Eating out: Jellied eels and mash F. Cooke Broadway Market London

eating eels

I knew little about jellied eels – an 18th century traditional dish for East Londoners, until St Louis’ food critic Ann, my encyclopedia and guide that weekend in London filled me in on it. We ordered a portion of cold eels and a hot version with mashed potato and parsley, with chilli vinegar generously sprinkled over. (Thank you Ricky Ly Orlando food expert for the photo!)

F. Cooke has been serving jellied eels for three generations. The brined cold jellied eels aren’t as bad as they sound, but not something I’d eat again. And the hot eels with potatos and parsley mash – let’s just say it fills hungry bellies but I found it hard to saveur.

eels man london
eels london
f. cooke eels london
jellied eels

Traditional meat pies were also the other item on the menu and sold out before we could order ourselves a portion.

History of Jellied Eels

A traditional dish in the East End of London, UK, this dish is believed to have originated in the 18th century as a way to preserve eels. it was an affordable food source in the River Thames during that era.

Fresh eels are simmered in a stock until cooked and then cooled and set in a gelatin-like consistency, it is commonly seasoned with vinegar and parsley. It became a popular working-class dish sold by street vendors and in eel and pie shops – it was filling and nutritious, and very affordable.

Today, the declining eel population and rise of cheap processed food has made jellied eels less popular, although some pie shops continue to serve it as a way to preserve local culinary heritage.

minced pies broadway  market london

9 Broadway Market
E8 4PH

Open 10am-7pm Mon-Thur; 10am-8pm Fri, Sat.

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