You may be surprised to learn who first put together the classic dish of fish and chips.
Fish and chips is an iconic British dish that has managed to find its way into the hearts of Americans as well. For so many of us the combination of the batter dipped and fried fish along with the crispy fries is a comfort food classic. At its heart fish and chips is a very simple dish but also rich and hearty, which is perfectly complimented by the traditional accompaniments of lemon and malt vinegar. You’ve probably enjoyed fish and chips countless times, but do you know the history of this favorite?
Deep-fried fish was introduced in England during the 16th century by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain. Fried potatoes came by way of France during the 18th century. Fried fish and bread or potatoes became a standard meal for the working class because the advancements in trawl fishing and the railways allowed for quick transportation of fish to the cities. It is believed that the first person to combine fish and chips was 13 year old Joseph Malin. He sold fried potatoes to help supplement his family’s income and somehow got the idea to combine them with fried fish from a nearby shop. The family opened a chip shop in London in the early 1860’s and continued to run it until the 1970’s. There are, of course, conflicting origin stories. In Lancashire, a county north of London, residents say that fish and chips were invented by John Lees around 1863.
Regardless of who may have invented them, the popularity of the dish quickly grew and by the 1930’s there were nearly 35,000 chip shops in the U.K. If you’re looking for some delicious fish and chips you should try our version for lunch in Denver at Gunther Toody’s. They are hand breaded, fried until perfectly crisp and golden, and served with coleslaw and fries.