No one comes to Scotland for the cuisine, that’s a fact. It’s known for deep-frying everything (including pizza), haggis and whisky. That being said, there have been some exciting developments in my diet since I moved here.
Firstly, the meal deal. This institution needs to be brought back to New Zealand as soon as possible. It doesn’t sound that exciting; you get some form of carbed-up lunch option (wrap/sandwich etc), plus chips (sorry, ‘crisps’) and a drink for less than a fiver. But there is something truly magical about the meal deal that cannot be explained. It has been debated by students at length where to buy the best one; whether the fancy Marks and Spencers one is even worth it; who prefers Doritos over Monster Munch as their chip selection.
Another exciting difference to my diet here is that I’m now eating approximately 16 servings of potato a day. Basically, it’s not a meal in Scotland unless there is some form of potato in it. Potatoes come in many forms here, and I’ve detailed my two favourites below.
Potato scones. Po-ta-to scones. These are perhaps (definitely) what I’ll miss above all else. They are basically mashed potato and flour mixed together and then fried (I’ll be honest, I’ve never made them, I did a Google). They’re served up for catered brunch every Saturday and Sunday and I usually have 12 in one sitting. They’re crispy but fluffy, sort of like a potato based roti? Hard to explain, but delicious.
My second potato obsession is ‘cheeky chips’. Many a late night out has ended in a Scottish chippie (which also inexplicably serves kebabs and pizza). The chips here are not only consistently made to order, so they’re always hot and crispy, but they have the most glorious array of toppings. Curry sauce? Cheese? Gravy? Cheese and gravy? The world’s your oyster.
I must also make mention of Moratti’s. Moratti’s is a pizza place that is open until 3am every night and serves up heaven. Club nights have been cut short to make sure we get to Moratti’s in time before it closes. I have formed a close bond with the owners, who are lovely and also pizza geniuses. For anyone coming to Edinburgh – it’s on the corner of Cowgate and Pleasance. You’re welcome.
Being a Scottish food blog, I feel like I’m obligated to mention haggis: tried it once. It was nice. Tasted like minced meat, unsurprisingly. Most exciting part was the neeps (mashed mixed root vegetables) and tatties (mashed potato, because it’s not a meal without it).
Being in the UK makes travel to Europe very easy, so I’ve managed to get around a bit while here. The standout cuisine from my travels is easily the Belgian waffles in Brussels; lovely, chewy, sweet.
There are a few things that the Scots haven’t caught onto yet; avocado, for one. I was offered this odd guacamole sauce in a squeezy bottle once and I still haven’t forgiven them for it. And since I’m writing this on the 25th of April, I’d really kill for an ANZAC biscuit about now. But it’s nice to have things to look forward to at home! For now, I’ll eat my chips with cheese and gravy and be happy.