How to eat like a local
Updated: Jan 21, 2019
Many people think Irish people live on a diet of Shepard's pie and mashed potatoes but that's no longer true. We still make magnificent pies but these days you get a wide variety: Chicken and ham, Mince, Steak and kidney, Steak and Guinness .... and a million variations but these days we have a million variations of everything. Potatoes? Ireland has hundreds of varieties done a hundred different ways. If you haven't tried Champ you haven't lived. Lashings of butter, butter milk and creamy potatoes. Absolutely divine.
We have some of the worlds greatest food producers right here in Northern Ireland! Abernathy butter, served at Harry and Megan's wedding, is beyond words good. Want eggs lifted daily from hens that run through a forest, by two of the funniest kindest hippies in Ireland, then visit the Slemish market garden. Eels, Pollan or Dollaghan from the largest lough in the British isles are unique, only found and farmed or caught in NI.
When locals venture out for food then they have a fairly limited world view. Steak is still seen as a treat and it is normally well done, in fact over done is how most locals like it. Ask for a rare steak in Ireland and it will normally be more cooked than visitors prefer. Keep that in mind.
Fish and chips? SO good when done well. Crispy batter, light Cod, salt vinegar, mushy peas (occasionally people think it is guacamole! lol) slice of lemon, Tartare sauce .... oh and maybe some Heinz tomato sauce. You want the very best? Mortons in Ballycastle cannot be beat.
Veganism is a growing lifestyle and there are now food producers and restaurants to cater for it. I'm not a vegan but have ate in 387 Ormeau road in Belfast and thought it was tasty. To be honest vegan food has been sorted by Indian chefs for millennia so head over to any one of the dozens of Indian restaurants dotted about. As for producers @sarahsworldfare do some fantastic food (my sister in laws Christmas dinner was a triumph thanks to Sarah)
As for drink? Well Guinness is still a life saver. Good Guinness is creamy, rich and tastes of luxury, always worth a pint. Gin? We have more and more producers and some of the best in the world. It is a toss up between Shortcross and Jawbox, both of whom do distillery tours. Wonderful days out on private estates, and you come away with a good drink! Then there is Whiskey, a passion of mine. Ulster is the home of Whiskey, it started here! If you want a quality, Rolls Royce, Whiskey then have a halfun (we are from Ulster we dont do drams) of 21yo single malt from the oldest licensed distillery in the world. Irish Whiskey is the fastest growing drinks market in the world and new brands, of the highest quality, are exploding onto the market: Dunvilles, Quietman, Dingle, Teeling, Slane and loads more are worth checking out. Pop over to Ulsterwhiskey.com to find out more.
So now you know about the taste buds of locals come and find out for yourselves.