The 6 Authentic Irish Dishes You Have to Try When Visiting Ireland
There's more to Irish cuisine than tender potatoes and stewed meats. It's inventive ways of using cherished ingredients, and the knowledge that a quality piece of bread can make or break the meal. From classic potato farls and fry-ups to traditional stews and coddles, these tasty, authentically Irish dishes are a must when visiting Ireland.
table of contents
Ulster Fry (Irish Fry-up)
A hardy breakfast fry-up from Northern Ireland, the Ulster fry features bacon and sausage in the starring role, with a helping hand from a few fried eggs, black and white pudding, a slice of both soda and potato bread, optional browned potatoes and a couple of juicy tomatoes. The key is to cook everything except the eggs in the same pan, sealing in the medley of flavors. This is the Belfast breakfast of champions, and will set you up for a busy day of sightseeing and exploring.
Champ and Colcannon
Ireland's favorite side dish, champ is made by mixing fresh scallions with creamy mashed potatoes, and is a common addition to home-cooked meals or pub fare. A similar dish called colcannon is made using spinach, kale or cabbage in place of scallions, and is more popular in the southern regions of Ireland.
Boxty Potato Pancake
Boxty is a versatile potato pancake, a perfect addition to breakfast, lunch or dinner. This traditional dish is deceptively simple, made from grated and mashed potato, baking soda, buttermilk and a binder like flour and/or egg. A thinner batter is used to make boxty on a griddle, and a thicker, hardier batter is used if the boxty is baked like bread.
Potato and Soda Farls
A classic 'farl' of bread is typically a triangular or square piece, achieved by cutting the loaf into four, which is how most traditional Irish breads are prepared. The most popular types of Irish breads, and the ones no breakfast is complete without, are potato and soda. Soda bread takes its name from the use of baking soda instead of yeast as leavening, while potato bread is made by substituting potato in any form for a portion of the wheat flour in the dough. Pratie oaten is a very traditional form of potato bread, made from just mashed potatoes, oatmeal and salt.
Nothing says Irish home cooking like a hot pot of coddle, a rustic dish of potatoes, sausage, bacon and onion. Traditionally, coddle was a way for the family to use up leftovers. Seasonings were kept to the basic salt and pepper combination, relying on the flavors of the ingredients themselves to create a flavorful broth. These days, coddle recipes vary widely, but stewed potatoes and sausage chunks are the mainstays of the dish.
Traditional Irish stew, in its most basic form, is made from mutton, potatoes and onions. Modern recipes for Irish stew vary, but root vegetables like carrots and turnips are widely considered acceptable, whilst the addition of heavy gravies and sauces, though a deliciously common practice, is frowned upon by some. Hearty Irish stew is especially popular in the colder months, though some pubs and restaurants prepare the iconic dish all year round.
Irish cuisine is the result of generations of resourceful cooks, their simple but tasty recipes still being used and adapted by modern chefs and home bakers. From classic soda bread to the versatile potato boxty, these six Irish favorites are the must-try dishes during a trip to the Emerald Isle.