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Food & Drink

25th Feb 2022

11 things that taste better in Ireland

Emily Mullen


‘Cos some food and drink items just taste better on the Emerald Isle.

Anyone who has ever spent time away from this soggy rock that we all call home, will begin to miss certain things about the place. For all its faults there are certain things that just taste better in Ireland, some things that most of us have taken for granted all our lives. Things like:

11. Chipper chips

When it comes to chipper chips we are unmatched in terms of taste, production and quality. There is truly no chip like an Irish chipper chip, that’s been plunged into a gorgeous milieu of god knows what grease and dredged to the surface emerging crispy and coloured golden brown. The experience of getting a bag of chips from a chipper is also a distinctly Irish experience, from the small talk, the awkward wait to the tension between you and salt and vinegar bottles.

10. Sausages

When Superquinn announced its closure in 2014, I distinctly remember a state of panic reverberating around the island. Obviously, the supermarket was much loved, selling a great many quality products, but I’m willing to bet that about 70% of the panic came from worried customers wondering where they were going to buy their Superquinn sausages. Such was the demand that it was announced that the production of these sausages would surpass the extinction of Superquinn and would be produced by SuperValu, much to the relief of the nation. The sausages are very good to be fair, they aren’t overstuffed or heavily spiced like their British counterparts, but are modest in size and are perfectly spiced in line with the Irish palate. While Superquinn is much-lauded, there are also a great many other sausage producers in Ireland many of them using free-range pork in their innards.

9. Potatoes

Anyone who has spent any extended time in the UK will have been hit by the word “potato” in an imitation of Keith Lemon on Celebrity Juice playing the part of the Irish muck slinger x leprechaun mashup character, whenever they mentioned anything about the vegetable. Many would argue that this skit has done more damage to Irish-British relations than Brexit over the last few years. Anyway, potatoes and Ireland will always be inextricably linked, mainly through a dark and painful history that was no doubt missed by the bleached-haired comedian. But Ireland does produce some of the best potatoes in the world, from the floury new potatoes that hit the shelves in early summer to the waxy roosters that see us through the rest of the year.

8. Popcorn

Ireland produces the best popcorn in the world, fact. From the popcorn titans Manhattan to the best microwavable popcorn around from Tayto, we are leagues ahead of all the rest. There’s a lighthandedness to our treatment of popped corn that sets us apart, we don’t go heavy-handed in with the butter, salt or add in random flavours that rarely belong. There’s a simplicity to Irish popcorn products, that respects the base ingredient.

7. Bread

Bit of a hot take but for overall quality and the sheer bread(th) of options available I think Ireland is one of the best spots for bread. There’s the high-end sourdough which plenty of classic indie bakeries are creating day in day out and then there are classics like Brennan’s batch/yellow pan and McCambridge Brown Soda Bread. Obviously, countries like France and Italy do a bang up job of producing some of the most delicious bread in the world, but when it comes to variety and a quality mix, I think Ireland is best.

6. Porridge Oats

Very few Irish households could traverse through a morning routine without a couple of bowls of porridge. While the toppings may have changed up over the years, the oats taste just the same as they have for generations, mainly because when it’s that good why touch it? Ireland has a near-perfect climate for growing oats, with the right amount of rainfall and sunshine, which makes homegrown oats (thankfully) a plentiful thing.

5. Milk

There are few countries that get milk as right as Ireland. It’s one of the few countries where even if you pick up the cheapest carton up from the supermarket, the milk is generally very good (and creamy), and comes from grass-fed Irish cows. Now the same can’t be said for most countries, which are heavily reliant on powered milk or have to pay an arm and a leg for the type of quality milk we have at our fingertips for under €1.50.

4. Steak Tartare

One of the few good things coming out of a traditional agrarian economy (fun fact in the 1950s beef was our main export) means that we have a serious tradition of rearing cattle. Compared to other big beef producing countries, Irish beef is second to none IMO. Predominantly reared outside for much of the year, with a great variety of breeds now available, the quality is hard to match. As a steak tartare fan (otherwise known as freak) I’ve ordered steak tartare in a variety of places and while the treatment is good, the quality of the meat just isn’t there and can’t stand up to the brutal spotlight of the tartare treatment where there is truly nowhere to hide, only Irish beef can.

3. Butter

While the French and the Brits do a nice butter, hand-churned, smoked, sprinkled with flecks of salt, there is nothing like Irish butter. Most notably Kerrygold, which has become a hit in the U.S. with chefs and food fans (in 2018 it was the second-best-selling branded butter there). It’s easy to see why Irish butter succeeds in a country flooded with vegetable-based pseudo spreads, its quality and consistency is unmatched, made from cream sourced from Irish grass-fed cows, what’s not to love?

2. Oysters

There’s something in the freezing cold waters that surround Ireland, that makes these iconic molluscs so good. As a paid-up member of the oyster fan club, I have tried oysters in a lot of different spots around the world but I have never had ones so good as the ones back home. Even in out of the way bars and restaurants the oysters you get are more often than not super fresh, flavourful and pack a meaty punch that you can only get from Irish waters.

1. Guinness

The subject of many a rumour and one rather iconic Instagram page Guinness tastes best in Ireland. This may or may not have something to do with a rumour about it not travelling well, but even if we swap that one out for another about the cleanliness of the pipes which is helped along by a ready supply of Guinness drinkers. Whatever rumour you subscribe to, there’s no arguing that Guinness tastes best in Ireland. Now, that’s not to say it can’t taste that bad in some places, but those pints pale in comparison to the mother’s milk of Guinness in Ireland.

Have we missed anything? Thoughts/concerns to [email protected]


Header image shitlondonguinness/IG