What Makes The UK's Beloved Bacon Butty Unique?

It's no secret that the British food scene has faced its fair share of mockery. From criticisms of lack of flavor to strange appearances to unappetizing dish names, their culinary reputation has been questioned since the World War II era. While some of the nation's most popular foods, like fish and chips or full English breakfasts, globally redeem their foodie fame, their favorite sandwich hasn't quite reached as much international stardom. But, within the U.K., the bacon butty is much adored. 

According to Vice, the word "butty" was first used in Northern England as a shortened term for butter, and it has since been used to denote these humble variations of butter sandwiches. Most consist of two pieces of white toast with a spread of butter, along with a drizzle of sauce and the main filling of choice. There's the famed chip butty, a sandwich stuffed with fresh, hot chips (French fries) slathered in ketchup or brown sauce. 

Similarly, there's the tasty fish variation, as Jamie Oliver endorses, that is made up of fish fingers (fish sticks for the Americans in the room) that are — surprise — topped with ketchup, as well. And then, of course, there's the bacon butty. It seems that the most favored of all the butty sandwiches is the latter, according to a 2020 poll set up by the Warburtons. And it has remained a national favorite for good reason.

The bacon butty is a meat-focused hangover meal

While bacon butties can be enjoyed any time of day, they may be most popular for being a quick hangover fix. It makes sense as this sandwich is heavy on the fat and salt components, not to mention the ease at which this sandwich can be thrown together. As The Kitchn notes, while the full English breakfast may be more well-known as the hangover cure, bacon butties are becoming a go-to favorite.

If you're from the U.S., you may envision the bacon butty as being similar to a BLT sandwich or even a BEC (bacon, egg, and cheese, of course). However, the British bacon butty is unique in that the focus is all on those glorious strips of bacon stuffed inside. Absent any vegetables, this sandwich puts its love and attention onto that crispy, salty meat. However, when it comes to the ultimate sauce topping, there is often controversy: ketchup or HP sauce (commonly referred to as "brown sauce")? 

If you're a fan of that vinegary tang, then HP sauce may be the perfect condiment to try. And really, neither is a wrong choice to fully enjoy this classic but simple meal. So, the next time you're barely standing after a long night out, put together this savory British sandwich and cure yourself the English way.