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
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.
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
is a thick fish soup made with haddock, potatoes and onions, and
originated in the North-east of Scotland.
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
sausage is a traditional Scottish breakfast food. It is almost
always square-shaped, and made with a mixture of pork and beef.
(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 &
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
(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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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