Day 12 – Fish Supper

As I was walking through Finstown this evening I came across the Peedie Chippie, a mobile fish and chip shop. I had previously been told that these were the best fish and chips in Orkney and that I should try them. The queue was huge so I thought “they must be good” and took my place in line. As I waited I overheard a woman who I assumed was a visitor telling her friend about the best fish and chips she had ever had while holidaying in Blackpool, her friend replied they could not have been as good as these ones. It is funny how “the best fish and chips I ever had” is a topic that seems to spark such debate and often comes with a detailed narrative. I have often heard tales of the best (and worst) fish and chips, I have been told the best fish supper comes from Stonehaven from the chip shop that invented the deep fried mars bar, or that nothing beats the fish and chips from Morecombe Bay on the west coast or Blyth on the north east coast of England. These assertions are often accompanied by a description of how the chip shop was discovered or a detailed analysis of what makes them the best fish and chips, from the lightness of the batter to the crispness of the chips. The woman in the queue had just such a story.

I eventually left with my fish supper (with salt and vinegar) and though they were lovely unfortunately they were not the best I had ever had. So here it is the story of the best fish and chips I have ever had…

It was October 2011 and I had journeyed to Ullapool visit my friend Holly, who was doing a residency there, and to run a Big Draw workshop at the local gallery. I had spent the day on first a train and then a bus in order to get to the remote fishing town and having dropped my backpack at the place I was staying I ventured out to find food. I found a fish and chip shop on the harbour, bought a fish supper and took my warm bundle out to a bench overlooking the water. It was early evening and the sun was just begging to set over the hill, the sky was dramatic reds and oranges and a light breeze blew through the salty air. I unwrapped my meal and found it to be the freshest, lightest and most tasty fish supper I have ever eaten. The chips were crisp and golden on the outside but fluffy and soft on the inside, the batter was light and brittle and the fish moist and flaky, melting in my mouth. It was extremely pleasant to sit and look out across the harbour to the distant hills eat those lovely fish and chips.

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