Jellied eels are one of the ultimate classic British delicacies, and once upon a time, they were also one of the most popular.
With this traditional British food originating in the East End of London, it’s only right that we guide you to some awesome places to try them in their hometown.
So if you’re wondering where to eat Jellied Eels in London, then wonder no more. We’ve got a list of 5 great places for you to try some of THE BEST authentic jellied eels.
But first, we’ve got the ultimate jellied eels FAQ in response to all those queries, concerns and bemusement you’ve probably got if you’re new to British cuisine.
What Are Jellied Eels?
Jellied eels are, well, eels in jelly, and one of the most traditional British foods, dating to the 18th century. More specifically, they’re an English delicacy made by boiling chopped eels in water or a spiced stock, before allowing them to cool which allows a jelly to set around the eels (as they’re naturally gelatinous).
The History of Jellied Eels
Jellied eels originated in the East End of London, in the 1700s. Eels were plentiful and so accessible back then, that jellied eels were one of the most popular British foods and a staple dish in parts of London.
In the 1800s, jellied eels began typically being served alongside another one of the classic British dishes, Pie & Mash. They were served in what were then called ‘Eel Pie Houses.’ According to Wikipedia, there were approximately 100 Eel Pie Houses shortly after the Second World War.
These days there’s really only a handful of places where you can enjoy jellied eels in the traditional way, now known as Pie & Mash ‘Shops’ (the best of which are listed below).
Are There Eels In The River Thames?
Previously there were tons of eels in the River Thames and they were used to supply London’s Eel Pie Houses. These days there’s less of an abundance.
What Do Jellied Eels Taste Like?
Basically, jellied eels taste mildly fishy and salty, as you might expect. Some people are put off by the texture, but in terms of flavour, it’s often said that jellied eels are actually quite sweet and delicate tasting.
How Do You Eat Jellied Eels?
Traditionally, Cockneys would simply put a piece of jellied eel in their mouth and eat around the bone, although these days the bone may be removed prior to cooking, or you might want to use a knife and fork to play it safe. They’re most commonly eaten as a cold dish, although hot stewed eels is also a thing.
What Do You Eat With Jellied Eels?
Jellied eels can either be eaten on their own as a snack, or otherwise they’re best eaten with a nice helping of traditional Pie & Mash. Classic accompaniments include malt vinegar or chilli vinegar, and white pepper.
Are Jellied Eels Healthy?
Authentic jellied eels are considered to be healthy, in the sense that they’re rich in omega-3 and vitamins.
How Do You Make Jellied Eels?
There’s different ways to make jellied eels, in that some say cook them in water, whereas others use a spiced stock (with the stock recipes also varying).
Where To Eat Jellied Eels In London
Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Here’s some of the best places to eat jellied eels in London:
M Manze is the oldest Eel, Pie and Mash House in London, having opened in 1902. Manze’s give the ultimate feeling of retro Britain, from its listed building status and original green decor of the shop, through to the authentic recipes still used to this day.
F. Cooke is another great place to try jellied eels, with it being another one of the original shops in the East End of London. Not only affordable, the quality of the jellied eels (and other classic dishes) on offer at F.Cooke, are ridiculously good too.
A lot of the original Eel, Pie & Mash shops are run by recent generations of the original families and G.Kelly is no exception. This is a Pie & Mash shop dating to 1939 and their website gives a touching account of the shop’s family history.
Another shop with more than a century of experience in delivering top-notch East End nosh, Arment’s is a great choice of place to try jellied eels for the first or fiftieth time.
Goddard’s at Greenwich
Visit Goddard’s at Greenwich website
Goddard’s at Greenwich is our final top 5 pick of the best places to eat jellied eels in London. As well as the classic eels, you’ll also find more modern variations of the traditional Pie and Mash. Just scrumptious.
So, they’re the best places to eat jellied eels in London (and Britain for that matter).
You’ll also find jellied eels in some supermarkets and delicatessens, but there’s no substitute for trying them in their original setting.
Now you know pretty much everything you need to know about one of the UK’s most traditional dishes, the jellied eel, get yourself to London and eat some…
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