The Hidden Treats in British Fish and Chip Shops

If you made a list of iconic British foods, fish and chips would surely be at the top. A deep-fried white fish, typically cod or haddock, accompanied by chunky chips and often some mushy peas is a traditional seaside treat. That is not all that’s available in our much-loved chip shops though – here are some lesser known items you could try on your next trip to the UK!

A Battered Sausage

Cooked Sausage

First off, we have probably the most common alternative to fish – a battered sausage. What type of sausage you may ask? Pork? Chicken? Pidgeon? Who knows! Although the origin of the mystery meat within the same batter as you would find on a chip shop fish may never be truly known, if you can let that curiosity go you will find a very comforting, filling snack.

Scraps

Mother and Child Preparing Crepes

Speaking of the batter which surrounds the fish, any excess batter is put to good use. When your dish is being prepared you may well be asked ‘Would you like scraps?’. If you answer yes, a scoop of small pieces of batter will be added to your plate or takeaway box (actually, fish and chips are very frequently served wrapped in newspaper pages!) Free of charge.

Curry Sauce

Person Holding Chopsticks and White Ceramic Bowl

Despite not often being mentioned when I hear people from abroad discussing fish and chips, curry sauce is an extremely popular condiment to enhance the flavor of your meal! Chip shop curry sauce has its own distinct flavor and texture, very different from, for example, an Indian curry sauce. In fact, many companies have tried to replicate the taste and you will find sauces marketed as real chip shop curry sauce in many British supermarkets. This is my personal favorite thing to pour over my fish and chips! It’s also great for dipping your battered sausage in!

To Chip Butty

Fries on Brown Table

Chips and bread. A chip butty (a regional term for a sandwich). So simple, yet so satisfying. Take some deep-fried fatty chips, add plenty of butter to some white bread and stick as many of the chips as you can inside and there you have it – one of the dirty secrets of British cuisine! A healthy dollop or two of tomato ketchup is usually appreciated to add a little flavor to the fat and carbs.

Deep-fried Mars Bar

Brown Chocolate Bar on Multicolored Surface

Finally, a heart-busting treat from north of the border. The Scots are a bit more experimental with deep-frying than their English counterparts, and a Mars bar deep-fried in batter is a sickly but quite popular treat. In fact, many chip shops in Scotland will allow you to take any chocolate bar to them and they’ll deep-fry it in batter for you, for a small price.

 

We hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about British fish and chip shops. Would you like to try any of these delicacies? Do some of them sound terrible to you? Let us know in the comments!

A Brit in Italy: Culture Shock

[Italiano qui]

It’s fairly obvious that there are many differences between England and Italy, but some of them definitely surprised me more than others. I have been living in Italy for the past year and a half – initially in Abruzzo and now here in Milan – so now I am well used to life here, but back in 2016 I was absolutely not!

Prices

I think I spent the first two weeks of my life in Italy running around supermarkets and restaurants exclaiming ‘look at how cheap this pasta is!’ ‘have you seen the price of this wine?!’. Food and drink in the UK are extremely expensive compared to Italy – the cheapest bottle of wine in a supermarket usually costs around £7 (€8.35) and is often very acidic and of poor quality. We also primarily use screw-caps instead of corks, which is far less elegant in my opinion. Additionally, if you want a coffee in England you pay around £4 for a small Starbucks – whereas the best coffee in the world is here for only €1!

Noise

For a lot of people, one of the first things we think about when someone mentions ‘Italy’ is the noise. When visiting Naples, for example, I was overwhelmed with the amount of car horns and shouting – not to mention the fact that I was almost run over several times! It took me some time to get used to the shouting and general noise in public, but now when I go back to England the buses and trains are eerily quiet. If I ever want a quiet hour to myself in Milan, I usually go to the nearest library or a nice small café.

Greetings

Saying hello and goodbye in Italy is an event in itself. I think I’ve discovered the secret as to why Italians are always late – because every time you leave somewhere it takes an extra half an hour just to say goodbye! When leaving an event or party in England, we say goodbye once to everyone at the same time and leave pretty swiftly. Here, however, there’s a flurry of hugs and kisses, and the word ‘ciao’ repeated a hundred times over. I think people considered me quite rude for the first month of my time here, as I wasn’t quite used to the Italian way, but now I make sure I don’t leave without saying goodbye to every single person!

Traditions/Holidays

One of my favourite differences between Italy and the UK is that Italy has so many public holidays! It seems like every month there is something new to celebrate, and the mood of the country reflects that. Unfortunately, in the UK Carnival does not exist, but we do have pancake day instead! Apart from the fantastic day or two off work, one of the best things about these holidays (Easter, Carnival, Christmas etc.) is the food that comes with them, which brings me to my next point…

Food

It would be impossible to talk about Italian culture without at least mentioning the food! I think the UK is pretty well-known for its terrible cuisine (fish & chips for example), so one of the first things I noticed when I moved here was not just the new dishes, but the quality of the food itself. Everything is so fresh and so well-prepared; even a simple pasta dish with 3 ingredients tastes incredible! Sometimes I miss the more international dishes we have in the UK, like Indian curry or Mexican burritos, but they are relatively easy to find here in Milan and I wouldn’t give up Italian food for anything.

Etiquette

I wouldn’t be British if I didn’t mention this! Coming from England, it was a big shock to me that people here do not queue – and if they do then someone always ends up cutting the line anyway. Another big surprise was that cars tend not to stop at the zebra crossing (crosswalk). In England this is illegal, and we take it very seriously, but nobody here seems to care! The category of etiquette also applies to the issue of personal space. It took me months and months to get used to people standing so close to me when in line at the supermarket or stood on the metro, and I’m still terrified when people walk straight towards me on the street, but they always move at the last second! Finally, an honourable mention goes to customer service. This definitely exists in Italy, but as there is no tipping culture, it sometimes tends to slip; it’s definitely not a priority here!

Appearances

Many people in the UK tend to leave the house looking like they just woke up (this includes going out with wet hair!), but one of the most impressive things to me about Italian culture is that everyone always looks extremely presentable and put-together. Even at 8am on the metro, there isn’t a hair out of place and you’ll not find one person with dirty shoes. Cleanliness is a huge priority for Italian people; this includes both personal hygiene and tidiness in general. Long gone are the days of standing on a crowded, sweaty London tube – everyone here smells great!

I wouldn’t say that either way of life is better or worse than the other, just that there are many differences and many things to get used to when moving to a different country. Although the next time I go back to the UK, I’ll make sure to bring some pasta, coffee, and wine with me!

5 First Impressions of Italy from a Recent British Arrival

[Qui in italiano]

Moving to Milan at the start of January, I’ve had some time to get some first impressions of this wonderful city. Here is what an Englishman thinks of his first month in Milan.

1. The Food

With hidden gems around every corner, Milan is packed full of flavorful treats. The city’s much-loved specialties such as ossobuco, cotoletta or risotto are essential for any newcomer to try. Despite really liking these dishes, my favourite thing about Milan is being able to walk into any small café I choose and receive fantastic food and true Italian coffee. I had the best ice cream of my life from Orsi Gelateria, near Scrambled Eggs. You can find incredible bargains everywhere!

Assorted Vegetables and Spices on Wood Surface

 

2. The People

Last but not least, the people! Full of warm, welcoming people who are keen to help you feel at home. Even though my Italian is still not very good, people make an effort to understand me and talk to me anyway. The only downside is getting on and off the metro – people are in such a rush here!

Three Persons Sitting on the Stairs Talking With Each Other

3.The Architecture

From the breath-taking Duomo to the charming back alleys, a simple stroll around Milan is packed full with interesting sights. My favourite thing to do on the weekends is to pick a new area and then go and explore, without planning a route.

Grayscale Photography of Cathedral

4. The Weather

Compared to the frigid winters in the north of England, January and February have been very pleasant for me. In spite of it being humid at times here in Milan, the mild winter makes wandering around the city much more pleasurable. Even the fog has its charm!

Photography of Yellow Hibiscus Under Sunlight

5.The Art

The Last Supper really is a one-of-a-kind. It’s a must-see for any visitor. In London, all museums and art galleries are free to enter. At first, that makes the prices to go in here seem like a rip-off! However, once you start visiting them you quickly realise that they are worth it! There is also a great scheme where entry to most museums is free on the first Sunday of every month. Although it could be a bit spooky after dark, the Monumental Cemetery also has some truly artistic works to see.

Children Multicolored Hand Paint