National Fish & Chip Day
I was always a big fan of fish and chips; the British tradition with an ambiguous history. I like it so much that you can check out my own vegan version: Battered Tofu and Nori Seaweed ‘Fish’ and Chips (link below).
Both Lancashire and London stake a claim to being the first to invent this famous meal. Chips were a cheap, staple food of the industrial north, while fried fish was first introduced in London’s East End. In 1839, Charles Dickens referred to a 'fried fish warehouse' in his novel, Oliver Twist.
The populace soon decided that putting fried fish and chips together was a very tasty combination. So was born our national dish of fish and chips!
The first fish and chip shop in the north of England is thought to have opened in Lancashire, around 1863. Mr Lees sold them from a wooden hut in the market, and later transferred the business to a permanent shop across the road that had the following inscription in the window, “This is the first fish and chip shop in the world”.
In London, where I live, it is said that Joseph Malin opened a fish and chip shop in Cleveland Street within the sound of Bow Bells in 1860. But who really knows?
Luckily an ever increasing number of chippies have started to cater for vegans. Our Chief Executive, Amanda, even found a chip shop in Llandudno, Wales, that had a substantial vegan offering.
However, it had nothing that replicated that traditional crispy yellow battered fish. Sutton and Sons in Hackney, London, does do this, however!
When I visited recently, I was surprised and delighted by what was on offer. An entire menu awaits lucky vegan visitors! I went for the ‘fish’ made from marinated banana blossom (the central part of a bunch of bananas) and chips with mushy peas with battered ‘prawns’ as a side. The banana blossom was delicious – slightly sweet and subtly flavoured with seaweed in the marinade. However, the real winner was the battered ‘prawns’. I literally couldn’t tell the difference between these and actual battered prawns.
I have also been experimenting at home. I'm delighted to release a recipe for Battered Tofu and Nori Seaweed ‘Fish’ and Chips. Enjoy, and happy National Fish and Chip Day!
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