National Chip Week: Which Norfolk chip shop is your favourite, and why?
12:17 17 February 2014
While traditional chip shops continue to boom, there are new chips on the chopping block - and we want you to tell us which chippy is your favourite, and why.
While food fads come and go, the popularity of the humble chip has never dwindled. The recession, which hastened the closure of many restaurants, only served to increase the nation’s loyalty to the meal that outsells all other takeaway food by four portions to one.
Michelin-starred chef Galton Blackiston has extended his Morston Hall empire by adding a chip shop, ice-cream stall and fish restaurant – No1 Cromer – to his portfolio, The Grosvenor Fish Bar on Lower Goat Lane in Norwich is putting the ‘hip’ in chips with a link-up with the neighbouring Birdcage pub and at Hot Chip, the latest venture from Lord Somerleyton Hugh Crossley on Red Lion Street, chips are served with a huge selection of toppings.
Chips remain hot property. They’ve fed millions of memories to generations as a seaside holiday must-have, a pay-day treat on Fry-day Friday or as a late-night snack on the way home from the pub.
Britain’s favourite double act dates back to the 17th century to either France or Belgium where the chip is believed to have been invented as a substitute for fish when rivers froze and clever housewives cut potatoes into fish shapes and fried them. They fooled no one, but fortuitously came into being at the same time as fried fish was introduced to the UK by Jewish refugees.
Street sellers hawked fried fish from large trays hung round their necks and the marine delights were served with bread or baked potatoes.
Lancashire lays claim to the first marriage between the fried potato and the fried fish – as does East London, where a fish and chip shop was opened by Joseph Malin in around 1960.
However the fish met the chip, it was a union blessed by the Gods: fish and chip shops sprung up across Britain and by the 1930s there were 35,000 outlets in the country.
It was the meal that helped win the war – avoiding rationing in the Second World War – and remain a British staple, loved by the majority and, more importantly, eaten by the majority.
Dave Audley runs The Three Cottages fish and chip shop in North Walsham, having been a frier since 1980. His son followed him into the trade in 1990. A former president of the National Federation of Fish Friers, Dave has run his present shop for six years.
He credits the enduring success of fish and chips to a hat-trick of reasons: taste, price and the fact the dish is both healthy and filling.
“You don’t feel hungry after eating fish and chips, they’re still an economical choice compared to other takeaways and best of all, they’re relatively low in fat,” he said.
“I used to run a shop opposite a WeightWatcher’s club and the members would tell me that if they didn’t have their chips after the meeting, they’d put on weight the next week! If you eat fish and chips, you don’t spend all night nibbling away at other food. They’re lower in fat than some so-called low fat diet foods!
“We don’t mess around with our fish and chips. The fish is from the sea, the potatoes are from the ground, the batter is flour and water – that’s all it takes. People come back to us week after week and from quite a long distance, too, because we also offer gluten-free fish and chips.”
Working his way through a portion of chips as I interviewed him (or, rather, waiting to get back to them), Dave said that the secret to a great chip was a fantastic potato, freshly fried in clean oil at the right temperature and then eaten immediately, with the condiment of choice.
“Most people want salt and vinegar, but curry sauce is popular as well as mayonnaise and ketchup. We have had people who eat them with chocolate sauce…apparently it’s delicious!”
Dave is looking forward to welcoming old and new faces during National Chip Week and is one of the chip shop owners participating in our National Chip Week giveaway.
“It’s great that fish and chips are good for you, but it’s even better that they taste fantastic,” he admitted.
• Which chip shop is your favourite, and why? Let us know by posting a comment below.
• Monday, February 17 – Sunday, February 23 calls together all chip lovers for Chip Week, and to celebrate, your EDP has teamed up with some of the best chip shops in the region, who are all offering you FREE chips!
The participating chip shops are Hot Chip in Norwich, Harry Ramsden’s on Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, Three Cottages in North Walsham, French’s in Wells-next-the-Sea, and The Chip Inn in Long Stratton. Every day this week we will be printing your exclusive offers: just cut out whichever coupons you’d like to use and redeem with the specified chip shop by the end of the redemption period. Enjoy!