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Fish and Chips in Japan, is it authentic?

Wedy here,

You may, or may not know this but the British are very passionate when it comes to fish ‘n’ chips.

They’re also very particular with what accompanies fish ‘n’ chips; regular peas, mushy peas (what even are those?), ketchup, curry sauce… believe me, you’ve never known fish ‘n’ chips to be so complex until you’ve attempted to order one for a British person. My advice? Just let them do it themselves, you’ll get it wrong.

Now don’t get me wrong, me, Wedy, loves the British, as does the team at Onion Soup Interactive, as well, ermm, they’re British!

So who was better than to test fish ‘n’ chips in Japan than the developers themselves.

If you’re not familiar with fish ‘n’ chips, let’s start with the basics:

Fish ‘n’ Chips in the UK

The Chip Shop

A traditional fish and chips found in the UK. Image taken under cc license.

A traditional fish and chips found in the UK. Image taken under cc license.

In the UK, you’ll most commonly find fish ‘n’ chips in a “chip shop”, also known as a “chippy”, a “fish shop”, or just takeaway to you and me. Most fish ‘n’ chips are taken away and eaten at home, or in a park, or by the delightful-but-with-slightly-unpredictable-weather-British seaside (it’s better by the sea I’ve been told).

There’s no need to plate up the contents, as fish ‘n’ chips is better eaten out of the bag. Sometimes you’ll even be given a small fork and can actually eat them whilst walking home.

The pub

Fish and chips is commonly served in pubs in the UK. Image taken under cc license.

Fish and chips is commonly served in pubs in the UK. Image taken under cc license.

This is another kind of fish ‘n’ chips, it’s the kind that you would find in a pub, or restaurant. The concept is the same, but the presentation is, nicer.

The choice of fish will vary from place to place, but the options for fish are quite wide; the standard is cod, however haddock, plaice, pollock and skate are also popular choices. Even the frying process for the chips can vary; most are vegetable oil, but there are some, especially in the midlands that fry their chips in “dripping”, which is animal fat, typically Beef.

In this photo there’s a side of tartar sauce and some mushy peas (again, what is the big deal with those!?!). Now, if you ever want a good debate with a group of British people and don’t want to see grown adults cry when mentioning Brexit, ask about what type of peas is best. Then just sit back and watch the debate unfold. As previously mentioned, this is close to the British people’s heart, so everyone will have an opinion. Even not liking any peas is controversial in this subject.

Fish and Chips in Japan

So, now we’ve mastered fish ‘n’ chips, let’s see how Japan compares. First off let’s visit “The Hub”, a chain of British inspired pubs which will make any Brit feel right at home.

The Hub

If you’ve never visited The Hub before, I’d highly recommend it. Designed to look like it’s straight out of Peaky Blinders you will be mistaken for thinking you’re in England, with Titanic memorabilia and Guinness Posters on the walls of the pub.

Fish 'n’ chips served in The Hub pub, Tokyo. Image source: authors own image

Fish 'n’ chips served in The Hub pub, Tokyo. Image source: authors own image

On first glance it looks ok doesn’t it? It’s served in a basket wrapped in newspaper, the fish looks like it’s been battered and there’s chips. Great! Oh, wait, those aren’t chips, they are… wedges!

Oh no. It looked so promising, but they still tasted good. Not a traditional “chip”, but it was still good.

Next, let’s tackle the fish, so it’s not cod, the batter is crispy and light. There’s some chilli flakes on the fish which adds a little bit of heat to the dish. It’s pleasant to eat, but is it authentic? Unfortunately not. It’s close, but not the same. When I asked the developers what was missing, they responded “the fish wasn’t soggy enough, it was fried too well. Normally the inside of the fish is still a little soggy, you know what I mean?”. Right, yeah, sure…… Erm what?!

Fish 'n’ chips served in The Hub. Image source: authors own image

Fish 'n’ chips served in The Hub. Image source: authors own image

The lack of curry sauce and any variety of peas was also noted and highly missed. The option to add “Sarsons Vinegar” was very well received. This is apparently the only vinegar worth drenching your fish and chips with.

Malins Fish & Chips

So next we’re onto “Malins Fish & Chips” in Roppongi, this Chip Shop was opened by an Englishman, so fingers crossed this is the real deal. I’m feeling good about this place, I don’t know about you.

The menu at Malins looks impressive. Image source: authors own image

The menu at Malins looks impressive. Image source: authors own image

Whoa just look at that menu, there’s so many options; fish ‘n’ chips, chicken and chips, even battered sausage and chips. All are popular items in a British Chip Shop. There’s even mushy peas and curry sauce on offer here. Oh this is sounding good. Maybe the developers will be happy here.

The fish ‘n’ chips is winning points for looking authentic, but how does it taste? Image source: authors own image

The fish ‘n’ chips is winning points for looking authentic, but how does it taste? Image source: authors own image

Looks good right? I think it’s presented even better than the British do. The fish portion is good, but the chips and curry sauce was small in comparison to the UK. The developers were also amused by daikon radish and cucumber being served with the fish. That definitely wouldn’t be a thing in the UK. But what did it taste like? Is it the same?

The developers response was “Well… The fish was nice, the chips aren’t the same though. Better than The Hub’s wedges but they’re ok. The curry sauce was excellent”.

It seems like the British are hard to please with their fish ‘n’ chips. At least the curry sauce was a winner. The developers also mentioned that ¥1600 ($15) was actually quite pricey for fish and chips; as a meal is normally less than £5 ($6). The option to have the fish ‘n’ chips as a takeaway also impressed the developers.

When asked if our developers would return to either restaurant; The Hub got a yes, whereas Malin’s got a no. The developers enjoyed the atmosphere of The Hub, and liked its attempts at being British.

So if you want fish ‘n’ chips in Japan that’s liked by British people, head to The Hub.

What have I learnt from this? Never take the British for fish ‘n’ chips that’s not from Britain, it’s not worth the headache!

So that’s all for now folks,

I’ve been Wedy Jones.

Keep it Real, Keep it Nippon.


Details:

The Hub:

Malins Fish & Chips:


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