It’s the new year, and it’s time to try new cuisines. Why not start with the traditional Irish cuisine? It includes delicious ‘feel good’ dishes, perfect for the winter weather. Making use of the fresh seafood available on Ireland’s shores, the beef and lamb reared in its green pastures to make appetizing stews, and the locally grown vegetables, to create some healthy veggie dishes. But don't wait until St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy these authentic dishes, discover Ireland’s most iconic foods, with our helpful food guide.
A boxty is a type of pancake made of the country’s most popular vegetable – the potato. Combining finely grated raw and mashed potato, this mixture is then fried in a griddle pan and is usually part of the full Irish breakfast. Boxty is a cheap and filling potato pancake, which is served with organic vegetables and shellfish cream. It’s a part pancake and part hash brown: what’s not to love? Plus, you can enjoy it with some creamy Irish coffee.
Authentic Irish soda bread is a quick bread made with baking soda. The other ingredients are flour, buttermilk and salt. The basic recipe is pretty simple, but many Irish families add their twist by mixing different fruit and spices. It’s a lovely filling snack when slathered with creamy Irish butter and accompanied by a cup of tea. According to ancient folklore, this yeast-free bread is traditionally scored with an X to ward off evil (but it also helps the bread rise). This traditional bread is available pretty much at every bakery in Belfast.
Coddle is a traditional Irish cold-weather treat, which is generally made up of leftover ingredients tossed in one pot and coddled (or simmered) together slowly. Leftovers include bacon, sausage, potatoes, onions, and butter and you can add herbs like thyme as well as parsley. Pepper can be sprinkled over the top to enhance the taste. It is best enjoyed with brown bread or even Irish Soda Bread. Fun fact, coddle is reported to have been the favourite meal of playwright Seán O’Casey and Gulliver’s Travels author Jonathan Swift and it also appears in works by James Joyce.
One of the most traditional Irish dishes is the Irish stew. It’s the ultimate comfort food that is preferred because of its taste, low cost, and of course, its nutritional richness as it is a combination of meat, fresh veggies, and some herbs. The cooking time is very long, around 2 hours, in order to make the meat soft and tender. Some also bring in variations by adding mushrooms, barley, and some Guinness. It’s served with some sprinkles of thyme and parsley on top. The perfect twist to the traditional stew.
Don’t be fooled by the name ‘pudding’—this Irish staple is made from pork sausage. To be specific, it’s a sausage made with pork meat, fat and blood. The Irish like to enjoy their black pudding with white pudding, which is identical just without blood. Moreover, the puddings are usually served as a slice with the full Irish breakfast. Talented Irish chefs have also found unique ways to incorporate it into salads and main dishes.
You’ll be able to purchase traditional black and white puddings in local butchers in Belfast or have it with your Full Irish Breakfast.
We hope you enjoyed reading Urban illustration’s guide to traditional food in Ireland, and where to eat them in Belfast.
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