The new semester has just begun and Stirling is welcoming an influx of students, new and old alike. For some of you, it’s maybe your first time in Scotland. It can be a bit of a culture shock, with people using words and dialects you’ve never heard before. Scottish food is a big part of our culture and it can be rather mind-boggling to newcomers. Let me break our cuisine down for you.
Haggis, neeps and tatties
This is probably the first thing that pops into your head when you hear ‘Scottish food’. In fact, it’s our national dish.
Haggis is most commonly made with sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, onion, oatmeal, suet and seasonings (I promise it’s tastier than it sounds). Usually it’s served with mashed neeps and tatties (AKA turnips and potatoes).
Most Scots will eat this on Burns Night (January 25) to celebrate the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Whilst it’s maybe not the most appealing meal to everyone, trying haggis should definitely be on your Stirling bucket list. Gluten free and vegetarian options are available at most supermarkets nowadays.
Fish and chips
Another Scottish food staple (and perhaps a tastier one). You won’t have to look far to find a chip shop in Stirling (often referred to as a ‘chippy’ or heaven forbid, ‘chipper’). Whitefish is usually deep fried in batter or breadcrumbs and served alongside chips and sauce of your choice.
You can find a plethora of other options at the chippy (yes, including the infamous deep-fried Mars bar – I think that one speaks for itself). There really is something for everyone.
Pronounced ‘iron brew’, this fizzy drink has been the best-selling soft drink in Scotland for more than a hundred years. The taste is indescribable but the iconic orange drink has become popular the world over, and you’d have a tough time finding a shop in Stirling that doesn’t sell it.
Full Scottish breakfast
You’ve probably heard of (and maybe even eaten) a full English breakfast, but the full Scottish is a bit different. As well as eggs, bacon, sausages, toast, tomato, mushrooms and baked beans, the Scottish version can include black pudding, Lorne sausage (also called square sausage), haggis and tattie scones.
Lorne sausage isn’t that different from a regular sausage, aside from it’s unique shape. The flattened square is perfect for putting inside a bread roll.
I’m not being dramatic when I say tattie scones will change your life. Imagine: mashed potatoes with a little added flour to make a dough, shaped into triangles and fried until crisp. Heavenly.
Mince and tatties
Are you sensing a pattern here? Scottish people love tatties. Mince and tatties is a comfort meal for many, as beef mince with hearty gravy and creamy mashed potatoes is simple to make. Vegetables such as carrots, onions and peas may also be included.
Something sweet to finish. This simple desert showcases some of Scotland’s finest produce. Honey and whisky are added to thickened double cream, and then layered in a tall glass with fresh raspberries and toasted oatmeal. A delicious pudding that’s easy to make at home.
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