Home Destination Guides Accommodation Shopping Events Eating Out





Accommodation
Activities
Drink
Driving
Economy
Flags
Food
General
Government and Politics
History
History - The Troubles
Key Facts
Links
Marching Season
Money and Costs
More Entertainment Options
Passports and Visas
Slang
The RMS Titanic
Transport
Travel Tips 1
When to Visit
Northern Ireland 

Food in Northern Ireland
 
When people think of food and Ireland, they typically think of potato.  And while the potato is certainly a staple in the Northern Irish diet (on many nights the potato is as a french fries or chips), the potato is certainly not the only item worth mentioning in the Northern Irish diet. 
 
Ulster Fry
If you ask anybody what dish you should ensure you try when you are in Northern Ireland, the majority of the replies will say an Ulster Fry.  I hope you are hungry.
 
The Ulster Fry is a breakfast that will do you until your evening meal.  It normally consists of sausages, bacon, an egg, fried tomatoes, mushrooms, white or black puddings, fried soda bread and potato farls that is served along with tea, toast and wheaten bread!  This is certainly a feast for a king!  Traditionally farm families had an Ulster Fry every morning to sustain the back breaking work on the farm.  Nowadays, the Ulster Fry is saved for weekends or when away as it is served by most B&Bs, hotels and guesthouses. 
  
More Local Food
Much of the traditional food in Northern Ireland was hearty but simple to make.  An example is an Irish stew; the stew was made with local beef (or lamb in the Republic of Ireland) and potatoes and could be left simmering all day on the fire.  Or scones, which are fairly easy to make, but when layered with butter are a delightful snack either in mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
 
Champ – a delicious comfort food dish of potatoes mashed with lots of butter, warm milk and chopped spring onions or, as we call them, scallions.
 
Irish Stew - a hearty casserole traditionally made with meat, potatoes, carrots and onions. The Ulster variety is made with steak pieces instead of lamb – cooked to a peppery slush and often served with thick slices of buttered bread or even wheaten bread. 
 
Dulse – a salty, seaweed snack, originally harvested by fishermen to supplement their income when fishing was slack. Found at markets, and in some bars, it is also used in Robert Ditty’s sesame seed and dulse oatcakes, and in the Causeway Cheese Company’s cheese, and it can add a very pleasant saline edge to a loaf of soda bread.
 
Lough Neagh eel – traditionally eaten at Hallowe’en and served fried in chunks with a white onion sauce, also often smoked and served as a starter.
 
Potato bread farl – a dense, earthy flat bread, made with potatoes, flour, and buttermilk and cooked on a griddle. This bread is the heart of every Ulster Fry and a must-buy foodie souvenir.
 
Soda bread farl - first baked in 19th century Ireland when local peasants added baking soda to help the dough rise. The result is thick, chunky soft bread with fluffy consistency that is best served fried as part of the Ulster Fry, or toasted with a big dollop of butter. They are also the base for popular Paddy’s Pizzas.
 
Wheaten bread - a healthy brown bread made with whole wheat flour and delicious toasted with melted cheese or buttered and served with a big bowl of steaming broth.
 
Yellow man – a crunchy golden confectionery often confused with honeycomb, but similar in texture, sold at fairs and markets.
 
Vegetable roll – well actually its thick slices of a fatty meat from the trimmings of brisket and rib with seasoning of fresh vegetables, usually celery, leek, carrot and onion. It was traditionally part of an Ulster Fry but now more often served at lunch or dinner with mashed potato or champ, and mashed swede or turnip.
 
Steak & Guinness pies – Steak & Guinness pie is the pub grub of choice in most parts of Ulster. The meat is cooked first, and then a pie dish is lined with puff pastry, filled with the beef and then topped with the pastry. It differs from the UK pastry-topped pie, in that the pastry is both on top and underneath, the meat. Butchers sell a wide range of pies with fillings such as mince and onion or chicken and ham.
 
Ardglass potted herring – not to be confused with roll mops, this dish was created in the days when herrings were plentiful. Each family has its own secret variation, but often they are wrapped around onion, bay leaf and all-spice with a 50:50 mixture of malt vinegar and water, topped with breadcrumbs and baked.
 
Traditional butcher’s sausages – the fine-textured sausage typical in Northern Ireland is very distinct from continental styles, and each butcher has his own unique family recipe, usually made with natural casings and hand-linked. Beef sausages seem peculiar to the north of Ireland, although they are also found in Scotland.
 
Boxty – predominately found in County Fermanagh, Boxty is a weighty, starchy potato cake made with 50:50 mix of cooked mashed potatoes and grated, strained, raw potato. The most common variety is boiled boxty, also known as hurley, a large round loaf which is boiled whole for several hours, allowed to rest and then sliced and fried, often with bacon.
Pasties – this comforting mixture of sausage meat, onions, mashed potato is shaped like a burger, and always spiced with loads and loads of black pepper. You can order them plain, battered (the chip shop favourite) or coated with golden breadcrumbs.
 
Buttermilk – a by-product of churning butter on the farm, buttermilk is responsible for the distinctive flavour and texture of Northern Irish breads – soda farls, potato bread, pancakes and wheaten bread.
 
Home Baking
What the people of Northern Ireland do not realise is how lucky they are in terms of local bakeries.  In many parts of the world, the majority of baking is done by large supermarket or chain stores.  In Northern Ireland, most towns would still have their own baker; the way to find the bakery is to look for the queue on a Friday morning!  The Northern Irish love their “wee buns” (in essence a term for a sweet treat) but that also extends to scones and soda bread, wheaten bread and potato farls. 
 
I’d recommend that after your Ulster Fry for breakfast that you find a local bakery and have a wee bun for lunch as you probably will not be hungry for anything other than that! 
 
Desserts
Oh, but how the Northern Irish also love their desserts.  Whether it is a homemade apple tart (with Bramley apples), a rhubarb crumble, banoffi pie, padova or a trifle loaded with sherry, of course, desserts are something to be savoured!  The modern addition to the dessert menu is the Baileys cheesecake which has become a staple on many menus. It is definitely worth considering leaving some of your main course unfinished on your plate to ensure you have ample room for the dessert offering. 
 
Following dessert will be tea, of course, however most establishments also have a selection of coffees.  If you have passed on the full dessert, a tray bake makes a sweet end to what is hopefully a beautiful meal.  For any of you who are wondering, a tray bake is typically a homemade sweet baked biscuit, in a multitude of flavours.  The whole tray of goods are brought to your table so that you can make your selection by using your sense of sight and smell (hence the name tray bake). 
 
Some information provided by: discovernorthernireland.com. 

Newsletter





Today's Poll

How helpful is this site to you when making travel decisions?

Very, I frequent this site.
It is a good resource.
Somewhat, but the areas I 'm looking to travel arent well covered.
I could use more information.
 

© Copyright 2009 http://www.aguide2northernireland.com All rights reserved.

Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the content of this site but
the publisher cannot be held responsible for the consequences of any errors.A number of
external links exist within the site and the publisher does not endorse any such external links - see Terms and Conditions .