Pancake breakfast in Cardiff

The best foods to try in Wales

For #foodiefridays, here are the best traditional foods to enjoy on your next trip to Wales. Just in case a jaunt over to the land of leeks isn’t on your itinerary anytime soon, recipes are linked so you can whip up hearty Welsh dishes in your own cegin (kitchen).

1) Welsh cakes

Flat little circles of sugary and sultana-y goodness, Welsh cakes are like small, dense pancakes, sometimes baked with raisins or chocolate chips. They’re my favorite thing to eat in Wales and an absolute must-try. I had an embarrassingly excited moment when I saw them being sold at the Irish Festival in Minnesota; I would love to try making Welsh cakes at home sometime, since they seem pretty straightforward.

If you are in Wales, I’m partial to the Welsh cakes sold at Cardiff Market.

A slightly blurry Welsh cake at Cardiff Bay

2) Welsh rarebit

From what I can tell, Welsh rarebit is essentially cheesy toast. It’s super rich—and very good if you’re a fan of cheese.

The dish is traditionally composed of strong cheddar cheese and thick slices of bread, which are cooked with Worcestershire sauce, beer, and other spices in a saucepan.

This recipe features Welsh rarebit with laverbread, another Welsh dish that is not bread at all but, in fact, an interestingly goopy-looking seaweed from the Welsh coast that is apparently good on buttered toast.

Feeling French? Top your rarebit with a fried egg.

The best foods to try in Wales
Traditional Welsh rarebit with salad in Cardiff—it was a lot more filling than it looks!

3) Crempog

Crempog (which is both the singular and plural form) are thick pancakes made with buttermilk and all the other standard things you put into pancakes. They are attached to the Easter season in Wales.

Pancake breakfast in Cardiff
These might be American pancakes, despite being eaten in Cardiff; but never fear, because crempog are basically the same thing.

4) Cawl

Following soundly in the footsteps of the other comfort foods on this list, cawl is a stew that contains the very traditionally Welsh ingredients lamb and leek as well as potatoes and other vegetables.

5) Glamorgan sauages

If lamb isn’t your thing, Glamorgan sausages, in spite of their name, are vegetarian and are made with crumbly Caerphilly cheese or Welsh cheddar coated in breadcrumbs.

A couple interesting historical tidbits: the original cheese the sausages were made with, Glamorgan, is no longer available. The sausages, which were initially developed in the 1800s, received a popularity boost during the meat rationing of World War II.

The best foods to try in Wales
I never tried the sausages, so here’s a picture of Caerphilly instead.

6) Bara brith

This lovely-looking fruit bread flavored with tea has declined in popularity in the UK, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a try.

7) Welsh breakfast

If you’ve ever been eating your traditional English breakfast and thought, “This is nice, but what it really needs is some seaweed and mollusks,” then you are in luck. A Welsh breakfast includes all the English mainstays like sausage, eggs, beans, bacon, and tomatoes and adds cockles and our old friend laverbread.

Seaweed is a good source of protein, so maybe the Welsh are on to something!

Do you have any favorite Welsh foods? Did this list make you hungry…or want to visit Wales? (Writing it did both for me!)

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