As some of you may know from following me on social media, I’ve been road-tripping around the UK, from London all the way to North of Scotland and back (and just recently spent a week in Marrakech, Morocco but that’s a post for another day).
I actually did my month+ UK road trip on a whim. Having seen so much of other parts of the world, shamefully I hadn’t seen much of my own country prior to this trip. Also having a Japanese friend, who’d just became a British citizen, who has seen more of the UK than I had definitely spurred me on to exploring more of my home country!
So to start my UK road-trip posts, I present to you my top 5 Scottish foods to try when in Scotland.
First things first, Scotland’s national dish – Haggis. I’ve been told by many prior to my trip that this was a must to try. Haggis is mainly made up of Sheep’s offal (the bits which are often discarded) – lungs, hearts, and liver. Sounds horrible right? I had my very first Haggis in The Griffin Bar in Glasgow. I had the minced version, and you can also have it in sausage form. It tasted similar to minced beef except with a slight more rubbery texture. I know it’s not the best looking of dishes, but I didn’t think it was too bad actually. My Haggis was served with Tatties (also known as mashed potatoes) and Neeps (turnip).
2. Scottish Breakfast
Another must to try when in Scotland is a Full Scottish Breakfast. The Scottish Breakfast that I had here was at The Hengler’s Circus, a JD Wetherspoon Pub in Glasgow. It consisted of fried eggs, bacon, lorne sausages, black pudding, baked beans, potato bread and grilled tomato. Very similar to an English Breakfast which contains all of the above, but without lorne sausages, black pudding and potato bread, and instead with sausages in standard form, toasted bread (with butter), and fried mushrooms. In general, Scottish Breakfast can also be served with Haggis.
3. Aberdeen Angus Steak
Another Scottish traditional dish is Aberdeen Angus Steak. Having tried Argentinian Steak (which was the best steak I ever had), I was curious to try a Scottish Steak. No offence to the Scots, but the Argentinian Steak still is in the lead on my Steak score board, but it was still good to try. I had my Aberdeen Angus Steak, which was served with chips, green peas, grilled tomato and mushroom, at The Foot of the Walk, a JD Wetherspoon Pub in Edinburgh.
4. Fish and Chips
Now Fish and Chips is not new to a Londoner like myself, but I guess eating fish that came from the Scottish waters made it a new experience? Honestly, there’s not really a difference between English and Scottish Fish and Chips. The quality really depends on the practices of individual shops. The Fish and Chips in the picture was from The Pier Restaurant in Uig, Isle of Skye, and it was definitely one of the best Fish and Chips I’ve ever had, then again, it probably was the most expensive fish and chips I’ve had too.
Incase you don’t know, Fish and Chips is either Cod or Haddock fish covered in a light, crisp batter, accompanied with deep fried chips. Just so you can avoid the mistake I made, in Scotland, they call Fish and Chips in batter, “Fish Supper”. When I was in a Chippy (what we Brits like to call a Fish and Chip shop) in Mallaig, I noticed many out-of-towners, including myself, misreading the Fish Supper sign as “Fish Super”, thinking it was a larger size.
5. Mince and Tatties
As a Londoner, this dish wasn’t anything new. We were looking for other Scottish dishes to try at The Griffin Bar in Glasgow and this was recommended. It’s a dish of mince beef, tatties (which is mashed potatoes) and green peas. Depending on where you’re from in the world, this might be something new for you to try. It is so good!
One more thing…
Deep Fried Mars Bars
Photo Credit: Rough Guides
So unfortunately I was only told about this “after” I got back from my Scotland/UK road trip! But yes, it is exactly as it sounds – A Deep Fried Mars Bar. And it was first founded in Fish and Chip shops in Scotland. The Mars Bars are cooked from chilled to prevent it from melting, and is fried in a type of batter commonly used for “fish” in fish and chips. Now I didn’t get the chance to try it so can’t exactly recommend it, nor add it officially to my numbered list of Scottish foods to try in Scotland, but doesn’t it make you curious to try one? I’m now going to be on a hunt for one of these in London, and will update this post and let you know what I think of it!
What do you think of Haggis? Yay or Nay? Any delicious recommendations?