What do the Irish eat?
This question came up quite frequently during my time on the island. To be honest, it wasn’t an easy question to answer in the beginning on one hand, I mostly ate at my flat - student on a budget you know. On the other hand, because it’s actually pretty hard to define Irish cuisine.
Generally, you could say that there are a lot of British influences. For example, there are many Fish ‘n’ Chips restaurants and things like bake beans are coming breakfast item. According to the national food survey in 2011, the favorite dish of the Irish was bacon and cabbage - which I never tried though. Other traditional dishes included black pudding, Irish stew, Shepherd’s Pie or Irish salmon. Thus, you can say that the Irish cuisine consists largely of plain traditional fare.
Furthermore, people there obsessed with chips (respectively fries). Regardless of what you order a restaurant or at the canteen of my university, “Want some chips along with it?”, was always obligatory question. Maybe it’s due to the dependence of potatoes in and Ireland and former times before the great famine.
You hardly ever get the thin fries you find a McDonald’s or whatever – they offer you the thicker, more natural ones which are really nice. Since they served them literally anything, you can come across some weird combinations. For example, you can find pizza with awful lot of chips on top or even with chicken curry or lasagna.
Apart from that the Irish youth are especially into burritos and Ramen. So, I encountered a great number of Asian and Mexican places serving some of the best burritos I’ve ever tasted. (Special tip for Cork City: “burritos and blues” on Paul street <3). Sometimes people even Q for their beloved Doritos and except waiting half an hour before they can devour them.
Another peculiarity in Ireland concerns cheese. If you know me, you might be aware of my great obsession with cheese and so I was surprised that there is almost no other store then cheddar on the shelves. You hardly ever find it in Austria, (if so it’s really expensive) but in Ireland it’s your only choice to most of the time. However, my disappointment about the lock of cheese variety faded as soon as I found out that cheddar is an utterly delicate and culinary delight.