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11 attempts to explain bizarre Irish foods to people abroad

A guide.

HOLDING UP A picture of a beloved Irish meal and giving out that you can’t get it abroad is a rite of passage for any emigrant.

Some delicacies are harder to explain than others – so here’s a guide to the worst offenders:

1. “Right, so, it’s luncheon meat – probably ham – that has a cartoon face on each slice. The face has an evil smile too, and it’s popular with kids”

Their response: “That is demented, there’s something wrong with all of you.”

2. “So it’s kind of like a normal burger, but with loads of sh*t added and a crumby coating that’s then deep fried. We call them spice burgers”

Their response: “Eh, OK.”

3. “These aren’t bread rolls. They’re called ‘blaas’ and can only be made in a specific county called Waterford. Never get this wrong if you’re in Ireland because it might cause a diplomatic incident”

Their response: “They really look like normal bread rolls.”

4. “You get a couple of slices of bread and whack a load of cheese & onion crisps in there. It’s considered one of Ireland’s finest culinary achievements”

Their response: “You guys need to set the bar higher for food innovation.”

5. “This might look like pancakes but you’re very much mistaken. It’s bread made using grated raw potatoes and flour. Here’s a sick bag because of that description, but it’s actually pretty nice”

Their response: “Leave the sick bag with me from now on.”

6. “This is a relatively new thing called the ‘spice bag’. It might look simple but it’s anything but. Loads of chips, crispy chicken and a *mysterious* blend of spices, that I can’t do justice to with mere words.”

Their response: “You sound like you’re describing a religious experience. It’s just a big bag of fries.”

7. “Sure, you know about both bacon and cabbage. But have you ever had them together with a load of white sauce?”

Their response: “What the f**k is white sauce? Looks disgusting”

8. “You boil up sausage, bacon and any veg you can find lying around the gaff in a big pot and serve it.”

Their response: “What’s a gaff?”

9. “Chinese takeaways put rice, chips, curry sauce and chicken balls in one container and we call it a 4-in-1. Hark at its elegance”

Their response: “That looks like a mess”

10. “The ‘curry cheese chip’ is essentially the same idea, but with grated cheese thrown on top”

Their response: “I need that sick bag again.”

11. “Finally, take a look at the best hangover cure known to man. It’s called the ‘jambon’ – but it’s not French. It’s ham, cheese and pastry, and the best place to get them is in a grim deli, heated under lights.”

Their response: “Thank you for this education. I’m eating exclusively in McDonald’s if I ever visit Ireland.”

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About the author:

David Elkin

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