The History of Fish and Chips - Getzz

The History of Fish and Chips

A fish supper is possibly one of the finest creations to ever burst forth onto the British culinary scene. No matter your choice of condiment – salt, vinegar, ketchup, brown sauce, or the infamous ‘salt and sauce’ favoured by our pals in Edinburgh – any fish supper combo is a combo for the Gods.

But where did this fantastic fish dish come from? Who invented fish and chips? When did fish and chips come to Scotland? What’s the best fish and chips near me?

Let’s answer these questions and get up close and personal with the nation’s favourite fish dish.

Where Did Fish and Chips Come From?

Britain is famous for its love of fish and chips. All corners of the Union enjoy a wee taste of a fish supper, and although up here north of the border we have more haddock and cod in our seas than you can wave a chip at, it was in England that the marine meal first made an appearance.

The tattie first arrived on these shores in the 17th Century when Sir Walter Raleigh hopped back from the New World with a sack of potatoes and changed the face (and the waistline) of Britain forever. Whilst Sir Walter can take the credit for bringing our much-loved potato into our lives, chips are said to have been invented by the Belgians. Villagers along the River Meuse traditionally ate fried fish, but in winter, when the river froze, the hungry villagers fried potatoes instead. The Americans dubbed them ‘French Fries’ in World War I, because French was the predominant language in southern Belgium.  

The moniker of the ‘first-ever chip shop’ is a hotly contested subject. Charles Dickens wrote about a “fried fish warehouse” in Oliver Twist way back in 1838, whilst this book is a work of fiction, one of the 2 establishments to have the strongest claim to the title of first fish supper was in the East End of London. Joseph Malin’s shop in London and John Lees in Oldham are said to be the place where the dish was born, and it spread across the nation quicker than the Spice Girl’s first single.

That being said, we don’t see any reference to fish and chips being sold in Scotland until the 1870s, when a Belgian immigrant in Dundee set up shop in the city’s Greenmarket area. But, from then on, we Scots have had an affinity for the fishy dishy and it rivals our beloved haggis, neeps, and tatties as our favourite ‘traditional’ dish.

Into the 20th century, the fish and chips revolution went from strength to strength and fuelled workers of the Industrial Revolution as well as soldiers and workers alike through 2 world wars. Fish and chips were one of the very few foods not to be rationed during World War 2!

Ever since the chippy industry has grown to a massive 10,000 chippies selling almost 400 million fish suppers in the UK each year and growing – that means there are over 8 chippies to every McDonalds. Ronald is outnumbered and outgunned by a ‘chip shop near me’!

Which is ‘Batter’ – Haddock or Cod?

Cod is the most popular fish in chippies with 60% of all fish and chips containing the good ol’ Cod.  The next most popular fish is the mighty haddock. Connoisseurs will tell you it has a sweeter taste than its rival, but if you’re whacking in the salt and vinegar, it’s all gonna taste brilliant either way!

The options beyond haddock and cod are fish like pollock (the fanciest member of the cod family) or skate. Skate is a popular choice down the west coast and is incredibly tasty, but just watch out for those bones. It might be more work, but worth it in the end!

How Do You Eat Yours?

What you have with your fish supper is an incredibly personal and diverse choice. Salt and vinegar is the standard accompaniment across the country, but popular choices include ketchup, broon sauce, a wee bit of tartare sauce, or maybe a slice of lemon? There is of course the great Edinburgh tradition of salt n sauce on their fish supper. But what’s in chippy sauce? It’s made with onions, spices, sultanas and other fruits – making it more of a watered-down brown sauce! Chippy sauce has become synonymous with Edinburgh, but most chippies in the capital buy it from a supplier in Glasgow – making it Glasgow creation!

Are Fish and Chips healthy?

However you take your fish and chips, it’s always a great addition to anyone’s diet. Fish and chips are a super source of protein, fibre, iron and vitamins, providing a third of the recommended daily allowance of vitamins for men and nearly half for women. Now if that’s not a great excuse to get yourself a fish supper, what is?!

Where Can I Get Fish and Chips Near Me?

Inverness has a great tradition of chippies and provides some of the best fish suppers this side of Atlantis! You can get a fish supper delivered to your door tonight through the local takeaway app – getzz!

getzz brings you the best local food at the touch of a button. Great local fish and chips are just waiting for your order:

Crown Court Town House Hotel & Bar– they do a great battered haddock with hand-cut chips, a classic interpretation of a fish supper!

Kool Runnings – The Jamaican emporium makes a mean fish and chips. It has a great local beer-battered haddock with tartare sauce and chips.

Lorimers Family Restaurant Inverness– The Inverness institution has the biggest range of options when it comes to chippy options! From Gluten free haddock to battered or breadcrumbed cod, whitebait, scampi, and everything in between. A real family favourite choice when ordering fish and chips in Inverness.

Brambles Café – North Sea Haddock served with chips and their special homemade tartare sauce. A great choice!

There’s loads to choose from on getzz. If you’re looking for ‘fish and chips near me’, download the app now and see what’s cooking!

Don’t Just Eat Inverness, getzz local!

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