Docherty’s Fish ‘n Chips & Wee Pub: How fish and chips became popular
When thinking of classic dinner meals to indulge on, there is always one dish that springs to mind—fish and chips! The satisfying combination of crispy battered fish paired with fresh-cut fries is truly a meal to die for. There is no denying that this dish is globally loved and is often eaten on any occasion.
But, where exactly did this delectable dish come from, and how did this simple recipe become so popular?
How it all began
During the year 1946, Portuguese King Manuel I married Queen Isabella of Spain, a Roman Catholic who thought all citizens should convert to Christianity, or else should be vanished. People who did not flee were given even more reason to leave the country when Portugal fell under Spanish rule, as the Spanish colonizers sought out and punished the Jewish and Muslim people who remained. With this in mind, many Jewish refugees fled from Portugal to Britain, bringing with them their traditional fried fish, and opening up what was known as fried fish warehouses.
As for fish’s partner in crime, ‘chips,’ can be traced to either Belgium or France. Though chips are often called ‘French’ fries, the Belgians strongly think the ‘fry’ was invented in Namur, Belgium, where the River Meuse froze over during a cold winter in 1680. It all started when the locals had to resort to frying potatoes since they couldn’t get any fish out of the ice.
Moreover, some people believe that the first form of chips was the ‘pomme Pont-Neuf’—which were deep-fried potatoes sold in the late 18th century by vendors on Pont Neuf, Paris’ oldest bridge. Whatever may be the case, both dishes came to be known separately, but it was when fish and chips were paired together that the magic truly happened.
Its rise to fame
While no one really knows how fish and chips came together, it soon became a dinner staple in Britain. People started to refer to them as a pair dating back to 1854, where a chef mentioned them in a recipe book called ‘Shilling Cookery’.
As soon as it grew in popularity, chip shops, or ‘chippies’, began to pop up all over the United Kingdom. It is allegedly known that the very first chip shop belonged to the Jewish immigrant, Joseph Malin in 1860. Their popularity was evident and by 1910, there were about 25,000 chippies across Britain.
The popularity of fish and potatoes took off even further during the world wars and became known to other western countries as a result. Due to its growing fame, these two were the only foods that were not rationed during World War II. Soon, the recipe’s original bread crumbs were replaced by batter as fish and chips became known commercially.
Nowadays, this hot and crispy goodness is loved all over the world and is one of the most celebrated dishes. Looking to eat fish and chips? Visit us now at Docherty’s Fish ‘n Chips & Wee Pub!