Image source: Flickr - Alpha
"Foodie" and "Scotland" are not generally two words that collide together. In fact, most of the United Kingdom has been (unfairly) stereotyped as having bland, boring food.
But I can assure you that this definitely is not the case. Despite what you might have heard, there ARE some dishes worth trying all around the United Kingdom, including these classically Scottish dishes.
Minced sheep innards, onion, suet, oatmeal and spices cooked inside a sheep's stomach. Sounds pretty disgusting, right? But don't let the contents (or how they're prepared) turn you off. The national dish of Scotland isn't actually half bad when prepared correctly. If you're feeling a bit wary, you can try it deep-fried, or perhaps on a taco at Illegal Jack's in Edinburgh.
It may not have the most delicious-sounding name, but Cullen Skink is actually nothing more than a hearty, chowder-like soup. Made with smoked haddock, onions, and potatoes, the soup gets its name from the town where it's a local specialty (Cullen - the "skink" part simply means soup).
Fish and Chips
You may think of fish and chips as an English staple, but it's definitely popular and well prepared in Scotland as well. Usually battered cod or haddock and a generous helping of deep-fried chips (fries to us Americans), fish and chips is a popular take-away food in Scotland. The best ones come wrapped in paper and served piping hot and don't forget to add some vinegar! You can find great fish and chips throughout Scotland, but my favorite was in the beautiful coastal city of Oban.
Somewhat similar to fudge (but not as soft), tablet is a popular dessert in Scotland. Made with sugar, condensed milk and butter, tablet certainly isn't the healthiest of Scottish foods, but it is one of the most delicious.
Deep-Fried Mars Bar
Speaking of really unhealthy foods, you can now find deep-fried candy bars for sale in many of Scotland's fish and chips shops. What began as a bit of a joke decades ago has now become quite popular - ironically enough thanks to media coverage focusing on Scotland's notoriously bad diet. I tried a deep-fried Mars bar in Edinburgh, and will say this: they are tasty, but you shouldn't eat a whole one unless you are hoping to suffer a heart attack.
Moving from one sugary thing to the next, Irn Bru is a popular soft drink in Scotland. It's orange in color and kind of tastes a little bit like an orange cream soda and a bite. It's distinctive but as Scotland's national soft drink, you have to try it at least once while youre there.
Lastly, we can't talk about Scottish food and drink without including the big one: whisky. Often referred to as just Scotch in the US, Scottish whisky is the national drink of Scotland and has been produced there for centuries. Originally made from malted barley, Scottish whisky is now made using both barley and other grains. People go to Scotland these days solely for whisky tours - many distilleries will gladly have you observe the process and offer up a taste of the golden drink
Which dish would YOU be most likely to order in Scotland?