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For the love of fish suppers

A STAPLE of the British diet since the combination became so popular during the 19th century, the concept of serving fish and potatoes as a fast meal flourished from the front rooms of homes to the the chippies we know now, when Joseph Malin opened the first recorded fish and chip shop in London in 1860. It has proven to be a lasting, popular dish thanks to its simplicity, quality of ingredients and value for money.

The condiment debate

With vinegar or sauce?

For most of the country, salt and vinegar is the staple condiment combination for any fish supper. Edinburgh upstarts, however, insist on enhancing the flavour of their suppers with a vinegar-diluted brown sauce known locally as "chippie sauce".

Some would argue we owe our very existence to our favourite takeaway. The humble fish and chips helped feed the masses during the industrial revolution. As one of the few foods not to be rationed during the Second World War, it was a welcome supplement for the diet of the population during lean times. In the consumer-led world of global food imports, fish and chips continues to be the most welcome of quick meals.

And be wary of the hype surrounding the heath implications of fish and chips. As a meal, it contains fewer calories and less salt than many of its fast-food rivals.

The combination of fresh, battered fish - usually haddock or sometimes cod - and crisp, fluffy-centred chips made from actual potatoes (yes, somewhat surprising these days), is an obvious and irresistible meal. And despite the onslaught of burgers and pizza, fish and chips still lead the way in takeaway sales across the UK.

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According to the National Federation of Fish Friers, the British public consume nearly 300 million servings of fish and chips annually, which means nearly six helpings for every man, woman and child in the country - suggesting a rare indulgence for some and an almost daily routine for others.

So, in celebration of this most delectable of dishes, scotsman.com have complied a list of chippies and restaurants across Scotland so you too may sample some of the very best fish and chips money can buy.

Applecross Inn: Applecross, Wester Ross

The journey to Applecross alone is breathtaking, traveling on Britain's highest mountain pass road, Bealach na Ba to get there. The Applecross Inn boasts great seafood all year round, and is surpassed only by the excellent seafood barbeques they do in the summer.

Review by Richard Bath, Scotland on Sunday

Deep Sea Restaurant: 81 Nethergate, Dundee

A Dundee institution, the Sterpaio family have been serving the best fish and chips since 1939, and maintain tradition in serving the dynamic duo the old fashioned way, with mushy peas and buttered bread by apron-clad waitresses.

Giacopazzi's: 18-20 Harbour Road, Eyemouth, Scottish Borders

Located right next to what's left of the Eyemouth fish market, Giacopazzi's has been serving superb fish and chips since 1900. They also boast award-winning ice cream, made on site.

Harry Ramsden's: Inshes Retail Park, Inverness

Although Harry Ramsden's is a nationally recognised restaurant chain, this branch in particular has won a number of awards for the quality of its food. Opened in 2000, it was the first drive-thru chippie in Scotland.

Land and Sea Fish and Chips: Main Street, Polmont, Falkirk

Scottish winner of the Best Fish and Chip Shop Award 2005, Land and Sea offers gluten-free fish and chips using the finest ingredients.

Peppo's: 53 Ladybridge Street, Arbroath, Angus

Angus may be well-known for its beef, but it also is one of the best areas for tasty fish. Located right next to Arbroath harbour, you can be sure the fish is fresh. John and Frank Orsi have been trading in Arbroath since 1951 and have a solid reputation for quality food. Open only a few hours daily, Peppo's is a more discerning chippie than the after-pub variety.

Philadelphia Fish and Chicken Bar: 445 Great Western Road, Glasgow

No, we haven't mixed up our fish with the Philly cheese steak. The Philadelphia, owned by the same family as the highly rated Ristorante La Parmigiana, has been trading in the west end of Glasgow for more than 70 years. Although a little more expensive than most chippies, the quality of the food makes it worth paying that little bit extra.

Rapido: 79 Broughton Street, Edinburgh

If there was such a thing as a gastro-chippie, Rapido would certainly qualify. While serving traditional fish-and-chip-shop fare, it also boasts rather more exotic takeaway items, such as fresh paninis, calzone, pastas and a delectable assortment of cakes. There are vegetarian and vegan options as well.

Sandy's Fish Chips: 28 Market Square, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Although more famously associated with the birth of the cardiac-inducing (just joking!), deep-fried Mars Bar, Sandy's serves big slabs of locally landed haddock. It's Mel Gibson's favourite chippie too ... apparently.

The Anstruther Fish Bar: 44 Shore Street, Anstruther, Fife

The long queues at the Anstruther during evenings and weekends prove this chip shop's popularity is not gained through idle boasting alone. Winner of Best in Scotland awards 2001 and 2002, after which they withdrew from the competition to "give other chippies a chance." Nice of them!

The Fish & Chip Van: Fisherman's Pier, Tobermory Harbour, Mull

Open from April to October and famous among the yachting community, the fish and chip van is no ordinary chippy - a speciality is fresh scallops landed by the co-owner's son. There's no seating, but lobster creels do sterling service.

Review by Richard Bath, Scotland on Sunday

Valente's: 73 Overton Road, Kirkcaldy, Fife

Usually always a queue, Valente's popularity is derived from the quality of the food it serves. Although a slight detour from the centre of town, it's well worth the trip.

West End Caf and Chip Shop: 3 Gallowgate, Rothesay, Bute

The West End Caf and Chip Shop is a two-time winner of the UK Best Fish and Chip Shop Award. A worthy destination for the hungry traveller. Only serves haddock, but the freshest you are likely to find.

There you have it. This is not meant to be the most definitive list, just a sample from some of the best Scotland has to offer. What do you think?

Let us know your own views on the best fish and chips in Scotland, and if your favorite chippy offers anything more elaborate than vinegar or brown sauce.

 
 
 

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