Fish and chips are a staple of British diet, with chip shops or “chippies” being found in every town across the UK. In most, you’ll find tender fish enveloped in crispy batter coupled with fluffy chips and an array of sauces, from salt and vinegar to curry sauce.
Whilst fish and chips are popular, there is a diverse range of chip shop specialities which vary between regions and the countries of the United Kingdom. Scotland is renowned for deep-frying any type of food. However, Scottish chippies stretch far beyond battered Mars Bars. With treats from red pudding to patties, the Scottish chippy is far different from its neighbours’.
Like other countries, Scotland has regional menu differences. Throughout the nation, haddock is sold primarily – unless stated otherwise – whereas most other places in the UK opt for cod. Additionally, Scots call fish with chips a “fish supper” as both compartments function as a meal and fish without chips is classed as a “single”. This also applies to other menu items, namely a “haggis supper” or a “king rib supper”. It should also be noted that breaded haddock is called “special fish”.
Haggis suppers are, perhaps, the most obviously Scottish menu item. These are made from sheep’s pluck, onion, oatmeal, suet, stock and spices then coated in batter and deep-fried. They are served alone as a “haggis fritter” or as a supper.
In a close second, is the deep-fried Mars Bar. First emerging in the nineties, the snack drew global attention and painted the Scots’ reputation for deep-frying anything. Nowadays, they can be found if you look hard enough but mostly cater to tourists. Supposedly, a lot of chippies will deep-fry anything you request, especially chocolate, and often have deep-fried Snickers on the menu.
The King Rib supper is typically found throughout Scotland and Northern England. The sweet, rib-shaped pork patty – which is battered and deep-fried, of course – is served with chips and often comes with a barbeque flavour. Across the Central Belt of Scotland, mince, steak and macaroni pie suppers are sometimes options. Whilst most places offer these without batter, it isn’t unheard of to see them deep-fried.
Black pudding is frequently found in chip shops across Britain but is a standard menu item in Scotland along with the exclusive white pudding. Traditionally, both puddings contain suet, bread and oatmeal before being rolled up and fried in batter. They differ in one aspect: black pudding contains pig blood whereas white pudding swaps it for pig meat and fat. Furthermore, in Fife and Dundee, red pudding is an option. It is the Scottish equivalent to the English saveloy as both are red and made of beef, pork, seasonings, colouring, flour and more. It is shaped into a sausage and mostly deep-fried, like black and white pudding.
Salt ‘n’ sauce is a well-known condiment solely found in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas. The true recipe is a secret; however, it is guessed to be a mix of malt vinegar and brown sauce. In certain areas of Fife, a sauce called “pink” is available. It is thought to originate from Northern Ireland and be made of mayonnaise and ketchup.
In Orkney, you can find a Pattie supper in every chippy. Described as “battered mince and tatties”, Patties are made up of mince, potato, onion and spices melded together, coated in batter and deep-fried. Each fish and chip shop have a unique recipe, and many have other versions such as cheese and onion.
Down the West Coast of Scotland, a fritter roll or roll and fritter is common. A potato fritter – mashed potato, battered and deep-fried – is added to a bread roll and can be served with salt and vinegar, curry sauce or any other traditional chip shop sauces. In the same area and Glasgow, the pizza crunch is a popular supper. The battered pizza is served in slices, halves or wholes and has a range of toppings, including cheese, cheese and onion or mushroom.
Some items, such as the chip steak supper and the mock chop, are joked about as currently being “mythical” in Scotland. However, these items can be found in Dundee. A chip steak is a type of chopped meat with seasoning and the type can vary, while it is claimed online that a mock chop is essentially a battered and fried lamb kebab. These menu items are so uncommon that there can be great differences between establishments.
Some chip shops offer seasonal varieties. In the Coatbridge area, deep-fried Creme Eggs are offered at Easter while the Reivers Fish Bar in Duns have mincemeat pies, Christmas pudding and Yule Logs in batter, deep-fried at Christmas. In 2018, you could even find a deep-fried Christmas dinner. The Dunkeld Fish Bar, Perthshire, served turkey goujons, battered Brussels sprouts, carrot and parsnip fritters, a massive battered pig-in-blanket and a deep-fried mince pie for £10.
Some other notable battered and deep-fried creations include: tattie scones (Glasgow), burgers (Dundee and Ayrshire), spam fritters (Ayrshire), mushrooms (Duns), steak pie (West Scotland), ice cream (Dumbartonshire) and Oreos (Duns).
With plenty of distinctive menu items, the Scottish chippy is unique. Despite the volume of available deep-fried foods, it is important to remember this type of food is high in calories and should be consumed in moderation.
Feature image credit: Glasgow Live