On the world’s stage, fish and chips is the quintessential dish of the UK. Despite what the various domestic surveys tell us about chicken tikka masala and Sunday roasts, ask anyone outside of the British Isles what food they most associate with the UK and they’ll tell you it is good old fashioned Fish and Chips.
It’s this international renown that has led to traditional chippies popping up all over the world. From just over the English Channel in France all the way to China and the Far East, the timeless combination of battered fish and potato chips has proven its popularity way beyond our British shores.
At Frymax, we’ve gone to the trouble of compiling a list of the best traditional British chippies from around the globe. So, whether you’re in Hong Kong or Kabul, Paris or Pretoria, there’s no reason to miss out on your favourite fish and chip meal ever again.
Let’s start close to home. Typified by luxurious ingredients and delicate presentation, French cuisine has long been considered the best in the world. It’s therefore not all that surprising to see why an increasing amount of French foodies are developing a taste for such a rustic, uncomplicated dish as fish and chips.
Paris has no less than seven establishments that serve this British classic, with several eateries that are dedicated, bona fide fish and chips restaurants. Johana’s Fish & Chips in 30 rue Saint-Sauveur is probably the most popular in the city while Mersea in 6 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre definitely gets our vote for punniest name.
As part of the Commonwealth, it may not come as a big surprise to see South Africa on this list. However, their fish and chip trade has seen a significant increase in popularity in recent years. This growth is partly due to the relative inexpensiveness of setting up fish and chip franchises when compared to competitors such as pizza, burger and chicken establishments.
However, the economic prudence of investing in South African fish and chip shops only exists because there is such a high demand for the food. Cape Town has a long and loving tradition with fish and chips, but its popularity is increasing all over the republic, especially in Pretoria and Johannesburg. George’s Best Fish & Chips is a local favourite in JoBurg while Fish on the Rocks is one of Cape Town’s most iconic chippies. Hake is preferred over cod in South African chippies but other than that, it’s near indistinguishable from our beloved home-cooked stuff.
In an interesting redress of the gastronomic balance, traditional British fish and chips has become somewhat of quaint delicacy in China. This is no more apparent than in the former British colony of Hong Kong, where a healthy selection of chippies remains to this day. Hooked is a famous fish and chips takeaway in the Mid-Levels district of Hong Kong. They provide an eclectic mix of battered hoki, blue cod and even offer classic steak and ale pies.
Another Chinese city with historic links to Britain, Shanghai too has an appetite for traditional British food. It’s handful of classic chippies – including The Sailors Fish & Chips and another Hooked establishment – serve up the classic dish to expats and locals alike. For a place with more options but with no less charm, try Mr. Harry Authentic British Restaurant (known locally as Mr Harry’s) in central Shanghai. Here, as well as delicately fried fish and chips, you can indulge in a variety of UK dishes such as a full English breakfast, bangers and mash and even bread-and-butter pudding.
Undoubtedly the most surprising entry on this list, it’s hard to think of a more unexpected country to stumble across a traditional British chippy than Afghanistan. However, Mr. Cod’s in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul is a popular fish and chip shop that is swimming against the stream. Opened in 2015, Mr. Cod markets itself as Afghanistan’s first British food franchise. This pioneering chippy has stood its ground in an increasingly busy fast food market where it faces stiff competition from Chinese, Indian and Pakistani takeaways, as well as traditional Afghani lamb kebabs vendors.
The success of Mr. Cod’s is indicative of the increasing demand for Western food in Afghanistan. As well as fish and chips, there has been an increase in pizza and burger joints popping up all over the country. As the Afghani economy continues to grow and its middle-class increases, so too does its appetite for international cuisine. For a landlocked country that has a complicated relationship with red meats, we can see how crispy battered fish and fresh, fluffy chips could really take off in the Middle East. Watch this space.
At Frymax, we love to celebrate the international success of traditional British fish and chips. In the UK, we’re even more proud to be part of the process. That’s why we created Frymax – the frying oil of choice for fish and chip shops looking for top quality, sustainable and long-lasting vegetable oil. Get in touch with our team today to learn more.