National Fish and Chip Day: NI people can’t beat a cod supper

Cod suppers will be ordered in their hundreds of thousands today as NI folk make their Friday pilgrimage to their local fish and chip shop.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 8:00 am
Updated Friday, 4th June 2021, 9:59 am
Today (Friday, June 4) is National Fish and Chip Day

Given that today marks National Fish and Chip Day, the News Letter spoke to a portion of fish specialists across Northern Ireland to establish what the most popular order was with customers.

It should come as no surprise that a good, old fashioned cod supper came out on top, closely followed by scampi.

Joel Scullion, who runs The Merchant in Ballymena, said: “We do cod and haddock, but 90% would always order cod. The fresh scampi is also popular. Friday is the big day for fish and chips – we call it Fry-day.”

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Captain Jacks in Portaferry

Joel said all of The Merchant’s fish comes fresh from Ardglass to their two shops – a sit-in restaurant in Ballymena town centre and a takeaway in Broughshane.

He said: “We’ve been serving fish in our family since 1956. I’m third generation but we’re now onto the fourth generation coming through.”

Last year Captain Jacks in Portaferry was named as the Best Fish and Chip Shop in the Province at the Northern Ireland Fish and Chip Shop Awards.

Owner James Higginson said: “We had a woman of 97 who travelled from Belfast. She’d seen me giving an interview on television about the award.

The Merchant in Broughshane

“She made her son drive her the whole way from Belfast. They came with their own cutlery to go and sit and the sea front and have the best fish and chips in Northern Ireland. They got a cod and a scampi.”

Their choice echoed the favourites of the majority of customers.

James said: “Cod would be our number one seller, followed by our scampi. We batter all our scampi fresh every day in-house.

“All our fish comes fresh out of Portavogie from C-Fish and another wee boat called Hooked By The Jesse J. They’ve only started up. He owns his own boat called the Jesse J, he comes every Friday with fresh fish which we put on the specials menu for the restaurant.”

Belfast restaurant Fish City's outdoor dining area has proven very popular

Anita Steenson from multi award-winning Belfast restaurant Fish City said while a traditional cod supper was very popular, their customers also tended to be quite adventurous given the variety of fish dishes on the menu.

She said: “The fish tacos, cod supper, pan roasted hake, oysters, mussels and squid would be our customers’ go to dishes.”

One of the few benefits of the pandemic has meant that Fish City has been able to extend its outdoor seating area in Ann Street.

Anita said: “There’s been a lovely vibe with all the people eating outside. On the sunny days it was almost like you were on holidays.”

Captain Jack's picked up two awards at last year's Northern Ireland Fish and Chip Shop Awards

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Terry Scullion and his father Joe at the opening of The Merchant fish and chip shop in Ballymena 21 years ago. Joe started the family's fish and chip business in 1956. His grandson Joel is the third generation to enter the family business.


Fish tacos are a popular choice at Fish City