More historical pedantry proving that cosmopolitanism (rooted, rather than rootless) can give us what we think of as most uniquely our own (more here and here).
First, fish and chips. Couldn't be more British? True - now, anyway. But it began life as the mixed race (or dual heritage, if you prefer) Whitechapel-born child of the potato-loving Irish and the piscaphilic Jewish.
Once the Irish could be persuaded to try their favourite staple French-style, the two were deep-fried together, a method of cooking fish introduced by the Jews. It made a tasty, nourishing and convenient meal that happily meant some religious dietary requirements could be observed, especially on a Friday, when a fish supper appealed to both Jewish and Catholic traditions. Adapted further - spoilt really - in the more barbarous parts of the country through the addition of mushy peas (wrong, just wrong).
Secondly, the ice cream van: as exotic as Macdonalds. Its origin is to be found in the back streets of Clerkenwell, a home for nineteenth century Italian immigrants (whose descendants still run some excellent delis and cafes in the area).
Some of these Italians entertained the London public with organ music accompanied by a capering monkey. Others, from different regions of the home country, made ice cream, selling it from stalls. An obvious synergy there.
Following some intense merger and acquisition activity a new food and leisure conglomerate emerged: the organ-grinding ice cream seller, horse-drawn or hand-pulled. Watch my monkey caper whilst sucking on a delicious ice! No wonder it caught on.
Like all good entrepreneurs, the Italians kept an eye on technological innovation. Motorising the barrel organ was only a matter of time: the modern-day ice cream van, complete with whippy cones and 'o sole mio' chimes arrived in the 1950s, a clarion call to ices. Shame about the monkey.
Motorised Italian barrel organ, with ice cream, without monkey