All About Fish and Chips

Main Image

Bring on the salt and vinegar because 2nd June is National Fish and Chips Day. We’re here to tell you everything you need to know (and a few things you don’t) about a staple of the British diet, fish and chips.

The history lesson…

Fish and chips were first served in this country as a combo in the 1860s, though there are arguments over exactly when, where and by whom. It seems most likely that it was Joseph Malin who sold fish from his shop in East London "fried in the Jewish fashion" with potatoes on the side.

Dickens had already identified ‘chips’ in his 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities, the first use of the word in the English language. However he was describing fried potatoes in France: “husky chips of potato, fried with some reluctant drops of oil.”

Fish and chips had special significance in World War 2, specifically during the D-Day landings. British soldiers who had parachuted behind enemy lines would identify each other when one called out ‘FISH’ and the other replied ‘CHIPS!’.

Until the 1980s fish and chips were served up in newspaper. But then the nanny state declared it was unhygienic, so we had to switch to boring greaseproof paper.

The fun facts…

If you want to demonstrate a Kiwi accent, it’s traditional to use fish and chips as the example: “fush and chups”.

In 2003 George W Bush popped into a quiet pub in Sedgefield with Tony Blair for a quick lunch of fish, chips and mushy peas.

Every year we spend over a billion pounds on fish and chips in the UK. That’s a lot of potatoes!

In the 1930s there was a fleet of fish and chip vans in Bedford called ‘the Frying Squad’. Today the puns continue. Some of our favourite fish and chip shops names include The Codfather, A Salt and Battery, New Cod on the Block and Contented Sole.

The oldest fish and chip shop (it claims) is in Yeadon near Leeds. It’s called, appropriately enough, ‘'The Oldest Fish & Chip Shop in the World'.

The largest serving of fish and chips weighed 47.75 kg, according to the Guiness Book of Records. It was served up by and was achieved by Fish and Chips in London on 30 July 2012. However no one has yet beaten the record set by the Harry Ramsdens fish and chip shop in Melbourne, Australia for most number of portions sold in one day. On 5 April 1996 they fried, wrapped and served up a record 12,105 portions of fish and chips to grateful customers.

COMPETITION QUESTION - In Belgium, fish and chips are served with mayonnaise, what do you have with yours?