The culture and cuisine of Glasgow is characteristic of Scotland, but has been heavily influenced by many generations of immigration both from the nearby highlands, islands, and Ireland; and from around the world.

We’ve put together some ideas of things you can try and do while you’re in the city, from things to eat to places to see if you have some spare time before or after the meeting.

Glaswegian Cuisine

The food eaten in Glasgow is broadly similar to that across the rest of Scotland, and the United Kingdom, although there are a few items which are more frequently found in the city and the West Coast of Scotland.

Cullen skink is a thick fish soup made with haddock, potatoes and onions, and originated in the North-east of Scotland.

Scotch broth is another famous Scottish soup, made with cuts of lamb or beef, and an assortment of root vegetables. Ed: (nice but not as good as the cullen skink)

Lorne sausage is a traditional Scottish breakfast food. It is almost always square-shaped, and made with a mixture of pork and beef.

Irn Bru (pronounced “Iron Brew”) is perhaps best thought of as “Scotland’s other national drink”, and shares its orange colouring with its alcoholic compatriot. Irn Bru is a carbonated soft drink; the absence of iron in its ingreients, and the lack of brewing in its production process lead to the current spelling of the name.

Haggis is perhaps the most famous Scottish food. “Although its description is not immediately appealing, haggis has an excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavour”, according to Larousse Gastronomique, the haggis may well deserve recognition as the Scottish national dish, having inspired Scots poet Robert Burns to write it it’s own address.

If a traditional sit-down meal of haggis, neeps, and tatties (haggis, turnip, and potato) isn’t for you, then try ordering haggis pakora in Indian restaurants if they have it, or the fried version from fish & chip shops).

Few Glasgow dishes have a creation story, but Tikka masala, which is a dish popular throughout the UK, and invented in Glasgow, has a compelling tale. It’s said that on a typically cold, dark, and wet Glasgow evening a customer in the Shish Mahal restaurant (about 10 minutes’ walk from the Hilton Grosvenor) sent his chicken curry back to the kitchen, complaining it was dry. The chef, gaining inspiration from his father eating soup nearby, poured tomato soup into the curry, along with some spice, and then sent it back to his customer. The dish proved a hit, with the customer coming back again and again with friends, and it made its way onto the menu as Tikka masala. Legend also claims that Chasni curry was invented in the city, but we found this one abit harder to verify.

Hailing from the exposed, Atlantic island of Lewis, Stornoway black pudding has been described as “the best sausage made in the UK”. Made from pork blood, and Scottish oatmeal, it has a very savoury taste, and is filling. Black pudding often makes up a component of a Scottish cooked breakfast, but like haggis it can also be bought battered and fried from fish and chip shops throughout the city.

While white pudding can be harder to come by in Glasgow than some parts of Scotland (and will often be called “Mealy pudding”) it’s a great compliment to black pudding, and will often be available as part of a cooked breakfast. Unlike black pudding, it contains no blood, being made of pork, bread, and oatmeal.

The Bridie is a flaky pastry pie which was invented in the town of Forfar, close to the city of Dundee. It’s similar to a pasty, but is lighter thanks to the absence of potatoes in its recipe.

While the haggis is perhaps the most famous dish to originate in Scotland, perhaps the most infamous is the deep-fried Mars bar. The chocolate-and-nuggat bar (which has a different consistency in the UK to its US equivalent) is battered before being deep fried. The batter protects the chocolate, preventing it from disintegrating into the oil as it cooks: the Scottish answer to the Baked Alaska.

Cranachan (pronounced “Kran-ack-an”, or “Kran-ax-an”, with the “x” a chi, like in “LaTeX”) is a traditional desert made with fine oatmeal, whipped cream, honey, and raspberries.

Few food brands have greater prominence or cultural importance in Glasgow than Tunnocks whose teacakes rose to world prominence as a result of their choreographed dance routine in the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Teacakes are biscuits topped by expanded marshmallow, itself encased in chocolate, but the bakery is responsible for a number of other confectionary goods, including caramel wafers, and caramel logs.

The Clootie dumpling is another Scottish dessert, made with flour and breadcrumbs mixed with dried fruit, sugar, and suet. It’s quite dense, with some similarity to Christmas pudding.

Scotch Tablet may not have much in the way of healing properties, but its fudge-like taste, but grainier and brittle texture make this a uniquely Scottish sweet. Expect to find it available to buy in its own right in shops, but also as a component in other desserts, such as ice-cream.

The Scooby Snack, not to be confused with the favoured food of the cartoon investogators of mystery, is a burger which is believed to have been invented by a food seller at the cross-roads between Byres Road and Great Western Road in Glasgow, opposite the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel. Standing tall with a hamburger, sausage, bacon, a potato scone, fried egg, and a slice of cheese, this food is now a staple of late-night cusine throughout the city.

The buttery, which can also be found going by the name “rowie” is a savoury roll from the North-eastern city of Aberdeen, which was made for sailors. It contains a large amount of butter compared to most types of bread, which was added to prevent the rolls going stale at sea, and to provide large amounts of energy in the cold climate of the North Sea. They have a similar taste to a croissant, but are often saltier.

Now world famous, caramel shortbread is the development of a traditional Scottish biscuit (shortbread); the biscuit is topped with a layer of caramel and chocolate, with its richness leading to it being nicknamed “millionaire’s shortbread”. While available around the world, be sure to treat your sweet-tooth to some while you’re visiting its birthplace!

Returning to savoury food, the oatcake, usually served with cheese or smoked fish, is a traditional Scottish cracker. It’s often served with aperitifs and canapes.

If you need further information or assistance please contact us at