People in Great Britain love to eat! We are lucky to have a great selection of food from all over the world in our restaurants and takeaways. Fish and chips (sometimes fish n’ chips or fish supper) have been a favourite takeaway meal in Great Britain for hundreds of years and are an important part of our British culture. Let’s find out why!

Fish and chips wrapped in newspaper

Fish and chips wrapped in newspaper!

What are fish and chips?

The most popular types of fish in British fish and chip shops are cod and haddock. The fish is covered in batter (a mixture of flour and water) then deep fried (submerged in very hot oil). British chips are usually thickly sliced potatoes (or spuds). These slices of potato – or chips – are then deep fried. As you can probably imagine fish and chips are not very healthy. A large portion of fish and chips is probably enough to feed most people for 2 days!

How are they served?

You can buy fish and chips in a fish and chip shop – or chippy for short. Fish and chips were traditionally wrapped in last week’s newspaper! Nowadays fish and chips are sold wrapped in clean white paper or some kind of small plastic box. This is much more hygienic.

What are they served with?

Fish and chips can be served with many different condiments or other food items. Let’s take a look at some popular food and condiments you can ask for in a fish and chip shop!

  • Salt and vinegar – Most people have salt and lots of vinegar on their fish and chips.
  • Lemon – Some people prefer a slice of lemon squeezed over their fish.
  • Tomato ketchup – Perfect for dipping your chips into.
  • Tartare sauce – This sauce, made from mayonnaise, is traditionally served with fish.
  • Mushy peas – Green marrow-fat peas that are mashed into a type of soup.
  • Gravy – A thick brown sauce made from the juices of meat or vegetables.
  • Curry sauce – People like to pour a mild curry sauce over their meal.
  • Scraps or scratchings – You can sometimes ask for scraps or scratchings. Scraps or scratchings are small bits of batter that fall from the fish during cooking.
Fancy fish and chips - served with tomato and tartare sauce!

Fancy fish and chips – served with tomato ketchup and tartare sauce!

How to order fish and chips?

We can order fish and chips in large, medium or small sizes.

It is possible to order fish and chips open (ready to eat immediately) or wrapped (to take home and eat).

In the chippy we order pieces of fish and portions of chips.

A customer can ask for salt and vinegar on fish and chips. Some people prefer to put vinegar on at home, not in the chippy, because vinegar can cool down the chips quite quickly.

Example conversation in a chippy:

  • Server: Hi. What would you like to order?
  • Customer: Hello. I’d like 2 large (pieces of) cod and 3 medium (portions of) chips.
  • Server: Would you like them open or wrapped?
  • Customer: Wrapped please.
  • Server: Would you like anything else with that?
  • Customer: Yes, some mushy peas please.
  • Server: Salt and vinegar?
  • Customer: Can I have salt and vinegar on 2 portions of the chips?
  • Server: Sure. Here you go!
  • Customer: Thanks!

Listen:

More:

Idiom – Cheap as chips

The best Fish and Chip shops in London (Evening Standard)

Discuss:
  • Have you ever tried fish and chips?
  • What would you order in a chippy?
  • Can you buy fish and chips in your country?