Words: Shamim de Brún
Words: Shamim de Brún
What is actually Irish food? It’s such a loaded question that we will forever be trying to answer it. Entrenched in colonialism and austerity for hundreds of years, the fact that we have wrestled any sense of culinary identity from the leftovers is a feat.
So for the week that’s in it, we’ve collated some of the best bits going that are genuinely Irish. Stuff that actual Irish people are making with Irish ingredients and sentiment. Go forth and Paddy it up.
If you’re looking for a dish that screams “Paddy’s Day”, you can’t go wrong with Bahay’s new Guinness & Beef Adobo. Not only does it have our quintessential beer in it, but combining that with the classic mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper that make up Adobo, you have a culinary fusion to look forward to. Slow-cooked beef that melts in your mouth and the softness of rice is the perfect blend of actually Irish and Filipino cultures, making it a true representation of the melting pot that is modern Dublin. Plus, the Bahay team always slings flavour bombs, so you know you’ll love it.
Nothing says indulgence like a plate of deep-fried fish and potatoes. The golden-brown batter on the fish is so crispy it’s like biting into a piece of fried heaven. And nothing beats chipper chips; they’re crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and just the right amount of salty. An OG treat done well by Fish Shop is nigh unbeatable, especially with this weather. It’s like a match made in fried-food heaven. It’s the ultimate comfort food and the perfect lining ahead of a wild weekend.
Brown bread ice cream is a feat of actually Irish ingenuity. We have the best dairy and the leftover bits of bread and put ’em together, and what have ya got? Bibedy, bobedy, brilliant frozen vanilla filled with caramelized bread crumbs that stay crispy and delicious. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also a little bit bougie, which is perfect for when you want to feel fancy but also Irish AF. The bread is crumbled up and mixed into the ice cream, giving it a deliciously nutty flavour and a slightly crunchy texture. It’s like having dessert and bread simultaneously, which is a genius move. Order it in Irish, and Murphy’s will even give you a ten per cent discount.
The Spice Bag is the most relevant culinary invention of the century. It permeated every stratum of our culture and would heal the country if only we would let it. It’s like a little bag of joy filled with crispy Chinese takeaway-style chips, spicy chicken, a smattering of peppers, and onion glazes with a magical, mysterious spice mix. The spice level is just right – enough to make your nose run but not so much that you need a fire hose to cool down. Plus, it’s the perfect snack with a pint of Guinness or a shot of Jameson. So support your local this week and order it in when you need a cure, or make an event of it and grab the Cajun Spice Bag from Krewe in town as you celebrate your Irishness in whatever way you want to.
Garlic butter hake kiev. It’s like a little nugget of heaven, wrapped in crispy breadcrumbs and stuffed with garlic butter that oozes out like liquid gold when you cut into it. And the fish? Is it possible to beat sustainably sourced Hake? The garlic butter is like a little kiss in every bite. It perfectly balances rich, buttery goodness and fresh, flaky fish. What more could you want of a Paddy’s Day?
Okay she’s not much of a looker. She never will do. But by the deity of your choice she is one of our only traditional dishes that havn’ty been co-opted and given an American version. So, Dublin Coddle, baby! It’s the best dish to celebrate Paddy’s Day with, hands down. What’s not to love? It’s a hot pot filled with sausages, bacon, potatoes, and onions that’s been slow-cooked until everything is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It’s the ultimate comfort food that’ll have you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.
Elsewhere on CHAR: What is a Little Treat Girlie?