7 best Scottish foods you won’t (commonly) find in England

Haggis Eggs and Potato Scones

On a recent trip to Chester, I stumbled upon a delicious – and surprisingly Scottish – brunch spot, called Atina Kitchen. While the cafe’s name suggested a Mediterranean origin, the venue clearly had Scottish roots – with upcoming whisky tastings and Scottish food nights promoted on their event calendar. Most excitingly, was the Highlander breakfast – essentially a Haggis eggs Benedict – which I promptly ordered, along with a side of potato scones. Haggis eggs Benedict is something which I had never even seen in Scotland before, and potato scones are a Scottish breakfast staple which are hard to come by in England.

Haggis Eggs and Potato Scones
Stereotypical breakfast ordering – haggis for me, full English for him

After polishing off the entire plate I got to thinking about some of the other great Scottish foods which English folk are missing out on.

1) Spiced Onions

One drunken night shortly after moving to Yorkshire I found myself in an Indian restaurant looking for something to soak up the alcohol. My drunk food of choice was spiced onions and poppadoms. The waiter looked perplexed as I placed my order but headed off to put something together – when he handed over my takeaway box I was the one left perplexed as I looked down at the box of sliced onions with some dry spice on top. Disappointed I showed the onions to my boyfriend, he looked back at me asking what I was expecting. After a quick Google we came to find that spiced onions are in fact a Scottish Indian cuisine which haven’t made it across the border, where mango chutney reigns supreme. I also found this handy and easy recipe for making spiced onions at home, which I did the next week and introduced my boyfriend to the tasty Scottish Indian cuisine he’d been missing.

[Update:Lately I have been very excited to find spiced onions in some Indian restaurants around the Bradford area]

2) Empire Biscuits

Another food I had no idea was Scottish until a sad day in Yorkshire trying and failing to hunt them down. After a particularly gruelling morning at work I needed some sugar to perk me up through the afternoon. For no apparent reason, I had a craving for an empire biscuit – two biscuits sandwiched together with jam, topped with icing and a jelly tot. As I scanned the bakery aisle in Co-op I couldn’t find them anywhere, so I headed to the other Co-op (this was a small town overrun with Co-ops). Again, no luck. Then, after venturing around all three of the town’s bakeries with still not so much as a jelly tot in sight I had to admit defeat and realised the delicious empire biscuit was another Scottish treat.

3) Potato Scones

Potato scones are the highlight of a full Scottish breakfast – somewhat the equivalent of an English hash brown…only better! Now, unlike spiced onions and empire biscuits, when I moved to England I knew I would be leaving potato scones behind – and it wasn’t a decision which I took lightly. When I first set off to England, along with my clothes, new sofa and television, I packed a sufficient stock of potato scones. I hoard the potato scones in my freezer and whenever I’m visiting Scotland I bring back additional supplies. If I won’t be home for a while my Mum posts them to me. A fry up just isn’t a fry up without a potato scone (you can leave your beans, mushrooms and tomato thanks).

4) Macaroni Pies

The macaroni pie is exactly what you expect – a pie filled with creamy macaroni cheese. Macaroni pies hit the headlines a few years back when Greggs dramatically announced they would no longer be selling the Scots’ beloved pies. The nation was so outraged a petition was started, which even the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon supported. While Greggs no longer sells macaroni pies you can still find them in most other bakeries and supermarkets north of the border.

5) Square Sausage

Ok, so a lot of my favourite Scottish foods are breakfast-centric. While the English do a decent fry-up you’ve really not tasted a proper Sunday breakfast until you try a full Scottish. In Scotland rather than links sausages our fry ups tend to come with Lorne sausage, more colloquially known as ‘square sausage’…because it’s square. Why is it square? I don’t know. How else is it different? I don’t know. Why it is so much better? I don’t know, but trust me it is.

6) Morton’s Rolls

Whether you call them baps, butties, breadcakes or barms it doesn’t matter – there is no true English equivalent for that perfectly crispy Scottish Morton’s roll. The ideal base for holding a square sausage and potato scone.

7) Chippies

Of course we have chip shops all over the UK, and I’m sure the English seaside is one of the best places for high-quality fish, chips and mushy peas. But what I didn’t realise until introducing my boyfriend to a Glasgow chippy after a night of clubbing is that Scottish chippies offer a whole range of deep-fried delicacies you just don’t get in English chip shops – haggis supper, chicken supper, pizza crunch supper {that’s deep-fried pizza)…Scottish chippies are definitively better than English chippies – well at 3am after one too many gins anyway.

What’s your favourite regional food? Let me know in the comments below.