Sharing much of its history and traditions with British cuisine, traditional Scottish recipes are born of both ancient and modern influences. The climate and landscape contribute greatly to the make-up of menus in Scotland, with each different meal telling a tale of the country’s past, present and future.
Consisting of local produce such as game meats, dairy, fish, fruits and vegetables, dishes rely on simplicity that delivers exquisite taste time and time again. Perhaps not widely lauded for its range of appetite appeasers, Scotland has a long list of wonderful food options. Here are 10 of the best.
10 Bangers and Mash
Bangers and mash can be found throughout the United Kingdom but many believe it is the Scots who have perfected it. With fluffy mashed potatoes laced with butter and milk providing a perfect pillow for locally-sourced pork sausages, this is an absolute treat to devour while the Scottish sun saunters into submission.
No visit to a traditional pub in Scotland should pass without someone at the table ordering this traditional fare while resting before an open fire and swirling a dram of Scottish whiskey in their hand as wistfully as possible.
9 Bacon Butty
About as simple as it gets, a bacon butty, or bacon sandwich, is the backbone that holds Scottish breakfast together. Whether it is used as the cure to a night on the town, a motivator to get out of bed and begin the day or simply a magnificent morsel of morning magic, the humble bacon butty is as Scottish as howling winds and rolling hills.
Open up a fresh, soft bread roll and fill it with rashers of salty Scottish bacon before lathering on a generous helping of tomato or brown sauce and even adding a fried egg if you are feeling fancy and the day can’t be anything other than amazing from there.
8 Scotch Broth
A remarkably filling soup, Scotch Broth is largely made up of stewed lamb or beef, barley, root vegetables such as carrots or turnips and perhaps lentils and cabbage for good measure.
Served piping hot, it has long been a favorite of Scottish residents in the colder seasons while also providing a nourishing meal to eat during refreshing summer evenings as well. It doesn’t get more simply Scottish than sampling this perfect broth while the sun beautifully loses its fight to remain on the horizon.
A great way to start the day, especially on the cold winter mornings that Scotland has more than its fair share of, porridge has been a staple of Scottish cuisine for centuries. It has been carefully adjusted through the years to achieve a uniquely local flavor seemingly unachievable beyond the Scottish borders.
In Scotland, this early-hours delight is not just something that is purchased from the local store, gourmet restaurants often place in on their menus for the more discerning porridge public to enjoy. While visiting, be sure to have a bowlful of Scottish culture as soon as you wake.
Don’t let anyone tell you shortbread isn’t a meal in its own right. In Scotland, the traditional snack that is so easy to devour in huge quantities that it easily lays claim to comprising a full meal. And an amazing one at that.
The first known recipe dates back to 1736 and features high amounts of the good stuff: butter and sugar. Every Scottish family has their own version of the heavenly treat and every single one of them is outrageously delicious. Skip the main meal and get straight to dessert.
5 Fish Supper
If we are talking meals that are a part of the fabric of Scottish life, a fish supper from the local chippy is just about the pinnacle. Fantastically flaky fish, crunchy crispy chips and a selection of sensational sides is available at chip shops up and down every major street in Scotland.
Be it a late-night meal of necessity or a thoroughly-planned dining experience, fish and chips served the old way, wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper, will have you feeling Scottish through and through. There will be so much food you may not even be able to face the very real dessert of deep-fried mars bars available in many local chippies.
4 Neeps and Tatties
Most commonly served in conjunction with haggis, neeps and tatties also pop up amongst several other quintessentially Scottish dishes. For those unfamiliar with the lingo, neeps are turnips and tatties are potatoes and when brought together, they create a true delicacy fit for any dinner table.
Throw some butter and chives in there, place them alongside peas, carrots and other fresh vegetables and you’ve got yourself a traditional Scottish feast to savor. Plus, it is exceptionally fun to say in a Scottish accent.
3 Scottish Salmon
Salmon is a high-end treat everywhere in the world. If you are eating a meal bursting with succulent salmon, things are going well. If that salmon happens to be Scottish, you are on top of the world.
With prime breeding grounds and the freshest water imaginable, Scotland is a haven for salmon and is celebrated internationally for its exquisite taste and rare color. Choose whatever side-dish you like, just make sure the majority of the plate is filled with sumptuous Scottish salmon.
2 Full Scottish Breakfast
Taking the full English breakfast and somehow finding space on the plate to add even more, the Scottish version is a truly a sight to behold. Eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, baked beans, grilled tomato, mushrooms, black pudding, hash browns and haggis can all find their way onto the crockery here, and none of them in short supply.
The best thing about this meal is that it doesn’t need to be consumed at the socially acceptable time of early morning. Most places will serve this all day long so that whenever the mood strikes, this breakfast behemoth will be available.
Unquestionably the most famous Scottish dish, haggis has a truly unique flavour and requires a leap of faith when consumed for the first time. Made from the minced internal organs of sheep mixed with beef fat and oatmeal, its reputation as an unusual dish precedes it.
The truth however, is that haggis is a delicious accompaniment to any meal while also able to stand alone as a wonderfully filling feed. The only way to find out what you think of this national treasure is to try it for yourself.