It doesn’t get any more Western than fish and chips. In fact, it is such an authentic Western fare that it is actually England’s favourite dish and people around the world love it so much that fish and chips burgers were created. In countries like Australia, it is a perfect meal for those visiting the beach and in countries like Malaysia; it is one of the favourite Western fares that locals love.
Origin of Fish and Chips
Fish and chips originated from England and the locals usually use the term “chippy” to refer to the dish. Although the dish grew in popularity and is known as England’s local fare, it was introduced to the British people by Jewish refugees from Spain and Portugal.
The refugees would prepare their fish in a way that is similar to a popular Spanish dish, Pescado Frito, which is basically fish that is coated in flour and deep-fried. Although there is no record of when they started pairing deep-fired battered fish with chips and which was the first shop selling fish and chips, we know that it was spread quickly amongst the industrial workers in 19th century Britain.
The popularity of fish and chips took the nation by storm and grew to be Britain’s go-to fast food and numerous chippy shops popped up like wildfire across the country. By 1910, there were more than 25,000 shops selling chippies across the country, and by 1920, the number grew to 35,000 and showed no signs of stopping.
When the British went to war, British soldiers who settled in New Zealand brought the dish to the country, and since then, Fish and Chips have now spread across the world.
Making the best Fish and Chips
The concept of fish and chips might sound simple – you dip the fish in some flour, deep-fry it and serve it with hot chips but there are many important elements in the dish that need to be perfected to make a great fish and chip.
The type of fish used is extremely important. In the U.S. and Australia, it is common to use Dory fish for its smooth texture that melts in your mouth while still holding together its shape. In New Zealand, a snapper is usually used to make their fish and chips.
In order to get the best crunch, the consistency of the batter matters too. The traditional chippy found in England and Ireland only use a simple mix of flour, water, a touch of baking soda and a splash of vinegar whereas other chippies prefer to use milk batter as a substitute for water in the mixture.
The thickness of your batter and how much you coat your fish makes a difference to the end result of the dish. The temperature of the oil used to deep-fry the battered fish also affects the crunch and colour of the chippy. Depending on the type of oil used, the taste of fish and chips will also differ.
Accompaniments to Fish and Chips
The original fish and chips was a simple battered fish served with hot chips, but different countries have created different accompaniments to suit their taste buds. In England, mushy peas and curry sauce is a popular addition to the dish. In Australia, vinegar on chips is common and customers get a choice of ketchup, tartare sauce or sour cream to go with their fish and chips.
In countries like Malaysia, fish and chips are often accompanied with a side of coleslaw, lightly salted chips, lemon slice and tartare sauce to go with the fish itself.
Where to get the best Fish and Chips in Malaysia
Almost all restaurants that specialise in Western cuisines in Malaysia serve fish and chips but for the best taste, try the Manhattan Fish ‘N Chips from Manhattan Fish Market for a taste of classic American fish and chips or the Traditional Fish and Chips from The Social, Bangsar for a taste of the original flavour.
Discover more Western cuisine on foodpanda!