Scottish Cuisine: Now no longer the consequence of a lost bar bet!

Posted on
Mar 3, 2010

“… I think it’s repellant in every way. In fact, I think most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.” – Mike Myers, So I Married An Axe Murderer

I didn’t find haggis repellant: just for the record. It tastes like all other offal, like liver or kidneys, which I rather enjoy, even though my aunt describes them as “tasting of urine.” (Note: never tell her you love something she hates, because she will try to destroy it in your heart. She doesn’t mean to be evil … she just is.) Trube told, the hubby and I rather liked haggis. I wouldn’t eat it everyday, nor do I think it would make good hangover food. But as a bite here and there? Pretty fantastic.

All in all, Scottish food has a fairly bad reputation (especially stateside. Tell me the last time you visited a Scottish restaurant), but there are definitely some culinary bright spots during our trip to Glasgow.

  1. Traditional Indian Cuisine. Glasgow is overloaded with some top-notch Indian restaurants. A colleague of Rand took us to Mr. Singh’s, as he knew the proprieter. The food was fantastic, and encompassed far more than the fried appetizer course you see pictured. However, as the meal progressed, I was too busy eating to take any other photos. So you’ll just have to use your imagination.

    This appetizer was meant for 4 people. 6 of us barely put a dent in it.

    This appetizer was meant for 4 people. 6 of us barely put a dent in it.

  2. Indian/Scottish Fusion. No, I’m not kidding. How could I even make that up? Curry filled meat pies are becoming a common thing all over the U.K., but we also spotted haggis vindaloo, and sampled haggis pakoras (which were actually quite yummy, though heavier than dark matter):

    Just dont try and think of all the stuff going on here. Really. Dont.

    Just don't try and think of all the stuff going on here. Really. Don't.

    – –

  3. Vending Machine Booze. While not necessarily unique to Scotland (in fact, I think I took this picture in London, though similar such machines could be found in our Glasgow hotel), and perhaps not really constituting “cuisine”, I nevertheless found the idea of buying booze from a vending machine fascinating. It suggests a lot of things: a more open approach to drinking that the one you can encounter in the U.S., a greater trust for a younger generation (and that they won’t abuse the machines and get loaded – something far less likely when you have a culture where people grow up with alcohol, and it’s not seen as a forbidden fruit), and perhaps a sign of widespread alcoholism (I’m not actually being cheeky. I’m quite serious). Nevertheless, it was nothing I had seen before:

    The drinks and mixers were rubber-banded together. Also available: batteries, converters.

  4. Porridge and whiskey. When I was a kid, my relatives always referred to oatmeal as “porridge”, owing to the fact that the majority of them, including my mom and aunts, learned to speak English in England. At the time, I found it mortifying, because children can be embarassed by anything.

    Maybe if they had boozed up my breakfast, I’d have been a little more chill about things. We asked some Scots about the practice of adding whiskey to porridge, and they claim it’s just for tourists. I find that reply suspicious, at best, but Rand nevertheless tried it. Actually, I doubt there was any way I could have stopped him.

    Notice the sign next to the whiskey reads Porridge.

    Notice the sign next to the whiskey reads "Porridge."

    You just know hes up to no good.

    You just know he's up to no good.

    Mmm ... boozefast! Heart healthy, AND it will get you drunk.

    Mmm ... boozefast! Heart healthy, AND it will get you drunk.

  5. Anything ethnic. In addition to a vibrant Indian restaurant scene, Scotland is a melting pot for other European and Asian cultures, resulting in some pretty solid cuisine. I mentioned the Greek place I visited near Kelvingrove Art Museum in an earlier post, and we also popped into an Italian place while roaming around downtown. Again, pretty solid (though if looking for authenticity, always choose Greek over Italian. Like Chinese food, the latter often suffers from a lack of quality due to its ubiquity).

    Even Rands Take the damn photo so I can eat already smile is still pretty darn cute.

    Even Rand's "Take the damn photo so I can eat already" smile is still pretty darn cute.

We ended up eating quite well in Scotland – thanks to our hosts and our own willingness to try new things. The seafood (which sadly, I neglected to photograph at any point during our trip) is also extremely high-quality and very fresh. All in all, we had a great time, and the Scots really do get a bad wrap about their food. It’s not like the restaurant scene in Glasgow consists of a bunch of drunk guys eating whatever the hell they find on the ground or something …

I have no idea what this is about.

I have no idea what this is about.

Well, shit.

Maybe someone just lost a bet.

Leave a Comment

  • On the booze vending machines note, I skied for a team in Canada when I was younger (til 8th grade) and there was a beer machine in our clubhouse (presumably for parents and coaches) and while I have distinct memories of purchasing booze at the liquor store there at age 11 (I was an awesome kid. Except if you were my parents), I don’t remember us ever abusing the beer machine. Unsure if there was a taboo or if we just weren’t smart enough to figure it out. We were drunk 12 year olds, after all.

  • So, how was the boozy porridge? I need closure on that anecdote. From the picture, it kind of looks like he just had a bowl of hooch for breakfast. Which might not always be a bad idea.

    • Everywhereist

      It was good, though it needed a good bit of sweetening before it was edible. Personally, I suspect it’s the sort of thing you would not want to eat while hungover, when regular porridge already tastes like boozy porridge.

  • Dude. Booze vending machines and whiskey in your porridge for breakfast? I have GOT to go to Scotland. The food looks great, too, although I’m still pretty horrified by the concept of haggis.

  • The photo of the vending machine reminds me of a trip I took to the Bahamas back in ’94 (when I was twelve and not drinking) and tied to every can of Coca-Cola was a shot of rum, because the rum was so damn cheap they just decided to give it away with the pop. Which was actually very expensive, with or without the rum.

  • haha great post, I agree you can absolutely eat well in Scotland if you look for it, but it’s often kind of hard to find good healthy food in a pinch. Everyone immediately thinks of Haggis when it comes to Scottish food but I just couldn’t get over the deep-fried obsession they all have. I actually wrote a post about it that I think your readers might enjoy, check it out here:

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