Many travelers think they’ll be getting the standard, boiled British food when visiting Ireland, but that's not true! Sure you can indulge in fresh fish and chips, which is a frankly delicious bar food staple, but there are delicacies all over the country. From hearty stews in the north to delectable mutton throughout the farmlands to mouthwatering oysters and seafood along the coast, Ireland has a decadent palate.
While you’re in Ireland, here are a few things to be sure to try.
Irish stew is a classic dish that has been enjoyed for generations. Traditionally made with lamb or mutton, potatoes, onions, and carrots, this hearty stew is perfect for warming you up on a chilly day. The meat is slow-cooked to perfection, making it fall of the bone and melt in your mouth. For some of the best Irish stew, head to The Boxty House in Dublin, or Kelly's Cellars in Belfast.
Soda Bread (Brown Bread)
No meal is really complete in Ireland without a slice of soda bread, also known as brown bread. Made with a coarser flour and baking soda instead of yeast, soda bread goes perfectly with butter and jam in the morning, an accompaniment to soup at lunch and with stew for dinner! Check out this recipe that was shared with me.
The thin potato pancake found throughout Ireland is called boxty. Made up of finely grated raw potato, mashed potato, eggs, buttermilk, flour and baking soda, boxty - sometimes called poundy - has become an increasingly popular food for tourists and locals alike. Some places will serve it plain, while others offer it up with a side of veggies or meat.
Colcannon and Champ
It's no secret: Ireland loves its potatoes! Introduced to the New World in the 16th century, potatoes are a feature in many iconic Irish dishes including colcannon and champ. A St. Patrick’s day favorite, colcannon is a mixture of creamy mashed potatoes and usually kale or cabbage. Champ is a similar mashed potato favorite, flavored with scallions, milk and butter.
Similar to a full English breakfast, a full Irish breakfast is a gut-busting start to the day with bacon, sausages, eggs, fried tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns, white and black pudding and baked beans. Pair it with a cup of strongly brewed Barry's tea!
Black pudding, also known as blood pudding, is a type of sausage that is made with pork blood and a mixture of oats, spices, and fat. It has a rich, meaty flavor that pairs well with eggs and toast for breakfast or as a side dish for lunch or dinner.
Traditionally a Dublin working-class dish, coddle is another comforting stew to try in Ireland. The name coddle comes from the slow simmering or “coddling” of ingredients in a one-pot stew. Coddle is reported to have been the favorite meal of Gulliver’s Travels author Jonathan Swift!
Being an island, Ireland is blessed with an abundance of fresh seafood. Feast on the West coast’s plump native oysters, which come into season in September, clams in Connemara, Molly Malone’s famed cockles and mussels, and Dublin Bay prawns (langoustines). Irish smoked salmon is also a year-round favorite.
Despite what you may have heard, Ireland is a country with a culinary tradition that offers a diverse range of delicious foods to try. Whether you're a fan of classic comfort food or you're seeking out new and exciting flavors, Ireland's cuisine is sure to satisfy your appetite. the next time you find yourself on the Emerald Isle, be sure to sample some of these must-try foods and experience it for yourself!