I believe fish and chips to be a British dish.
You may have evidence to the contrary and should you present it then I will consider it, however it will do little to knock the sense of British-ness and therefore sentimentality that I attach to battered fish and fried potatoes.
Which is why when our hosts on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia suggested going for fish and chips one rainy grey day, I had put on my shoes and grabbed my handbag faster than it takes to ask "Do they also do battered sausage?".
Of course, I wasn't after a battered sausage. I was craving a fresh, light, white fish... preferably caked in batter.
And at the Fisherman's Wharf in Woy Woy this is exactly what I got.
In fact I was given a choice of many freshly caught white fish (barracuda, dory, sole), not to mention a full range of seafood starters to pick from. Oh, and then there was the totally unnecessary but delicious pavlova for desert.
This meal looked very different from the fish and chips I last had in Britain wrapped in disappointingly dull white sheets of paper and eaten swiftly in a vain attempt to counteract a chilled wind, which frequently smacked me in the face as it swept along Brighton's beachfront. Though it did start raining in Woy Woy, hence why hanging on for that pavlova was fully justifiable.
Of course, you can buy similar charm free take away fish and chips in Australia (we did, in Brisbane; the chips were soggy and cold) but it was nice to experience one of my favourite guilty greasy pleasures in the land down under being done in such a simple but sophisticated way.
Vintage furniture, purply-pink flowers and the feeding of pelicans outside all made my memories of eating fish and chips in Australia very special.
But it is still a British dish.... isn't it?
Frances M. Thompson
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