A taste of Liverpool: Cuisine from the City


ScouseThanks to the rich and varied history of the city, Liverpool has developed a unique gastronomic environment. When you visit the city you will be able to try out a lot of different foods from around the world. Liverpool also has some unique dishes of its own. Here are a few dishes that you will need to try whilst you are in the area.


Scouse is the area’s most famous dish. It is a meat and vegetable stew which is usually made with either beef or lamb. The base of the stew is made from a mixture of root vegetables. Depending on the chef, it may include carrots, onions, potatoes, beetroots and cabbage. It is normally served with bread to mop up the juices. The stew is very similar to Lancashire Hotpot, and it can also be served as a pie with a pastry crust.

The name “scouse” is a contraction of the full name of the dish: lobscouse. Linguistically, and based on the composition of the dish, it is thought that the dish was first brought to Liverpool by Northern European or Baltic sailors. The dish was previously so popular in the city that the moniker ‘Scousers‘ was coined to refer to people from Liverpool.

Wet Nelly

A Wet Nelly is a type of cake or fruit loaf which is popular in the city. It is known as a Wet Nelly because it is a moister version of the Nelson Cakes which are enjoyed in nearby Nelson. Wet Nelly is often made to use up old scraps of stale bread. Leftover scraps of bread are softened with water, and then mixed with dried fruits, dark sugar, egg, spices, lemon and suet. Once it has been thoroughly mixed, it is poured into a loaf tin and baked until set.

Wet Nelly can be served on its own, or with subtle lemon custard. The recipe for Wet Nelly varies from family to family, and often depends on what leftovers need to be used up.

Potted Shrimp

Potted shrimp are small prawns which have been clarified in a flavoured butter, and then put into a small jar. The butter is normally flavoured with nutmeg, although cayenne pepper may also be used. Potted shrimps are normally served spread on fresh bread or toast. Shrimps are readily available off of the coast of Liverpool, and they were traditionally preserved in this way to allow surplus stocks to be stored for times when catches were less fruitful. James Bond author Ian Fleming is reported to have been a fan of potted shrimps, and he “passed” his love of the delicacy on to his character.

Bubble and Squeak

Bubble and squeak is made from any vegetable ingredients which are left over after the Sunday roast. Ingredients will vary depending on what is left over after the meal; however potatoes and cabbage normally form the backbone of the dish. All the ingredients are fried up together like a hash. It is often eaten as part of a hearty breakfast to help people to start the week. The name Bubble and Squeak comes from the sounds that the ingredients make whilst they are cooking.

Liverpool Gin

As a bustling maritime city, gin used to be very popular in the docks of Liverpool. It was a favourite tipple for both sailors and their wives, because of its high alcohol content and its reported health benefits. The trade of unusual herbs and spices through the city meant that Liverpool Gin developed a unique flavour.

Although gin production in Liverpool was ceased for many years after the city lost its trading prowess, a new distillery has recently opened up which is producing liquor based on original recipes. Many bars in the city serve gin cocktails that are a throwback to Liverpool’s maritime heritage.

In addition to local cuisines that have developed in the area, visitors can find a huge array of different bars and restaurants. The heritage of the city means that there are restaurants serving cuisines from places as varied as the Caribbean through to Pakistan. In addition to this, many chefs are trying out unique fusion styles which blend cuisines from very different regions. In a way, these fusion cuisines are representative of the city as a whole.

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