Episode 11

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!


Language level

Average: 4.4 (7 votes)

Submitted by Nilay. on Mon, 18/09/2023 - 13:19


I have tried British food. I ate fish and chips. I wouldn't say I liked it. I like fish, I like chips separately, but together they were very heavy and oily. I think British food is not very diverse. In my country, Turkey, the cuisine is varied and offers many options. Turkish food has deep historical roots. Different cities in Turkey are known for their special dishes. I've had the opportunity to try foods from different countries. Currently, I live in Melbourne, where I've tasted a variety of international cuisines. I enjoy Lebanese food, sushi, Thai chicken, Greek food, and Italian dishes. In my opinion, the best cuisine in the world is Turkish.:)

Submitted by exc_ali on Tue, 31/05/2022 - 17:39


I am Ali and I'm learning English on your website. In Series 3 Episode 11 I've heard about British food. Rob said that "what about eating out in your country?".
then, I want to share the best Iranian food compared to all other foods in other countries.
The Qormi-Sabzi is one special food that makes with special vegetables, red beans, dried lemon, fried onion, and lamb meat. It's eaten with rice. I'm completely sure that if you haven't eaten Qormi-Sabzi, don't hesitate to eat it as soon as possible. because you'll lose the special food in your life!
unfortunately in podcasts didn't mention enough Iranian food but there are lots of fantastic and special traditional Iranian food. If everyone tries Iranian foods, say that why we didn't find them before!
I hope this essay would be helpful.

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