Episode 11

Tess and Ravi discuss something British that people think isn't much good. Adam and Rob read your comments about your jobs.


Adam and Rob

Both: Hello!

Adam: Welcome to episode 11 of LearnEnglish Elementary Podcasts.

Rob: You’re going to hear from Tess and Ravi again today. They’re talking about something British that lots of people around the world think is ‘bad’.

Adam: Any idea what it might be? You’ll find out in a moment.

Rob: But first, let’s take a look at your comments. We heard Carolina complaining about her job and we asked you about your jobs.

Adam: And we got some really interesting responses. Umi from Indonesia sent us this message:

It's hard to say whether I like my job or not. I'm working as a domestic helper in Hong Kong. My duty is to look after two children, helping with their school work if necessary and to do all the household chores. Sometimes I like my job because it has no real pressure. I don't like my job because it's not a professional job, most of the time others look down on us and I've no freedom at all because I have to live with my employer and I work 6 days a week. I also enjoy it because my employer lets me study, that's why I keep studying from one course to another. I aim to take an online degree. Never lose hope, it’s only a stepping stone for a better future.

Rob: Well, we definitely wish you luck. That’s a really well-written post, so we can see that your English practice is working.

Adam: Yeah. Rony works in an import/export company in Egypt and loves it although it’s sometimes boring. Rony’s advice is that ‘at the end we have to love what we do until we do what we love’.

Rob: Alexman is also in Egypt and he does two jobs!

I work in two jobs in one, it's somehow like the shampoo – 2in1! I am a customer service agent and also a cashier at the same time. I work a full time shift, my day starts at 9AM and ends at 9PM. I will never forget one day after finishing my work I looked at my report to find out that I'd served 360 customers in a day.

Adam: 360 customers!

Rob: In one day!

Adam: Thanks to all of you who commented. I’m happy to hear that you so many of you seem to like your jobs. I wonder how many of you use English in your work.

Rob: Maybe that’s why you’re learning English. Why not let us know? Remember that the address for your comments is www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish and you can find us on Facebook too – look for ‘Elementary Podcasts’.

Adam: Now, let’s hear from Tess and Ravi. We’ve already told you that they’re going to talk about something British that lots of people think isn’t very good. Any idea what it is? Let’s find out.


Tess and Ravi

Ravi: Hello again, everyone. I’m Ravi.

Tess: And I’m Tess and once again we’re going to talk about something you think you know about Britain.

Ravi: We asked lots of our listeners what they think about when they think about Britain. They said things like ‘drinking tea’, ‘queuing’, ‘Big Ben’, ‘bad weather’ and lots of people mentioned another thing they think is bad – any ideas, Tess?

Tess: Something else that’s bad in Britain? Erm… what?

Ravi: British food. Lots of people think that the food in Britain is terrible. And, do you know what, Tess? I can understand why people think that.

Tess: Really? I think it’s a bit unfair. I mean, what is British food anyway? What do you mean by British food?

Ravi: Well, I don’t know... erm… fish and chips, roast beef, sausage and mash…

Tess: It’s difficult isn’t it, to think of what British food is exactly, but I’m sure you can think of lots of examples of French dishes or Italian or Chinese or Indian dishes, of course.

Ravi: Yeah, lots of ‘em.

Tess: And it’s definitely true that we don’t have the same tradition of food and cooking here in Britain that lots of other countries – France, Italy, China – have.

Ravi: Right.

Tess: But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat well in Britain. I think one of the best things about living in London is how many fantastic different types of food you can eat. You can eat food from anywhere in the world in London, can’t you? Greek, Lebanese, Japanese, Polish …

Ravi: Hey, I had a fantastic Thai meal on Saturday, Tess, I’ll have to take you to this restaurant.

Tess: Thai food, mmm. I’d forgotten that one. There are just so many different great types of food to eat in London.

Ravi: It’s not just London, Tess. Other places have loads of different restaurants too. There are some brilliant Brazilian restaurants in Manchester.

Tess: That’s true. Even really small places will probably have a Chinese restaurant and an Indian or Pakistani restaurant. I don’t know about you but I hardly ever eat ‘British’ food.

Ravi: Me neither.

Tess: That’s restaurants, though. My Spanish friend told me that she came here when she was a teenager and stayed with a British family and the food was terrible. She said they ate frozen meals from the freezer every night and it was just horrible.

Ravi: It’s awful when you go to someone’s house and the food is really, really bad and you have to eat it. But I don’t think everybody eats really badly at home, do they?

Tess: I think cooking has never been more popular. Just look at all the cookery programmes on TV.

Ravi: There are hundreds of cookery programmes on TV. Terrible. I never watch them.

Tess: You should. You might learn something. It’s true, though, there are lots and lots of cooking programmes on TV and lots of famous chefs. People are really interested in cooking, don’t you think?

Ravi: I suppose so. They’re not really cooking British food, though, are they?

Tess: They are sometimes. They’re cooking all kinds of food. Anyway, I think that’s what we have to say about British food. We don’t have the same kind of food traditions as other places, but you can eat really well here. Agreed?

Ravi: Agreed.


Adam and Rob

Adam: So what do you think, Rob? Is British food really bad? 

Rob: Well, I’m not sure about British food, but I think eating in Britain is fantastic. There’s so much variety. You can find Italian restaurants, Thai restaurants, Chinese restaurants, restaurants from lots of different countries.

Adam: Yeah, even in quite small towns.

Rob: But if I go to Italy, for example, I only really find Italian restaurants. I’m not sure about British food, though.

Adam: Well, I think that one area that Britain does really well is puddings and desserts. There are so many great crumbles and puddings and afters and pies, they’re all delicious.

Rob: Yeah, sticky toffee pudding!

Adam: Yummy!

Rob: As usual, we’d like to hear what you think. Have you ever tried British food? What did you think of it? Or even if you haven’t tried it; what do you think British food is?

Adam: And what about eating out in your country? What sort of restaurants do you have? What’s your favourite cuisine? Why? You can leave your comments at www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish

Rob: So, Tess and Ravi said that although British food might not be the best in the world, it’s possible to eat very well in Britain. And that’s what I want to take a look at next. Listen again to something Tess and Ravi said:

Tess: But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat well in Britain.

Ravi: It’s awful when you go to someone’s house and the food is really, really bad and you have to eat it. But I don’t think everybody eats really badly at home, do they?

Tess said that it doesn’t mean you can’t eat well in Britain and Ravi said he doesn’t think everyone eats badly. ‘Well’ and ‘badly’ are…

Adam: …adverbs! ‘Well’ is the adverb, ‘good’ is the adjective. And remember that an adjective describes a noun and an adverb describes a verb. So, we’d say ‘you speak very good English’, but ‘you speak English very well’.

Rob: The adjective ‘good’, describes the noun, ‘English’, and the adverb ‘well’ describes the verb ‘speak’. You see?

Adam: We’ve put some exercises on the website to help you with adverbs and adjectives.

Rob: And there are also some exercises about another thing you heard. Listen to this bit again:

Tess: It’s difficult, isn’t it, to think of what British food is, exactly, but I’m sure you can think of lots of examples of French dishes or Italian or Chinese or Indian dishes, of course.

Ravi: Yeah, lots of ‘em.

Tess: And it’s definitely true that we don’t have the same tradition of food and cooking here in Britain that lots of other countries – France, Italy, China – have.

Ravi: Right.

Adam: We heard countries – France, Italy, China – and the adjectives to describe things or people from those countries – French, Italian, Chinese. The exercises on the website will help you practise countries and adjectives – have a look.

Rob: Well, that’s all we’ve got time for today. We’ll be back soon when we’ll hear how Carolina and Emily are getting on with Jamie’s new friend. Bye!

Adam: Bye!

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Language level

Submitted by Aljumhy2020 on Thu, 09/12/2021 - 07:44


Yemen where cooks a lot of different meal. There are very kind of Yemeni food, ‘fhsah, shabyat, masoop, arekah, kabsah’. It’s delicious

Submitted by Mohammedalbassami on Wed, 11/08/2021 - 10:04

Good evening everyone I had studied England for nine months in 2011. I lived inside military camp. There were two restaurant contain different meals. I noticed British food deeply. It was definitely healthy food with delicious taste. Normally for breakfast they had in main course omelet with milk and for lunch and dinner meat and chicken. However they had different kinds of food like pasta and fries with chips

Submitted by May Thida Su on Sat, 20/02/2021 - 11:25

I've never been to British so I've never eaten British food. In my country, you can eat foods from Asia countries. Myanmar traditional foods are also good and delicious. I like Myanmar foods the best. If I have a chance, I'll try British foods once. BYE!!!!

Submitted by jmajo on Thu, 07/01/2021 - 15:34

I haven't tried British food yet but I imagine it a bit heavy based in the descriptions from Tess and Ravi, I'd like to try it sometime in the future, although it seems to not have a lot of vegetables I'll give it a chance if I'd have the opportunity to taste it. Here we have lots of different kinds of very good restaurants from most of the countries. Despite we probably don't have all the variety of restaurants and foods I imagine there would by in Britain, we do have restaurants where to eat most of the cuisine from all over the world. I prefer the cuisine based on meat because I grew up in the countryside and we used to eat meat in almost all the meals we had, we had vegetables too but in this country is very popular the grilled meat with vegetables. I like pasta and fish too tough. Thanks for the episode. Great site!

Submitted by Sajja on Mon, 04/01/2021 - 06:34

I haven't tried British food before . I agree with Tess I think there isn't especial dishes we can called it British food.Also, I think all of different types of food there are around the world . I mean nowdays we can eat any food in anyplace we are in . Especially if I am in capital of country or important city . For me , like anyone in my age like fast food restaurants such as ,MC, KFC, Pizzahutt and burger king,etc. There are many fantastic cuisines but I think I prefer Egyptian and italian food more than anything else and that because I love pastas very much and I like spices food .

Submitted by Tauhid Ahmed on Mon, 28/09/2020 - 07:38

Well, i am from Bangladesh. I've never been in Britain but we have a lot of restaurants, Chinese restaurants,Thai restaurants,Indian restaurants. Specially we have eat rice,fish,beef,chicken as our regular meal.

Submitted by Jhonny on Sun, 13/09/2020 - 19:11

Hi everyone, as a lot of people, I've never been in England, but i'd like to visit as soon as possible. In referent to this subject, I have tested meal from different countries like, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, France, USA, Japan, China and so forth. I should say that I love to eat all of them, but depending my mood, I like to eat meal from different countries. By the way, I want to take advantage of the opportunity to thank the LearnEnglish team for their excellent work and help us to learn English.

Hi Jhonny,

Thank you for your kind comments :) We are pleased to hear that.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ahmed 99 on Sun, 06/09/2020 - 23:41

I have never tried British food and i thought they eat a lot of meat and steak and drink tea or coffee or alcohol. I like eat Yemeni food specially in Yemeni restaurants my favorite cuisine are Hesah, Buried meat and Haneeth meat withe rice and for dessert i like eat Arika and Bint Al Sahn withe one of best honey in the world culled Do'ani honey.

Submitted by msoriano on Fri, 10/01/2020 - 17:57

I have never been in England so, I have never tried English food but I want to try it. I like eating international food like Italian, Japanese or Peruvian food but my favourite food is definitely Mexican traditional food because I love eating food with spicy sauce. In addition, the Mexican traditional food is cheaper than others are. Only in the cities, like Mexico City, we can find food of others countries; in the towns, probably you can find only Mexican food.

Submitted by parisaach on Mon, 06/05/2019 - 08:17

Actually I've never been in Britain, and I have never seen any British resturants in other countries, so I haven't tried british food yet . I live in Iran and I think we have the most delicious foods in the world though we haven't any good resturant outside the country . Irainian uaually spend so much time to prepare a food. We eat rice a lot in Tehran but any of our cities has special traditional foods. We have many different kind of food which is made by rice some of them are made by rice and something like meat, potato , tomato, etc and serve in on dish. and some of them is a simple rice which is cooked and serve with a different dish that we name "Khorosht" , we add "Khorosht" to the rice while eating. we have other foods which is name "Kabab" it is meat or chicken which is grilled or cook over fire. Anyway besides our traditional foods you can find many different resturants in my country and there is foods of allover the world here: Italian, Indian, chinese, etc.. I like'em all but I hate chinese . I think chinese eat all creatures and it is really disgusting.

Submitted by Oksi1001 on Sat, 02/02/2019 - 15:59

Hello! I'm from Russia and i'm living in small city. Inspite of hat we have varius cafes including pubs with english food.The most famous is called 'London'. There I've tried fish and chips and i liked it.It was unusual serving dishes in the newspaper. As to rostbeef and other dishes from meet, generally i dont like it. I prefer italian food, and fortunately we have a many such cafes. Pizza,pasta, lasagna a lot of cheese, mm..it's divinely! I think, it's the most popular and available food in the world.

Submitted by Nancy Nguyen on Wed, 19/12/2018 - 15:08

Hello everyone, I've not tried British food but I hope someday I will have a chance to try it. When you come to my country, you should try "Pho", it's one of the special foods in Vietnam. We also have a lot of famous dishes such as rice noodles, banh mi, broken rice, Vietnamese fresh spring rolls...It's amazing. There are sort of restaurants in Vietnam like Japanese food, Chinese food, fast food from the UK, Thai food, Korean food... But I don't like to eat outside, so I cook for myself. Gordon Ramsay is my favorite chef and I usually watch his cooking programmes. Thanks.

Submitted by Idar on Tue, 11/09/2018 - 16:04

We have a lot of restaurants in Russia from all over the world like in Britain, but also we have own cuisine. I prefer different cuisines such as European, Caucasian, Georgian, Tatar them is a lot. Russian cuisine is famous borsch, rassolnik, Solyanka, ukha, different types of cutlets, for example-fire cutlets, boiled pork. I very like russian cuisine because i've lived in Russia all my life and i addicted. I recommend to visit Russia and to try russian cuisine.

Submitted by krig on Wed, 08/08/2018 - 06:27

I've never heard that British food is bad. In my opinion there are no bad or good cuisines - each one has some great dishes. I think typical British meal are bacon and eggs, roast beef, pudding and oatmeal.

Submitted by Hal55 on Mon, 18/06/2018 - 10:22

Hello I haven't been to Britain. but I have tried fish & chips couple of times before. fish & chips is the only British food that I know. I like foods that is made of potatoes. so I can enjoy fish and chips. but fish and chips is always served with a lot of amount of it. It is always too much for me to eat. and very oily. so I don't eat fish and chips very often. I remember when I was traveling in NewZealand, I ordered fish and chips at a takeaway. and I found that they wrapped fish and chips with old news papers that is just like Ravi said in another Episode. In my country Japan, There are many kinds of restaurants. There are also British pubs where you can drink alcohols but I think they don't serve tea or coffee. In Japan, when I think of British pub I think it is kind of a bar. I don't go to British pub when I want to drink tea of coffee. I just go to Starbucks instead.

Submitted by Shiiya on Wed, 02/05/2018 - 14:39

I think I´ve never ever eaten English food , actually I don´t know what exact are English food , i think there aren´t a icon from English cuisine ,( if are sorry about my ignorance ) like Italian food , japanese food , chinese food , but I would like to try someday. I live in a big city , and here you can find restaurant from all over the word , so it is great and I love it . I think I haven´t a favorite food , I like all kind of food from a ordinary sandwich from street food to pasta from a Italian cuisine

Submitted by annacm on Sat, 17/03/2018 - 19:01

Hello! I traveled to London 2 years ago to meet my daughter. She was studying there at that time. I stayed for two weeks and I tried fish and chips. It was good, but a little heavy (or fat, I don't know the correct word for this). I didn't try English breakfast. It's difficult to me eat beans in the morning. I drank a lot of tea, without milk. I love it. In my country, I saw on Jamie Oliver's TV show a recipe of Beef Wellington. Sounds good, but I haven't tried it. Bye

Submitted by alberto bastos on Fri, 16/02/2018 - 18:09

What about eating out in your country? What sort of restaurants do you have? What’s your favourite cuisine? Why? Hello! I don't have a habit eating out. My Family buy a pizza in self service, and we eat it in our kitchen with a drink and much smile. I think which eat is very important and the moment that reunion of the family for the talk the problems, projects and sucess of the life. I don't lose the moment sacred of it. Bye.

Submitted by dianthus on Mon, 16/10/2017 - 08:45

Hello, I learned English when I was at secondary school and lycee and I didn't have to use English until I started working. I have used English in my work for ten years shaped like both reading documents, writing mails and attending workshops, meetings which spoken language is English. But I am still hesitating to speak English in the meeting and I don't speak fluently and confidently so I hate this situation:(. According to your second question, I have never eaten British food that's why I have no idea of it. In my country we have delicous meals and I love our dishes so much. I have tried Mexican food, Japanese food, Iranian food, Afghan food and Azerbaijan food. I only like Azerbaijan food because it has very very tasty dishes I love all Azerbaijan meals very much. Espacially meals with meat and shah pilaff are perfect. Kind regards.

Submitted by Waldo on Wed, 19/07/2017 - 01:07

I never have eaten British food, but I've seen on TV that you can get fish with potatoes in places near the sea. We have very good traditional food in my country, and you can get a lot of food from other countries, especially Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican and French food.

Submitted by Ko on Mon, 22/05/2017 - 14:29

Hello, We have got strong tradition of food here in india and every state has it's own wide variety of cuisine and taste which encompasses of rice, wheat, spices, herbs, fruits and milk etc,. It's true that We have not got as much sort of restaurants as in UK but got some, However i can see that People sometimes prefer to eat chinese food after their own tradition of food. The reality is that we don't have as many sort of restaurants as other country, it's because we we don't take food often out as most people think taking food out is prepared with a lot of artificial spices , not as much tastier as it is cooked at home and not healthy. Thanks,

Submitted by Piotr17 on Thu, 27/04/2017 - 18:51

Hallo. First at all for the first question Adam and Rob I want to say that in my job we never speak English. None of my colleagues don't speak English. I want to speak English well so I learn English with Elementary Podcas. I like learning English with British Counci. I also a lot watch English movies on Youtube or programs how to learn English and speak in that language fluently. Now for the second topic. In Poland food is very good and delicious. When you arrive to my country you should try Polish food such as pork cutlet with tomato and sauerkraut. Also in Poland you must try Polish sausage. It's amazing.

Submitted by Sherine hussein on Tue, 07/03/2017 - 04:54

Hello team, My favourite cuisine is Egyptian, as we have lots of unique dishes which you can find only in Egypt, they are delicious too for the main course or afters both are good. If i go to eat in a restaurant i prefer italian pizza for the main course, and cinnabon which is cinnamon pie as afters. Thanks

Submitted by nados on Mon, 27/02/2017 - 18:27

I don’t think of it because I have never tried British food. I have tried Japanese food but I don’t like it. Sushi is fresh fish and I dislike eating fresh fish. My country is Istanbul in Turkey where cooks a lot of different meal. There are very kind of Turkish food, ‘shish kebab’. It’s delicious.

Submitted by anaisavecas on Sun, 19/02/2017 - 01:08

Dear Brithis Council team. These episodes of elementary podcasts, are for beginners of learning the English language, I notice that in the transcriptions when the dialogue is with numbers write in Arabic and for beginners I think they should be written with words and thus encourage learning regards

Hello anaisavecas,

Thank you for your suggestion. We're always happy to hear ideas about how we might improve our materials.

It might be helpful in some ways for users to see the written forms of the numbers. However, we think that providing accurate and natural language is our priority and in such texts it is not conventional to use written forms in this way. We prefer to make sure that all of our texts, including the tasks, are as good examples of natural language as possible.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sherine hussein on Tue, 14/02/2017 - 05:42

Hello, Actually i wanna make a suggestion for you for the fifth episode whuch you are working on it, actually i found series one and two more intersting to me with lots of topics, but it was a bit long, and series three and four are much more shorter and convenient for me to listen, but it is a bit boring especially carolina's epidodes which has only one topic with very slow language, so i suggest for the upcoming episodes to be as much as similar to first and second series with shorter duration, may be twenty minutes. Thanks My regards Sherine

Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 14/02/2017 - 07:57

In reply to by Sherine hussein


Hello Sherine,

Thanks very much for your feedback. I'll pass it on to the rest of the team!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sergei Shv on Sun, 15/01/2017 - 09:11

Oh thanks a lot for your fun exercises and grammar parts. That really makes learning English more interesting. About questions, well I've never tried British food, but it's not quite that. If such kinds of food like roast beef, sausage, chips and etc. are British food, it means I tried it. I think such meals like cheeps or roast beef are unhealthy and can contain too much of fat that's unhealthy too, but this food is tasty anyway. I'm from Russia and there are lots of restaurants and cuisines from all the world there that's like in Britain. But Russians have their own food and cooking traditions and even holidays that are dedicated to food and cookery. As for me I don't think that I have any certain cuisine to be my favorite one. I like to have variety of food. Every I'd like to eat something new.

Submitted by pablogg on Mon, 02/01/2017 - 19:03

Never tried British food but I would like to trie fish and chips.