Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Foodspotting around Scotland

In actuality we did go to more places than just Edinburgh. We also went to Inverness and Aberdeen. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time (because I'm lame and have no vacation this year) to reach the highlands and other places of note (like Glasgow or the Isle of Skye), so those will need to be gotten to on another trip.

Since I failed spectacularly at recording those places to their fullest extent, it was mostly about seeing each place for what it was about (rather than just being a tourist), I will focus on things of note. As is always the case for me, one of these things is the food. I always want to know what local food is like, and luckily British A knew where to point me in the right direction. YES, points to the tour guide.

So, without further ado, I will take you across the culinary landscape of what I experienced in Scotland. Behold:

1. Steak and Ale Pie

Traditional pub food, definitely food for the booze-drinking masses. One of the things I absolutely love about the UK is that they serve food at the pubs! Ah, Finland would so benefit if they did this (or at least they would get a hell of a lot more money from me).

Steak and ale pie, a staple to any Scottish pub menu. Hilariously, it doesn't look like a pie at all:

It's more like delicious stew with veggies thrown on the side with a large mound of pastry set on top (very flaky and airy). Not a people known for salting or peppering anything to a particular degree, but tasty nonetheless. I was badgered into not salting or peppering anything in the presence of British A...something about it being unhealthy and unnecessary. Whatever...would have made it taste better!

2. Cheese and Bean Toastie

According to my tour guide, cheese and bean toasties are excellent hangover foods. Fortunately there was no need to test this theory, but I did sample the wares anyway and boy was it delicious.

Imagine a grilled cheese sandwich that has pork and beans (hold the pork) inside of it. Crispy, gooey, and absolutely delicious. This could become one of my favorite new sandwiches, if I were able to get baked beans regularly in Finland (not sure, will need to check out my local grocery stores...amendment: yes, these can be obtained though they are 4x as expensive as they should be as compared to the UK). This is pure illogical genius. Whoever thought these flavors should go together should be given a handshake. And told how right they are. Right-oh. Or as my friend WW would say, "pish posh, hob nob, and what what!"

3. Haggis

There was no way I was going to Scotland without trying haggis. No way.

Now all of you must know what haggis is by now. It's world-renowned for sounding like the most disgusting thing in the world. Here is a wikipedia description as such:

"a kind of savoury pudding containing sheep's pluck (heart, liver and lungs — see offal); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal's stomach and simmered for approximately three hours."

Mmmmmm...offal with oatmeal and spices in stomach.

Unfortunately mine didn't come in the stomach (as is traditional now, since they're actually quite difficult and expensive to get, according to my tour guide), but it did have the rest. Chopped up into a presentable mound of goo:

And it was...

Good. Actually it was pretty good. The texture was sort of like really gooey risotto with bits of chewy something mixed in (that would be the lung, I imagine). It had a little bit of spice to it (in the spiced way, not in the spicy way), which made it interesting. No lingering internal organ smell or flavor. Really quite pleasant and filling. Enjoyable. Would definitely consume again. :)

Alongside it came the neeps and tatties, i.e. mashed turnips and potatoes. Mine also came with oatcakes, which to me really seemed like oatmeal biscuits (which I decided, after one little nibble, were not to my liking...a bit too sweet, which clashed with the rest of the savory dish). Oh, and a side of dressing which supposedly had horseradish in it, I believe (but could not detect). Tasty, whatever this creamy gravy was. Poured it over everything.

Honorable mentions:

1. Irn Bru

Scotland is one of the only countries where another soft drink outsells Coke. That drink: Irn Bru (yes, it's pronounced like "Iron Brew").

Think of Hawaiian Punch mixed with orange Fanta with an extreme amount of caffeine in it, but tastes like fruity cream soda...that's what you get with Irn Bru. I thought it was horrendous stuff, but apparently every Scot in the world thinks it's magic. Also widely known as an awesome cure for hangovers (I'm guessing it's the quantum amount of caffeine in it), it solves most problems after just half a bottle or so. Given the labeling, it seemed a bit sketchy to me (think Mountain Dew: Code Red or Jolt):

2. Old Speckled Hen beer

Of course I had to mention the beer with my name on it! This is apparently what I'll look like once I'm canned and marketed. Hilarious. Just thought I'd mention it, just because. Unfortunately I didn't get to have any.

Other meals eaten on this trip were not particularly Scottish, so that's why I'm not mentioning them here. It's also likely that I failed to photo document them somewhere along the way. ( can't be totally surprised at this point...still getting used to photo documenting almost anything ^_^*).

1 comment:

  1. Ooh Iron Brew. I remember drinking that when I worked at the British Embassy. I actually compared it to more of a bubble gum flavored soda. hehe