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Chip, chip HOORAY; Celebrating Britain's favourite takeaway food.

Byline: Grace Macaskill

THERE'S nothing batter to whet the appetite than a plate of good old fish and chips.

Our great national dish was introduced to Britain during the 17th century by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain, and has been a firm favourite ever since.

In fact it is so popular that every year thousands of fish and chip shops compete for the title of the number one takeaway.

A sort of fry-off rather than bake-off, the National Fish and Chip COD'S GIFT: Bonny Awards are the Oscars of the industry. This year's winner was family-run Simpsons in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, which had twice finished second in previous years.

Judges hailed Simpsons - owned by Bonny and James Ritchie - for "pushing the boundaries" of traditional chippies with innovative ideas. They included gluten-free frying days and printing a book to help young diners understand fish species and sourcing.

In celebration of our national treasure we pay homage to some of the more unique fish and chip shops around.

MOST NORTHERLY

A REMOTE shack in the Shetlands scooped last year's National Fish and Chip Award.

Frankie's in the village of Brae was given the title on manager John Gold's birthday.

The chippy also picked up the sustainability award.

The shop runs fish courses for schoolchildren, introducing them to different species such as haddock, cod and monkfish.

MOST REMOTE

THERE'S virtually nowhere in the UK that you can't buy fish and chips - and the most remote chippy is found in the Isles of Scilly off the Cornish peninsula.

But you need to hop on a ferry or plane for a takeaway at Adams Fish and Chips in St Martin's.

Reviews say it's well worth the journey, serving locally-caught fish and chips from spuds grown by the family. You also get Cornish pasties, lobster salad and, sometimes, freshly-battered king scallops.

BIGGEST

THE daddy of all fish and chip shops is aptly-named Papa's, a 280-seat restaurant and museum dedicated to the dish at Willerby near Hull.

With a separate takeaway, the world's biggest chippy is the flagship venue in Papa's nationwide chain of 15 restaurants.

It sells Hull's famous patties - savoury deep fried mash and sage.

SUSTAINABLE HERO

A PLYMOUTH chip shop holds the world record for serving up the most sustainable choices.

Kingfisher launched a menu featuring 12 Marine Stewardship Council certified species including Jersey lobster and cod and haddock from the Arctic.

They took the title from Olley's Fish Experience in London's Herne Hill, with eight species.

SMALLEST

THE chippy at Fort Augustus, on the shores of Loch Ness between Fort William and Inverness, is said to be the tiniest.

A monster hit, the canalside chip shop is not much bigger than a family garage but serves thousands of tourists each year.

Its white fish is supplied by a firm called Blydoit - which in Shetland means "glad of it". And it seems fans certainly are.

MOST EXPENSIVE

WE'VE all heard of posh fish and chips, but what about shelling out PS304 for a supper? Michelin-starred chef Simon Haigh created his own version of the dish, using two layers of sustainablysourced Dover sole with shavings of black truffle.

The sole was topped with a vintage champagne crispy batter and served with Maris Piper chips and pea puree.

Simon (right) cut his teeth working with Raymond Blanc and created the dish for chip week two years ago.

OLDEST

THE longest-running chip shop in Britain dates all the way back to 1865.

The national dish has been a hit with generations of locals in Yeadon, Leeds.

And its trading name? Quite simply, it's The Oldest Fish & Chip Shop in the World.

FINE DINING

UPTON Chippie is open for just six hours a week but still made it into the Good Food Guide.

The fryer, in Gainsborough, Lincs, was rated alongside some of the best restaurants in the country.

It uses a coal-fired range dating back to the 1940s and a 66-year-old batter recipe for fish and chips costing around PS2.50 a portion.

THE national dish gets a mention in Charles Dickens' 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities. He wrote: "Husky chips of potatoes, fried with some reluctant drops of oil." At that time they were sold by traders on London streets of London.

2 FISH and chips were first served together at takeaways in 1860 but there's some controversy about who came up with the idea first - the Malins of London or the Lees of Mossley, Manchester.

3 BRITS spend PS1.2billion on fish and chips every year, eating 382 million portions. That's six servings annually for every man, woman and child.

4 FASTEST chip ever cooked took less than four minutes. Friers at Henley's in Wivenhoe, Essex, peeled, chipped and cooked a raw potato in just 222 seconds.

5 MARINI'S in Glasgow holds the record number of fish and chip portions sold in a day - 12,046, or 8.5 a minute.

6 THE longest-serving fish and chip fryer is believed to be Bettina Dawson, of Moffat Chippy in the Borders. She started the family business aged 13 in 1936 and spent 76 years at the range. She died in April 2014.

TUCK IN: 1930s 7 THE average portion of fish and chips contains almost three times less fat than an equivalent portion of chicken tikka masala and pilau rice.

8 IN 1906 Theodore Clegg opened a 70-seater fish restaurant in Fleetwood, Lancs, and divided customers into three classes according to appearance and social status.

9 STEPH Celik wrapped a record five portions of chips in 58 seconds at the Blue Whale in Maltby, South Yorks.

10FISH and chips were not rationed in the Second World War as Churchill believed they lifted morale.

CAPTION(S):

COD'S GIFT: Bonny and James

TUCK IN: 1930s London
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 31, 2016
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