1. Fish and chips were first served together as a dish around 1860 - although their origin is contested.
In London, the Malin family claims to be first, as do the Lee family in Manchester.
2. Fish and chips were served in newspaper until the 1980s.
Serving fish and chips in newspaper kept prices low, but in the 1980s it was ruled unsafe for food to be touching newspaper ink. Now fish and chips are wrapped in a layer of greaseproof paper, and then a layer of newspaper if wished.
3. Not all fish and chip shops serve vinegar.
You’re more likely to see non-brewed condiment behind the till. Non-brewed condiment is acetic acid mixed with colourings and flavourings, and is quicker to make than vinegar. Due to UK Trading Standards it can’t be labelled as vinegar, or even be put in vinegar bottles.
4. The longest running fish and chip shop still in operation is based in Yeadon near Leeds.
The shop trades under the name ‘The Oldest Fish & Chip Shop in the World’. It is believed that fish and chips have been served from the premises continually since 1865.
5. Fish and chips are not as unhealthy as you might think.
An average portion of fish, chips and peas contains only 7.3% fat. By comparison, a pork pie has 10.8% fat. .
6. There is a long tradition of funny chip shop names.
7. Over 250 million fish and chip meals are sold each year in the UK.
8. In Scotland, the first chip was sold in the 1870s.
According to Dundee City Council, “in the 1870s, that glory of British gastronomy - the chip - was first sold by Belgian immigrant Edward De Gernier in the city’s Greenmarket.”
9. Fish and chips appear in Charles Dickens’ “A Tale Of Two Cities”.
Dickens writes of ‘Husky chips of potatoes, fried with some reluctant drops of oil’.
10. Dedicated chip bags were first marketed in 1910.
11. By 1910 there were roughly 25,000 fish and chip shops around the UK. By 1927 there were 35,000.
12. Fish and chips played a part in the D-Day Landings.
British soldiers identified each other by crying out out ‘fish’ and waiting for the response of ‘chips’.
13. And they were excluded from rationing during WW1 and WW2.
14. The current best fish and chip shop in the UK is based in Scotland.
Congratulations to The Bay Fish & Chips, Stonehaven.
15. You can ask for your fish with scraps (or wi’bits) to get extra crunchy pieces of leftover batter added in.
16. You can also try for a scallop - a piece of potato deep fried in fish batter.
17. The record number of fish and chip portions sold in one day is 12,406 at Marini’s in Glasgow. The record was set in 1999.
18. A popular side, mushy peas are made up of dried marrowfat peas which are first soaked overnight in water with 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate soda/baking soda.
19. In Scotland, fish and chips are served with chippy sauce - a mixture of vinegar and brown sauce.
Meanwhile, in the north of England, gravy is the only chip topping of worth.
20. In Belgium, fish and chips are eaten with mayonnaise.
21. There are currently approximately 10,500 specialist fish and chip shops in the UK.
22. The Chinese serve fish and chips with sugar.
23. To get the most out of your fish and chips, Heston Blumenthal advises adding a touch of pickled onion juice.
24. The word batter comes from the French word battre, which means to beat - in reference to whisking the flour and water together.
25. For the best fish experience, listen to the advice of those who live in fish ports - never eat fish and chips when you can’t see the sea.
(Facts via The Federation of Fish Friers, BBC and Wikipedia.)