I wanted to create a post especially for visitors to Scotland... I'm not expecting Scottish natives to read this post, but I wanted to write about all the must try Scottish foods for visitors here.
I am a very proud Scot and of course try to advocate trying our traditional foods. I often get asked what should be the go-to foods here to try in Scotland and here is my recommendations..
I'm gonna start with the obvious one here...
“Haggis, neeps and tatties” is our national dish. Haggis is sheep meat, oatmeal and a generous helping of black pepper. It’s served with mashed turnip and mashed potatoes. Haggis is generally quite a heavy dish and is often served at dinner time. On January 25th, Scottish people celebrate our National Poet’s birthday - Robert Burns with having a meal of Haggis.
If you want to try a taster, then I'd recommend starting off with "Haggis Bon bons" which is haggis shaped and fried in breadcrumbs, much like a fritter. The Royal Mcgregor on the Royal Mile serves some up with a twist.
You can find haggis is most restaurants, especially in the Old Town of Edinburgh or you can buy it in the supermarket. Vegetarian/vegan options are available these days too.
Kedgeree is a coastal dish of smoked haddock fish, flaked then mixed with rice and curry powder and a knob of butter.
Usually it is served with a soft boiled egg on top. You can’t buy Kedgeree pre-made and usually it is served as a breakfast/brunch option. This dish was brought over to the U.K. by British colonials who enjoyed the dish in India.
In Edinburgh the Teuchter's Landing in Leith serve some tasty Kedgeree freshly made but as a main meal option.
Photo: BBC Good Food
Another coastal dish from the North East of Scotland from the town of Cullen in Moray.
It’s a thick soup, almost like a chowder which includes smoked haddock poached in milk, with onions and potatoes. Cullen skink is served in restaurants, and you can buy it in the supermarket. If you want to try it, eat it alongside Scottish Oatcakes.
If you want to take it home the soup is served in cans and the best quality canned version is by the company “Baxters” which has a black label.
If you want to make it yourself check out this recipe.
Photo: Baxters Food Group
Stovies is a dish based on potatoes, onions and meat. The meat varies widely, but real stovies in my opinion usually contain roasted beef left over from a Sunday roast. The whole idea is to use up your leftovers.
However, some variations include corned beef found in a can or in some cases - sausages!
Stovies can be found in traditional restaurants and usually served alongside pickled beetroot and oatcakes.
At special occasions in Scotland stovies is a go to party food. If you want to try some in Edinburgh check out Amber Restaurant on the Royal Mile.
Fish and Chips
Not necessarily Scottish, but this is a British classic dish . If you want an authentic experience it needs to be eaten at a “Chippy”, the fish is usually a white fish either cod or haddock deep fried in fresh beer batter and served with hand cooked chips. In Edinburgh (only in Edinburgh, I should say) they serve the fish with something called “Salt n Sauce” which is brown sauce mixed with malt vinegar as a garnish on top.
Photo: BT Internet
In Edinburgh The Deep Sea is a good shout for something really authentic.
If you want to try the best Chip shops in Scotland, check out this list here
Full Scottish Breakfast
You may have heard of an English Breakfast fry-up. Usually they will have bacon, fried egg, beans and hash brown and toast. What makes it Scottish is the addition of haggis, black pudding (meat sausage) lorne (square shaped sausage) and a potato scone. These are usually served until 12 noon and will last you most of the day. Big breakfasts like this are allegedly a hangover cure.... I'm not convinced, but maybe worth a shot if you've had too many Whisky's the night before.
If you want to try the belly buster meal, check out Snax Cafe in Edinburgh.
Deep fried Mars Bar
The chocolate bar is battered and deep fried, the batter contains the chocolate well and inside it is warm and melted. This is usually something you may want to have on a night out, and again can be found in a “chippy”.
This is a renowned Scottish dish that was originally in Glasgow, and in some places can be served with a scoop of icecream.
For a no frills experience try Cafe Piccante in Edinburgh.
Photo: Sunday Post
This Scottish desert was originally created to celebrate the harvest. It’s a summer dish usually and is fresh cream, raspberries, rolled oats and whisky. Some variations will served Cranachan with honey too. I've only ever had Cranachan at weddings, but here in Edinburgh especially in the Old Town is readily available.
Tablet is a crumblier version of fudge. Made from condensed milk, butter and sugar it is a treat that is often served at special occasions and is great with a coffee. It’s exceptionally sweet and only a small amount is needed. You can buy tablet all over Scotland, small boxes can be purchased from the supermarket.
During the warmer months, you will find some homemade ice-cream parlours selling tablet ice-cream.
Photo:Stay at Home Mum
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Sticky Toffee Pudding is another British classic, it’s a rich sponge made with dates and toffee sauce and is served with ice-cream or custard.
Sticky toffee pudding is an excellent choice for a cold winter's night. It is a very common dessert and the Edinburgh restaurant Howies serves up a homemade version.
Photo: BBC Good Food
I hope this article has made you hungry or at least want to try some of our Scottish delicacies. My personal favourite from this list would have to be Kedgeree...
What would yours be?