The northern biker foodies are all revved up and raring to go – their new BBC series Hairy Bikers’ Best of British 2, offers another dollop of tasty British nosh, and starts Thursday 4 April. Dave Myers explains more about discovering new eats by riding his oily bike from town to town…
What should we expect from the new series of Best of British?
It’s the second bite of it really, looking at the history and the culture of British food. The lovely thing is, that we take a look at a subject say beef, pork or lamb. It’s really entertaining, nostalgic and really quite informative. It’s one of our favourite shows, it’s one of the best things we’ve done. The first one is all about fowl. Duck used to be eaten more than chicken until the war. We also do a game dish with partridge, we call it the ‘partridge family’ and then we do an egg custard tart with some rhubarb and custard. We’re very proud of the show.
You bike up and down the country to discover great eats, what’s your favourite location in the UK?
We had some wonderful times on the Isle of Wight, actually. We went to the garlic farm there. Some of the best garlic I’ve ever had has been grown on the Isle of Wight; they’re growing it to be sold in Britain. Sometimes the garlic you get from the supermarket can be a bit wishy-washy, but this is not like that. They do elephant garlic as well, which is a lovely soft garlic that is great for roasting. I also spent a wonderful morning fishing there. It was one of those sunny days that when the programme comes out next week will make everybody nostalgic. Then we went to a local fish restaurant and it was old-fashioned, super fresh fish with a very well-made parsley sauce. It was one of the nicest things we had. It was simple, but right. We’re really proud of the fact that we do think British food is some of the best in the world. It’s world-class and if you go back in time, you can find the unique character it has.
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What’s been your favourite destination to visit on your search for food?
For me personally it’s Thailand. We’re going back to film there. We’ve got a great series planned this year; I think it’s quite relevant for travel because this is our dream one really. We both love Asian food and since we did the Hairy Dieters we’re much more careful with the fats and the calories in food. We’re going to be filming in Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Korea and Japan. Chinese food has been in British culture for more than 50 years now. We’re going to try to find the best of it and discover the roots of the food that we enjoy in Britain.
Are you taking your bikes?
Oh god, yes. We want to start in Tokyo in Japan. Japan is 1000 miles long and it’s a big strip of land and that’s going to be a great road trip. I can’t quite envision what rural Japan’s like in my head; I’m sure a lot of our viewers can’t either. We want to take the viewers with us. It will be the best Hairy Dieters trip there’s ever been.
What country do you think has the best grub on offer?
South India has some of the best. You can go through the cardamom hills and the spice plantations, it’s really quite special. Most of it is vegetarian, so being kind of kooky carnivores we lived on vegetarian food and seafood, but absolutely loved it. I also love Thai food and the food in Argentina was amazing. It wasn’t all beef, although the beef was amazing, there’s that long coast line down the South Atlantic – the crabs, sea bass and seafood was amazing, We caught 26 sea bass and four baby sharks. We caught enough fish to cook on the program. Cooking on the beach in Patagonia with the sea bass you caught – it doesn’t get much better than that.
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What do you never leave home without?
Well nowadays it’s the iPad and phone. I always seem to be the one that carries medicine, too. A dose of antibiotics is a good idea, as we can’t afford to be sick.
What’s the strangest food you’ve ever tried on holiday?
In Vietnam, I ate goat’s penis. It was quite grisly really. Mine included the bollocks and everything in a very frugal broth. To be honest it tasted like one would expect a goat’s cock to taste. In Africa, we had mopane worms. People dry them out on the tin roofs. I can only describe the taste as being like rotting beef crossed with a teenager’s trainer.
Have you sampled horse on your travels?
I’ve had horse in Belgium and it’s fine. It’s healthy meat. We’ve been a culture half-dependent on the people making the food for us, off the land work and factories for over 200 years now and there’s a lot of trust being given to supermarkets. When our trust is breeched, you do have that shortfall. I think there are cultural implications as well; I really think it’s wrong if there’s food eaten by Muslim community that contains pork. Things should be what they say they are. They’ve driven down the supplier’s prices, and the suppliers who have been making the food, I’m sure they didn’t know it was horsemeat. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.
You spend a lot of time on the road with Simon, do you ever get sick of him?
No not really, we’re better now than we ever have been. I spend more time with Simon than I do with my wife. We always joke about how many Valentine’s nights we’ve spent together, it’s indecent really. We’re very lucky to be able share the experiences we have with our old friends. We’ve been friends for 20 years.
What are you working on next?
We’ve just started planning our Asian adventure, but we’re also working on another series before that on the history of the industrial revolution – which has nothing to do with food. Then holidays really, we’ll finally get to take our wives on holiday.
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