. Tatws popty is a baked potato dish that has been enticing Welsh appetites for centuries. The original version of this dish called for the cooking of potatoes and meat together but many of today’s Welsh chefs leave the meat out.
The whole dish is oven roasted to bring out the flavors of the vegetables and potatoes. This bountiful Welsh food can be served aside a lamb steak or as a meal on its own.
Teisen Nionod (Onion Cake)
The traditional dish of teisen nionod is packed with all the rich savory flavors you can expect from Welsh cuisine. This delicacy is an onion cake made from layers of thinly sliced potatoes and flavorful onions.
Spices and caerphilly cheese are added to the layers and the whole dish is baked into a sweet and savory onion cake. This dish in Wales is so savory and desirable you will want it alongside every dish you order here!
Caws (Welsh Cheese)
Arguably the most important ingredient in Welsh cuisine is the local caws or cheese. Welsh cheese is a point of pride among residents and their cheeses have some of the boldest and full-bodied flavors around.
There are lots of local cheeses to sample here but the two most popular are caerphilly and perl las. Caerphilly is an earthy and umami-packed hard cheese with a rind. It grates beautifully and tastes of mushrooms. Perl las is a blue cheese with a salty rind. Its tangy blue-cheese flavor opens into something truly sensational the more you sample.
Gwledd y Cybydd (Bacon and Potatoes)
This traditional food in Wales is nicknamed “the miser’s feast,” because of its thriftiness. This hearty basic dish is made from potatoes and bacon rashers. The two are boiled together into a meaty potato slush.
The bacon helps season the potatoes and boiling makes them smooth and sauce-like. This dish has been a fallback for the Welsh during lean times, and it goes to show that even in times of sparsity there is flavor to be found!
Oggie (Hand Pie)
Almost every culture has some variety of hand-held pies or pastries. The oggie is the super-sized Welsh version of a hand pie. This delightfully savory Welsh food hits all the notes, with a flaky crust and unctuous fillings making a great lunch, snack, or dinner.
The filling for oggies varies, but frequently includes lamb, leeks, onions, and potatoes. The seasonings are perfectly balanced and this dish in Wales is just right to grab and go! Enjoy an oggie as you wander through Cardiff.
FLAVORS AROUND THE WORLD
Welsh Food: Dinner
The bounty of the sea is a frequent theme in Welsh cuisine and one dish locals are particularly proud of is Conwy mussels. Just around the corner from Conwy Castle where freshwater meets the Atlantic, beautiful mussels grow.
This is one of the most beautifully flavored foods in Wales and it occurs naturally that way. The mussels are hand-raked and sold fresh to local markets and restaurants. Try these colorful mussels with laverbread.
Glamorgan Sausages (Vegetarian Sausages)
This sensational vegetarian treat has been a staple of Welsh cuisine for ages. Glamorgan sausages are not sausage at all, but rather a mince of cheese, leeks, and bread crumbs.
The star of this Welsh food is the local caerphilly cheese. It has a wonderfully earthy and nutty flavor that makes these cheesy delights just perfect!
Sewin and Samphire (Trout and Local Veggies)
Wales has great access to the sea and that has gifted Welsh cuisine with abundant ocean-inspired dishes. One locally loved dish is sewin and samphire.
Sewin is a local variety of trout and samphire is a succulent plant that grows along the rocky seashores in Wales. Samphire has an appearance similar to asparagus and a strong salty flavor. These two are commonly roasted and served together as a seafood delicacy.
Ffagadau (Meatballs and Potatoes)
The locals in Wales love meatballs. They are the perfect humble meal for any day of the week and this nostalgic meal holds a special place in Welsh cuisine.
The Welsh-style meatball typically includes a blend of pork, beef, lamb, and bacon along with spices. The delicious meatballs are cooked in a beautiful brown sauce and served with mashed potatoes.
Pair this tasty Welsh food with green peas for the perfect meal in Wales.
Wyau Ynys Mon (Egg and Leek Casserole)
This gorgeous Welsh food does not skip on the calories but it is a dish of true comfort! This classic Welsh casserole is made from wonderfully sweet and aromatic leeks, mashed potatoes, and hard-boiled eggs. It is a rich, decadent vegetarian dish that will make you say, “meat who?”
This traditional food in Wales showcases the local favorite the leek in such a luxurious way that you will want to make it part of your regular cheat day!
Discovering Traditional Welsh Food
Wales is such a lush and interesting country. The most exceptional things to be found in Wales come on a plate. There is so much interesting food and gastronomic tradition to be found in Wales that a foodie can really go wild.
Keep an open mind and empty stomach as you explore the culinary wonder that is traditional Welsh food!