The Best Fish for Your fish and chips
Whilst the precise origins of the humble British fish and chips might be shrouded in mystery (well, if you call a market stall in Oldham mysterious), it’s safe to say that the simple combination of battered fish and fried chips have become one of the country’s best-loved dishes.
And with more than 10,000 chippies selling a staggering 382 million portions of fish and chips in the UK each year alone, it’s safe to say… we all love fish and chip. But the burning question is: ‘which fish goes best with chips?’ We’re not about to make that call. It would be well too controversial for us. No, we’re going to arm you with the knowledge you need to answer the all important question.
So, whether it’s Haddock, Cod, Skate or Pollock, here is your go-to guide to the best fish for your chips.
Cod is most popular daan sarf, even though it’s mostly fished in Scottish waters. Having said that, it’s pretty popular everywhere in the UK, with 60% of all fish and chips meals using cod as their choice of fish.
Most Just Eat restaurants not only use sustainably caught cod, but also take pride in providing a wide range of options, hence the list below.
What does cod taste like? It’s incredibly soft, supple and mild. Perfect to contrast its rich, crispy batter shell. Forget the haters who claim it’s bland. The tenderness of the meat is perfect for absorbing the salt and vinegar you will undoubtedly be pouring on it.
Most likely to be seen: Brighton, Hastings or another southern seaside town. Just be wary of seagulls. They’re pretty keen on it too.
King of the north: The Haddock
Northerners love haddock. Now, we’re not about to indulge in a lazy north/south divide comparison, but just tell you that the fish reigns supreme in Yorkshire and Lancashire, and accounts for roughly 25% of all fish and chips portions sold in the UK.
The taste: Amateur fish and chips lovers struggle to tell the difference between cod and haddock. It takes a well seasoned connoisseurs being able to tell the two apart. Haddock is certainly drier and flakier than cod, but it’s also got a bit more ‘oomph’ about it, with a slightly sweeter taste.
Due to this, professional chefs often prefer using haddock in their meals. The question is, does it make a difference once you drown it in curry sauce?
Most likely to be seen: shining a ray of brightness on a bitterly cold, rainy evening somewhere in Huddersfield.
Scotland, more like Skate-land you mean?
Most commonly found in chippies and restaurants along the west coast of Scotland, skate and chips is about as far away as you can get from the stereotypical plate of fish and chips possible. And for this reason, it often divides opinion.
Skate’s distinctive flat, ray-like features mean that anyone hoping to tuck in has to first separate the stringy, tender meat from the dozens of bones found in each wing of skate. Many say this small chore is worth the reward.
The taste: Once you’ve gone through the ‘ritual’ of removing the bones from your Skate you can get stuck in. And boy are you in for a treat. Skate has a unique, almost nutty-like mild flavour which goes perfectly with a dazzle of lemon or tartar sauce.
Most likely to be seen: Outside a pub in Glasgow, being washed down with a can of Irn Bru.
The edgy choice: Never mind the pollocks
A niche and acquired taste the pollock is the craft beer of the fish and chips world. It will soon be in every pub, eaten by bearded lads vaping. But for now, it’s only enjoyed by the people who are really in the know.
The taste: given pollock is a member of the cod family, it is often served up as a cheaper and more environmentally-friendly option to cod. But don’t worry, what pollock lacks in sophistication it more than makes up in flavour, as pollock is just as tender and juicy as cod, albeit a tad more flaky and sweet in taste. Pollock is also a robust fish that can be fried, battered, baked and poached with ease, meaning that the possibilities are endless, if not boneless.
Most likely to be seen: In a neo brutalist bar in Peckham that serves craft IPA, Chai flat white and is ironically called ‘A load of pollocks’ because it doesn’t believe in pronouns, even for fish.