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Fish and chips

The Basics

The gastronomic institution that is fish and chips is one of those icons that couldn't be more unmistakably part of our culture, and yet has its origins in a mixture of foreign influences. Fried fish made its way into northern Europe from the cooking of Spain and Portugal, while the innovation of deep-frying potatoes cut into "chips" can probably be credited to the Belgians.

Fish and Chips (silhouette white)
The first recognisable fish-and-chip shop opened in the East End of London in 1860. A Lancashire entrepreneur from near Oldham who sold fish and chips from a market stall, which he claimed was the first such establishment in the world, had been pipped at the post by about three years.

Served in newspaper until the hygiene police intervened, and enjoyed by working families despite the warnings of health advisors about the dangers of fried food, fish and chips remains one of the nation's favourite takeaways. It may lack the spice and fire of its many Asian rivals, but what else do you want to eat after a day at the seaside, or on the way home from the Blackpool lights?