Ireland does have a unique contribution to the food. Unlike other countries, most people do not travel to the Republic just for the sake of trying the cuisine. This is especially true in today’s time where so many modern staples have become commonplace in Ireland. If you want a slice of pizza or other routine meals they can likely be found in Ireland with just a look around O’Connell Street. However, there are still many tried and true fixtures of Irish culture that someone visiting the area will want to look for when meeting Ireland for the first time.
Although it may be tempting to settle for a Chinese buffet while in Dublin, try to restrain yourself. Save that for whenever you are lucky enough to be near China if that does ever occur or when you get back home. Ireland still has some great traditional options that are worth seeking out.
The Irish Breakfast
We can start with the most important meal of the day which would be breakfast and the traditional Irish breakfast is still in effect. You can definitely find many places in Ireland that still serve this full-scale tradition. It usually consists of bacon, sausage, fried eggs, toast, and other choices. What can be seen in this breakfast could be considered a brunch or buffet style service in some places and other places it may still be considered just a sit-down meal. Other items on the menu can include white or black puddings, bread, vegetables, and tea.
The Irish Lunch
If you make it past breakfast and still manage to find yourself hungry later on most people usually stop for tea at some point in the afternoon. It is common for tea drinkers to eat cookies or something sweet with their tea, thus the phrase “tea and biscuits” or “cake”. Otherwise, if you are hungrier there are choices for a light lunch.
There are several bread choices in which to make a sandwich. Blaa is an Irish bread that can be paired with corned beef or sausage as an option. Also, potato bread can be chosen to be paired with any other meat choice or fish choice. These would make perfect lunchtime selections.
Once dinner arrives there are many Irish traditions available to pick from. Irish stew is a classic. It is typically made with lamb, mutton, potatoes, onions, carrots, parsley, and other spices. There are some who even add famous drinks like Guinness to their stews.
Colcannon is another traditional dish that consists of mashed potatoes mixed with kale or cabbage. It has milk, cream, butter, spices, or onions all added to it as well. It may appear to be a side dish, however, many have used Colcannon as a staple dish. Sometimes it has bacon or ham added to it to make it a heartier meal.
There is also a boxty which is a form of potato pancake. The locals call these poundys. These cakes come from fried raw potatoes that are combined with flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and at times egg is incorporated into the mix as well. Boxtys are popularly bought in many areas and are used in the same ways as others would use tortilla wraps. For instance, this restaurant’s sole menu is designed entirely around boxtys which originated out of the areas of Connacht and Ulster. However, now you can see the influence is spreading wide and it is a good thing.
Whenever you find yourself in Ireland, try to steer yourself towards the food traditions that have been going on for a long time while you are there whether for the first time or as a repeat visitor. You’ll be grateful you did.