Fish Fry, English Style
By: Chelsea Lawliss
Beer, cheese, and fish fry. This is the stereotypical Wisconsinite diet- and for good reason! In my humble opinion, nothing satiates the appetite like a Friday night fish fry and a good brewski. So when I went to London for the summer last year, you can imagine how tickled I was to see that the English love a good fish fry, too. However, as I quickly learned, fish fry actually translates to fish and chips (chips being what they call french fries on the other side of the Pond.)
It’s basically the same concept- battered, fried fish, fries, tartar sauce, and malt vinegar. However, there are a few very distinct differences between a Sconnie fish try and an English basket of fish and chips. The first of which, and of little consequence, is that a beer is called a pint. As far as I’m concerned, the English win this battle, as a pint is more than is generally served in our bars. The second difference is a little more…unique. Instead of the side of coleslaw that is normally served with a fish fry here in the States, you receive a side of pureed, or “mushy” peas. You heard me correctly. Mushy peas. I never did try them. Whether or not I missed out on some culinary masterpiece is an experience I’m okay with having forgone. The third difference, and the one I will never forget, is that some pubs in England serve their fish with the fishy skin still on! You can imagine how shocked I was when I took a huge bite of battered halibut and saw that its epidermis was still attached. I will spare you the visual of what happened next…
This is a snapshot of my order of fish and chips from one of my favorite pubs in London, the Prince of Teck. It was yummy delicious. Noticeably absent from the picture however, is the side of mushy peas; they were promptly removed from the plate.
The following documents my encounter with fish and chips from a whole-in-the-wall cafe nearby the London Tower. Let’s just say this was a slightly less pleasant experience.
Whether I’m in Madison or London, fish fry remains one of my favorite dishes. That is, as long as there are no signs of scaly remnants!