How to eat fish and chips correctly in 2024

eat fish and chips

Did you ever wonder how to eat fish and chips correctly? Well if this is something that you have never worried about then there is also every chance that you might well also be getting it wrong! No worries, here is the street food guy’s guide to eating fish and chips.

It has been argued that the English have not done all that much for global cuisine, but I feel that is a bit harsh, after all we perfected breakfast, made pies for lunch and as for the Donner kebab, well that cant even match us in Turkey. Yet ahead of all this and our street food was fish and chips.

What fish is in fish and chips?

You can’t have fish and chips without fish, so what fish should be used for this dish? Well as you travel around the world the fish that is used changes greatly depending on what is available in that country. BUT the only real fish and chips is of course from the United Kingdom therefore the correct fish for fish and chips is cod if you are in the south England, or haddock, or rock/dogfish if you are in other parts of the UK. I have heard of other fish such as place, or pollack.

Said fish is battered and deep fried in cooking oil such as sunflower or rapeseed that has a high smoke point, you really can’t do this with butter – I have tried. Increasingly beer is a popular accompaniment when make fried fish with the bubbles that get released making it much more “airy”.

Chips or fries?

OK, so this is fish and chips, not fish and French fries. Chips should be chunky and thick with a clear taste of potato inside, not airy and fake like a McDonalds French fry.

Pretty much any potato can be used, but your best bet is King Edward potatoes as their texture makes the finished chip hard n the outside partly soft inside, while keeping its overall texture.

Boiling your chips is usually done by a pro, but if you are doing it at home with a deep fat frier then the core thing is to have the oil boiling first. Fail to do this and you will get potato mush that has absorbed all of the oil.

Are fish and chips still served in newspaper?

Fish and chips are no longer served in newspaper! This was something that was initially done during the second world war before going completely out of fashion by the 1980’s.

Apparently it turns out that ink from newspapers is not very good for you. The paper it is served in though, sans ink is the same texture as newspaper.

The only time you will see this now is places trying to look cool, which does not work and usually involves you getting fries in a cone, not correct fish and chips.

How to eat fish and chips correctly – what condiments?

One of the best things about fish and chips is not the fish and chips, but the dressing and condiments, of which only some are correct! The most important of course are salt and vinegar, with as my dad taught me involves the salt going on first before the vinegar which then spreads the salt. If you are savage like me you put on so much vinegar there is enough to drink at the end.

And as for sauce? You can put brown sauce on the chips and at a push ketchup with mayonnaise being avoided at all cost, we are civilized, unlike Belgium. Newer and indeed acceptable options are burger sauce, or chip shop curry sauce. Gravy is only acceptable when you order chips from a Chinese restaurant.

How do you properly eat fish and chips?

You will read some guides telling you that it is “OK” to eat dish and chips with a knife and fork, this is false for it is not OK to eat fish and chips with a knife and fork even if you are at home. If you are out you eat fish and chips from your lap (which it will keep warm) and with your hands. Some shops will provide a small wooden fork, which is acceptable when the chips are hot, or if you are a child.

Should you be eating your fish and chips at home then you open then in the paper bag and put the paper bag on a plate, thus still eating it from the a paper, but with the safety of a plate. This will protect you from the seeping vinegar. Again cutlery is not needed at all here.

How to to eat fish and chips if you don’t like fish?

Don’t like fish? No problem at all, with some of the best available items in a fish and chip shop not being fish at all! There are though some dishes that need to be avoided. Firstly if the Gish and chip shop you are in serves fried chicken, burgers, pizza, or worse still kebabs then you need to bolt right away for they are not a proper fish and chip shop.

The acceptable sides or fish alternatives in a chippy are sausage, saveloy (a very English sausage), or deep fried mushy pea fritters. If you are in Scotland then deep fried anything can substitute the fritters.

And of course there are pies and Cornish pasties, usual favorites are chicken and mushroom, minced beef an onion, or steak and kidney. These can end up pipping hot, but not only absorb the vinegar, but act as another great place to dip your chips.

And the best chip shop?

Picking out the best chip shop in the world would be extremely hard, but we can follow some rules to get us there. Firstly the best fish and chips is from the United Kingdom. Secondly with the Scottish take on fish as well as frying ANYTHING we would rightly narrow it down to England.

We can go further on this and say coastal towns do better chippies than more urban places. For me picking a best fish and chip shop would involves using these rules. With this in mind I personally feel that Sheppey has the best array of fish and chip shops, while Anchor Seafry of Lordswood and my youth is my particular favourite.

Fun Fact! In Devon they call a Cornish pasty a local pasty.

And that is the only way to eat fish and chips correctly as of 2024, with these rules having been handed down through the generations……