The Star Malaysia - Star2
Why nobody does comfort food like Scotland
From haddock to haggis, the Scots claim to have the best food in the world.
BOB Ross swears he isn’t being paid by Scotland’s tourist office.
“No one needs to bribe me into singing the praises of Scottish cuisine,” says the Kirkcaldy-born musician, who has been living away from Scotland’s east coast for more than four decades.
Ross, who says he believes Scotland has the best food in the world, starts every day with a simple porridge, cooked only in water and with a little salt. It’s an energy booster, says the founder of the award-winning Blechschaden music ensemble in the German city of Munich, who often shows up to performances with tartan accessories.
Ross just can’t get over how much he misses the food, above all haggis, though he admits that the national Scottish dish – which traditionally involves cooking a mix of organ meat, oats, onions, salt and herbs in a sheep’s stomach – takes some getting used to.
Christian Mirus also pines for the dish. The publican serves up authentic pub grub at his watering hole in Berlin called Loch Ness. Burgers, fish and chips and Scottish fish soup are the most popular. “Scottish cuisine for me is comfort food in the best sense of the word. Everything that the fields, meadows and rivers have to offer have been cooked amazingly there since before time,” says Mirus.
From the region near the border to England comes hotchpotch, a mutton stew with various vegetables, while stovies – named after the kitchen appliance it’s made on – generally means a pot of meat and potatoes. A glass of cold buttermilk usually accompanies these hearty, warming meals.
“Fish, of course, plays a huge role” in the cuisine, says Mirus. Smoked haddock is popular in Scotland and beyond. Arbroath smokie, named after a fishing town on the eastern coast, is a salted, hardwood-smoked haddock with intense flavour that tastes best eaten warm.
However, the fish is just as good when deep-fried and served with chips, which is a pub classic in Scotland. Regional cheeses are also something to behold, such as Dunlop cheese from East Ayrshire, a hard cheese stemming from the 17th century.
Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar, which was granted protection by the European Union, uses fullcream cow’s milk from cows that roam the Orkney isles and has a uniquely smooth and velvety texture. – dpa