Saturday, February 8, 2014

What is traditional Scottish Food?


Where to eat in Scotland…actually, the question is where and what to eat!!  We have had some strange food during the last few weeks.  A fortnight ago we didn’t feel like cooking so we decided to go into town to eat.  We ended up at the “Wanna Berger” restaurant.  It is the Scottish version of an In-N-Out.  Not too bad, but it is no In-N-Out!!

This place is much the same as TGI Friday's
An interesting attempt at an American hamburger.
The next night we were in Ayr and were early for our meeting so we ate at Frankie and Benny’s.  It is a chain from New York and it is a lot like T.G.I. Friday’s.  I had the Bacon Cheese Berger and it was very good.  To be honest, Scottish food isn’t very exciting.  We have found a good Italian restaurant (Bella Italia) and a pretty good Mexican (Tex-Mex) restaurant (Chiquito)

For traditional Scottish food we went to the Burns Supper which I posted last week. 

 The haggis on the left is what I had ordered in a restaurant in Edinburgh and the haggis on the right is what was served at the Burns Supper.  Haggis is not my favorite Scottish meal.
Haggis is traditionally Scottish but I’ve been thinking about what other food I would consider to be Scottish.  I guess it would be Fish & Chips.  I know for sure the Irish don’t know how to fix good Fish & Chips.  We have never had a good Fish & Chip dinner in Ireland.  
A typical Fish & Chips dinner would include peas or often “mushy peas”  (which are really gross).  The peas are usually large tasteless old peas.  The mushy peas look like peas that have been mashed up or whipped…also very tasteless.  Fish & chips are best with Malt Vinegar and Salt.

This last week we had a fun experience with the Chinese missionaries and 5 Chinese students – three were Church members and two were investigating the Church.  There is a large Chinese student population here in Edinburgh and also in Glasgow.  They come to the Universities in Edinburgh usually for their Masters degree, but some for their PhD.  We were invited to go with them to a traditional Chinese “Hot Pot” dinner.
We took the bus and met them at the restaurant.  We arrived before the others and we thought we were at the wrong spot.  The restaurant looked like a take-out place and was a bit of a “hole-in-the-wall” but then we noticed a door to the “Hot Pot” portion.  We had a table with nine people so we had three hot plates set for us.  First they brought out the “Starters”.  (“Starters” are appetizers in Scotland)

 Based on what was on the plate of Starters indicated that we were in for a real treat for dinner.  On this plate were Chicken feet, chicken gizzards, some sort of beef and vegetables/noodles.  They were all cold...but cooked.  I tasted the Chicken feet, but that was enough...just a taste.  The beef was good and also the chicken gizzards.
This plate of Starters was dumplings...they were very good and very similar to what you would find in a Chinese restaurant in the states.

We then ordered items from the menu and they brought out all the food in large pans…all fresh, but uncooked.  They brought out large cooking pots to place on the hot plates.
This pan of food was all raw.  It included 2-3 types of tofu, fish, meat that looked like Spam, mussels, fish balls, beef balls, shrimp (heads on), vegetables, two types of seaweed, crab sticks, squid, another type of something in a shell, noodles, ox tripe, thinly sliced beef and pork, and probably more items that I have forgotten, or didn't know what it was.

The "Spam" type meet was not very good, the mussels were very good.  The round things with the brown strip were very good also.  The shrimp were good...once you got the head off so it wasn't looking at you.  The seaweed was good.  The brown tofu (next to the spam) was very good.
This was the large pot that sat on the hot plate...the "hot pot".  The left side was a broth with spices and chilies in it and the right side was just the broth.  The broth was heated to a boil and then the food was put in with the tongs to let it cook.

As the food cooked you could scoop it out with a large ladle or just reach in with your chop sticks.  I was told it was OK to retrieve with the chop sticks because the broth was so hot it would kill all the bacteria.  :)     That is the sliced beef to the side of the pot.
Once the food was cooked you placed it on these small plates.  The bowl to the right is a mixture of a peanut based sauce with spices, garlic, onions, coriander (cilantro), chilies (the hot red kind), sesame oil etc.
All in all, it was a fun night, and one that we will for sure do again!!


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