The history of Fish and Chips is fascinating, and it is surprisingly suddenly remarkable as British and will forever retain its enormous popularity. We process 382 million portions of Fish and Chips in the UK every year and currently have around 10,500 Fish and Chip stores. This dramatically exaggerates all other fast food restaurants, confirming that Fish and Chips is Britain’s undisputed national dish and a culinary symbol.
There’s nothing better on a conventional British day than enjoying it, freshly cooked Fish and Chips with lots of salt and vinegar and peas; it’s like a portion of deep-fried nostalgia. So, our beloved Fish and Chips, where did you come from?
It starts with the humble potato
The earliest known version of a chip that we ate here in Britain came to Europe from Peru in the late 16th century. However, Charles Dickins gave us the earliest literary references to ‘chippy’ chips and can be traced back to the classic 1838 novel ‘Oliver Twist’, which refers to ‘fried fish warehouses’. Thicker ‘chippy’ chips are thicker than a traditional chip and feel and taste nothing like any other chip you would get anywhere else – it feels so quintessentially and unmistakably British.
Where does fried fish come from?
It is reported that fried fish was probably brought to Britain by Spanish and Portuguese refugees in the 16th century, bringing with them their pioneering delicacies. Interestingly enough, the whole reason behind frying the fish was to preserve the fish so that it could be eaten cold the next day. Usually fried in a thin layer of flour, called ‘Pescado Frito’. A favorite of Sephardic Jews. It was traditional to bake it on Fridays in preparation for the Sabbath.
Where does Fish and Chips come from?
So the question we all want to know about Fish and Chips now… Where does Fish and Chips come from? Who combined the two elements? And where was the very first Fish and Chip shop?
There is a Fish and Chip war going on over who will stake the claim of the first ‘chippy’. This applies to the old rivalry between north and south, so I guess it depends on where you come from which one you prefer to believe. In 1860, a Fish and Chip Shop was opened in London by Joseph Malin. He came to London’s East End from Eastern Europe, first opened a shop selling fried potatoes and later introduced fried fish to the menu, and it was an instant success.