10 Must-Try Dishes in Ireland

by Editorial Staff

The principle of traditional Irish cuisine is simple: hearty and tasty. In this practical country, meat and potatoes are held in high esteem – they are taken as the basis for cooking.

The methods of processing the ingredients are also simple: they are boiled, stewed, or fried. Therefore, the local national cuisine is often called rude – this is a stereotype that has evolved over the centuries and is refuted in a matter of minutes spent at the Irish table.

So, what food to try in Ireland to fully experience the amazing flavor of this unusual country? Consider a list of 10 traditional national dishes, without which it is simply impossible to imagine Ireland!

10 Must-Try Dishes in Ireland
10 Must-Try Dishes in Ireland

Boxty

Boxty
Boxty

Once appeared as “bread for the poor,” today boxty has become an integral part of the local national cuisine. This uncomplicated meal consists of traditional pancakes made from grated potatoes with flour, eggs, and sometimes fresh or sour milk. Most often served in Ireland for breakfast (with soft local cheese) or as a side dish with meat dishes (with chopped herbs ).

Herbs Stuffed Mushrooms

Herbs Stuffed Mushrooms
Herbs Stuffed Mushrooms

Mushrooms in Ireland are added to vegetable stews and meat dishes and grilled. But nothing beats such a popular national delicacy as herb-stuffed champignon caps. The mushroom stalk is carefully removed, chopped, mixed with finely chopped basil and onions. Irish chefs love to experiment and add garlic, walnuts, thyme, and a variety of other ingredients to traditional toppings, which are fried or baked with grated Parmesan. The food turns out to be refined and tender, and thanks to the herbs, it acquires an amazing taste and aroma. In Ireland, it is served with breakfast or as a starter to main courses.

Coddle

Coddle
Coddle

For a long time, this national food in Ireland was the prerogative of the nobility – ordinary peasants could taste it only on holidays. And all thanks to the fact that this dish is incredibly meaty: for its preparation you will need a lot of homemade sausages, fatty lard, as well as potatoes and onions. All ingredients are stewed in a saucepan, and regular salt, pepper, and parsley are used as seasonings. And the truth: what could be better than a hearty, aromatic, tasty, and juicy meal when a piercing and angry wind is blowing outside the window!

Champ

Champ
Champ

Many traditional Irish dishes are made with or from potatoes, and the champ is one of them. This is a very delicate puree that can be eaten on its own and as a side dish for meat or fish. The perfect combination of flavors! To prepare champ, in addition to boiled potatoes, you need very few ingredients: milk (or cream), finely chopped onions, butter, cheese, salt, and pepper. At all times in the country, it was considered an everyday dish that was out of place on the festive table. Nevertheless, this food means a lot in the culture of Ireland – champ even became the source of several catchwords. For example, “as thick as champ” can be interpreted as describing a stupid, crazy person. And “as ignorant as champ at a wedding” literally means “uncivilized”, “rude”, “inappropriate”.

Colcannon

Colcannon
Colcannon

The traditional national cuisine of Ireland is distinguished by a special festive specificity, and the proof of this is the colcannon, which has become one of the country’s signature Halloween treats. Colcannon requires cabbage and mashed potatoes (bacon or ham can be used as an addition). Because of such simple, affordable and inexpensive ingredients, this food in Ireland can be tasted at any time of the year, but preferably in the fall, during the fresh harvest, and, of course, on the eve of All Saints’ Day.

Barmbrack

Barmbrack
Barmbrack

Barmbrack is another unique Irish national dish that has become an indispensable attribute of the festive Halloween table. It is made from yeast dough, always adding raisins or grapes. There are also variations of the traditional recipe, for example, using Irish whiskey or other savory ingredients. In the old days, rings, chips, coins, peas, and other objects that personified the future were “hidden” in this food. Today, in memory of the tradition, you can buy a barmbrack with symbolic rings inside. Basically, barmbrack is Irish sweet bread. It is cut into slices and served with tea, as a dessert. There are a lot of recipes for making barmbrack in Ireland and you can try it not only for the holidays.

Irish Stew

Irish Stew
Irish Stew

This traditional Irish dish is made with the finest lamb with potatoes and onions. Local chefs do not like to change the traditional recipe much, adding only carrots, thyme, or rosemary to the stew in order to achieve a more subtle and rich aroma and taste. In Ireland, the love of this food has been ingrained for centuries, and today Irish stew can be tasted everywhere. The stew is served hot in deep bowls with broth. This is an excellent dish during cold weather – then its popularity increases dramatically.

Irish Fish Chowder

Irish Fish Chowder
Irish Fish Chowder

Of course, the Irish love for potatoes is known all over the world. But no less strong in the national cuisine is the passion for the gifts of the sea, of which many are bestowed on the country by the generous coastal waters. An example of this is the Irish fish chowder, for the preparation of which salmon, cod, halibut, mussels, and shrimp are caught in Ireland. The secret to the fantastic taste of the chowder lies in two key features at once: a light, delicate creamy broth and a mixture of fresh and smoked seafood and fish. It is curious that in the vast majority of cases the recipe also involves the use of bacon, fried until golden brown. This unusual national food can be found on the menu of almost any pub. Here you will certainly be offered to try it with traditional soda bread and drink a glass of good old Guinness, Kilkenny, or Smithwick’s ale.

Soda Bread

Soda Bread
Soda Bread

In every house in Ireland, in the kitchen, every housewife has her own recipe for the so-called “soda bread”, passed down from generation to generation. Someone prefers to bake it with honey and dried fruits, someone – with bran or oatmeal, but the main thing remains unchanged: the basis of bread is soda, buttermilk, and flour. The renowned Guinness beer is also a common ingredient in this Irish dish. It gives the bread a unique, characteristic flavor. Soda bread is an important attribute of any meal. The Irish serve it to soups, but often they eat bread and just like that, cut into slices and spread them with butter.

Guinness Cake

Guinness Cake
Guinness Cake

You can’t list traditional Irish dishes and ignore such a famous and popular dessert as Guinness cake. He became an organic part of the national cuisine, although they say about him that the recipe was invented by no means Irish. Preparing the cake is quick and easy. The main nuance lies in heating the beer in one container with butter and adding the required amount of cocoa powder to the mixture. The dessert turns out to be black and “sinful” like night, – this is especially emphasized by the cap of the sweet snow-white airy cream, which is used to cover the top of the cake. An incredible challenge for those who decide to eat fewer sweets!

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