Seafood markets from London to the San Francisco Bay Area would be wise to mark June 2nd on their calendars. It just so happens to be Fish and Chip Day. And while some recently coined “holidays” seem downright bizarre (May 29th is Put a Pillow on Your Fridge Day, no joke) Fish and Chip Day is rooted in history, and its appeal is recognized across the globe. The meal of fish and chips dates back to the late 1800s, when trawl fishing became a major part of the industry in the North Sea, off England’s east coast. Trawl fishermen were able to bring a steady supply of fresh fish further inland. Cities that suffered a limited supply of seafood before sprouted bustling fish markets. Along with the easy availability of fresh fish, came affordable prices to the working class.
The practice of frying fish coated in flour or batter was first brought to England by Western Sephardic Jews in the 17th century, according to experts. It’s believed deep fried potatoes or “chips” gained popularity at around the same time. The Oxford English Dictionary records the first use of chips in literature was in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, published in 1859.
By 1900 vendors serving fish and chips on the streets or in small shops had spread all across England. They quickly gained a reputation for hearty, delicious food, and a nickname: Chippers. It was only a matter of time before a fillet of sizzling, fried white fish next to a pile of crispy potato wedges became a favorite meal in Ireland, Canada, India, parts of Europe, and, of course, the United States.
Here in the San Francisco Bay Area you can find top restaurants and greasy spoons alike serving a version of fish and chips. It’s a menu must-have. But it’s also a meal many enjoy whipping up themselves, at home. Be sure to let your customers know about Fish and Chip Day this year, and place your white fish varieties, from cod to tilapia prominently. For customers who want to join the celebration but aren’t that confident in the kitchen, here are a few tips to share with them.
Secrets to Delicious Fish and Chips
June 2nd is only the second Fish and Chip Day to be celebrated worldwide, after officially kicking off last year.Make note that the date may change in the future. Fish and Chip Day falls on the first Friday in June each year.