Now we don’t know about the majority of you folks out there, but Fish and Chips have always held an extremely special place in our hearts. Right from when I was a kid myself, hot, deep-fried, crispy, flakey fish accompanied by a mountain of crunchy chips and ramekins of tartare sauce and ketchup was my ambrosia; Swensen’s and Jack’s Place had so much money out of my parents all those years. Even now, my nephews and nieces still enjoy peeling off the crunchy, fried batter and leaving a good half of the fish on the plates for their parents to grudgingly finish.
A crowd pleaser the world over, it should come as no surprise that this delectably fried delight has days and events held in its honor. This said, we’d like to point out that the Irish Traditional Italian Chippers Association (ITICA) has held their seventh annual National Fish and Chip Day on 25 May, with almost 200 ‘chippers’ – as any outlet with fish and chips on their menu are affectionately referred to – across Ireland selling their dishes at half price. That’s right. Half. Price. Likewise, in the entirety of the United Kingdom, the other National Fish and Chip Day held by the National Edible Oil Distributors Association (NEODA) will run for its second year on 3 June, and will be distributing marketing kits to lucky chippers.
With all the hubbub going about around Fish and Chips, we decided to do a bit of delving into our local Fish and Chip scene to see if we can find some especially note-worthy, affordable ‘chippers’ of our own. Aside from the two already mentioned above, and the slew of uncles and aunties mispronouncing their dishes in hawker centers, food courts and coffee shops all across the island, we’ve sniffed out two very honourable mentions which we think do great justice to the humble dish known as fish and chips.
First off, breaded and battered are not interchangeable words. Breaded fish involves first rolling the fish in flour, then dunking it in an egg wash before finally smothering the result in a layer of bread crumbs prior to a bath of hot oil. This produces the crumbly crust we commonly see in Western diners such as Swensen’s. Battered fish however, is when you dunk the whole fillet into… well… batter and then fry the results immediately, creating a crunchy shell. Bearing this in mind, let’s move on to the chippers.
For us, these guys are one of those ‘often-seen, never-tried’ food places we are all guilty of abusing. In all my years of pigging out in the food market, I have always told myself that it looked like a pretty good outfit with decent business because we tend to see those seats filled during peak meal periods. In light of Fish and Chip Day, I finally went ahead and tried them for myself.
The main thing I loved was the store itself; the unassuming grill and a surrounding counter with short seats just felt so free of the common pretentiousness of always having to sit down at a proper table and be all well-behaved. At Fisherios, diners are able to choose from a number of different fish platters, and are offered the choice of having either breaded or battered fish.
When my meal was served, the crisp crunch my knife made each time it kissed the fish made good on the promise that this was well fried fish. With each slice, clean breaks in the crust combined the perfect amount of crumb and fish with every bite. This was a thin layer of fish fillet, identical to what we used to get in western joints we frequented. The biggest difference was that the crust was definitely more satisfying.
Moving on, a plate of Fish and Chips is never complete without the latter. Chips are commonly referred to as such by the British due to the fact that they are thicker and denser than American French fries, and are chock full of solid spud instead of the fluffy fries we usually get. However, the condiments for this dish were a little lackluster; with common chili sauce, ketchup and a thin excuse for tartar sauce, a full creamy dip to go along with your meal is out of the question.
Overall though, if you happen to already be at Takashimaya and have a sudden overwhelming urge for crispy fish, Fisherios is a pretty good bet to get your fix at.
Molly Malone’s Irish Pub
With novelty of eating at a counter, likewise, having our fish and chips at a pub was really fun. Seeing as most of their patrons were either British or Caucasian, it also counts for a fair bit towards the popularity of this little corner taproom which was decently filled at 11.30am on a weekend.
When my dish was served, I was delighted to find that the batter made the most wonderful crackling all through the meal; not one bit of the entire plate of battered fish became soggy through the meal, and the fish was wondrously thick and moist under all that crunchy batter. Molly Malone’s serve a thick slab of fish, unlike the thin fillets available at other Western eateries as mentioned above. Likewise, their chips were extremely thick, fluffy and crisp, and crunched with each bite, giving way to a puffy pillow of potato within.
To their credit, the tartar sauce served was creamy and slightly tangy, which went perfectly with the fish. Keeping to their British roots, diners can also ask for malt vinegar and HP sauce (an acronym for House of Parliament; and yes, it’s an actual sauce) to go along with your meal.
Born in Ireland and transported piece by piece to Singapore in 1995, Molly Malone’s Irish Pub is host to one of the most authentic Fish and Chip experience we can find in Singapore. However, diners be warned: you may never quite enjoy your coffee shop’s version after you try Molly Malone’s.
56 Circular Road
(at the corner of North Canal Road and Circular Road)
Mon – Wed : 11am–1am
Thu : 11am-2am
Fri : 11am-3am
Sat : 12pm–2am
Sun : Closed
(except for special occasions and private events)
As mid-2016 steadily approaches, chin up, take a well deserved break, and then sit tight as we hit the roller-coaster drop to 2017. The year’s almost half gone, but here’s hoping the second half will be a sweet ride. Stay tuned for next week’s edition of Quirky Holidays!