food in Ireland?

Jul 19th, 2007, 08:38 AM
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I've thought of that mom83. But last time I was there, this past March, I spend most of my time in Galway where there was a boil order.
CAPH52 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2007, 08:39 AM
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CAPH52 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2007, 09:19 AM
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Like most places, you have to try and sample what is characteristic of a particular region. Some have already been mentioned (such as the seafood on the west coast); I can add Galway oysters during the spectacular oyster festival. Nobody has mentioned the traditional Irish breakfast - the quality of pork is usually far better than our neighbours in the UK (with respect).

Look for 'Dubliner' cheddar cheese - a lovely, chalky and very digestable texture.

A favourite for returning Irish emigrants are crisps (chips) - Tayto and King are the main Irish manufacturers. Relatives visiting emigrants often bring some rashers (bacon), sausages, pudding, crisps as well as the Irish newspapers!

If you want more info on traditional Irish restaurants, you're most welcome to visit my website:


PS. The coffee is definitely improving but, in some places, has a long way to go!
pjdscott is offline  
Jul 19th, 2007, 09:41 AM
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I forgot to mention the crisps, Peter! What I love are all the great flavors we don't have here. I'm partial to the Watson's ones. But I have to admit I wasn't crazy about the chicken flavored ones I tried last time!

Two or three times on my last trip, my daughter and I took a bus or train first thing in the morning. Our breakfasts on those mornings consisted of sandwiches from Centra, crisps and a bottle of water. Not anyone's idea of a traditional breakfast! But I had bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches on whole grain bread and flavored crisps. And I look back on those breakfasts very fondly!
CAPH52 is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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the coffee wouldn't be good there, because they don't drink much of it.
they drink tea. you should go with their specialties, the seafood, the stews, the sandwiches. had some of the best japanese food at a noodle place in dublin! yamamori?

i dream of irish butter, brown bread, the breakfast, seafood chowder, the jacobs cream biscuits, kimberleys, and the crisps!!
otto is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 09:21 AM
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There may be some decent Irish food, but I never had any. I think it's just hotels and restaurants don't care over there, in theory it couldn't be as bad as they serve. Any city has good restaurants if you pay enough (and I'll bet they are ethnic in many cases).

As one example, the hotel I was staying at in Dublin served cut-up hot dog buns, slightly stale, as the bread with the breakfast.
Christina is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 09:35 AM
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Christina wrote: "There may be some decent Irish food, but I never had any."

I think you have been singularly unlucky. There is some poor Irish food, but I generally manage to avoid it.
Padraig is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 10:53 AM
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We went to Ireland for the first time in February. To be honest I thought that the food wouldn't be that good but I was very pleasantly surprised. I had some wonderful Guiness Stew and some very good cheeses. The best, though, was these incredible potato pancakes at a small restaurant in Kenmare. They were drizzled in this delicious garlic butter sauce and my mouth waters just thinking about them.

tcreath is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 10:54 AM
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Oh, and how can I forget the brown bread....heavenly!!
tcreath is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 07:12 PM
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Hobknobs are the BEST! I have been known to bring home a suitcase half full of packages of them and then hide them from my family. My first Hobknob was about five years ago in London and once you have had one there's going back. Oh Hetismij, you got my mouth watering just thinking of them. We are going to Ireland this summer, Hobknobs here I come...
hester is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 07:44 PM
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Another vote for the yummy brown bread and prawns.
coldwar27 is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 08:32 PM
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Hi Anchoress ... "Sister, I'm shocked!" (LOL) Your "feral cats wouldn't eat it" took me back more years than I care to remember, to an Irish Nun(Loreto Order) - Sister Faith.
We were a bunch of littlies (7, 8) at boarding school in Sydney & Sr. Faith used to tell us we were eating like a "bunch of feral cats" if our manners lagged!

They made the most wonderful bread/biscuit/slice as a breakfast bake. Try as we might, none of us could ever wheedle the recipe for "Loreto Brown Bread" out of any of our "nunnie-bunnies"! Any other Loreto girls out there? It was about 2" thick, luscious golden colour, biscuit type base with a softer top, smothered in butter, served warm ....
We probably did wolf it down like "a bunch of feral cats" !

If anyone has the recipe ....????

Irish Food - I was there for 3-4 months some years ago and must have been pretty fortunate. The only negative I can remember is that my then mother-in-law seemed to have an inordinate fondness for boiled gammon, and the beef was very expensive & not the best quality compared to Australian. We thought the pub food was usually good, and with one exception, all the restaurants we ate in were fine. There's nothing to compare with a good Irish potato and we mostly drank tea, because we like it and it was wonderful. I guess I would say that the food that we ate was perhaps less eclectic than we would eat here in Sydney, and more what one would expect in a colder climate with a strong AngloSaxon heritage. Simpler, a little blander & heavier, perhaps. We noticed that there didn't seem to be the emphasis on fresh salads & fruit that we have.

We stayed with friends & family for some of the time and went pretty much all over the South & West, staying in B & B's & pubs at other times, so our experience may be different to most tourists' because we were mostly with locals or going to places they'd recommended.

Coffee: We could have a thread just for that alone - we're all so precious about our individual coffee tastes these days (LOL)

It was a bit tricky to get what we liked in Ireland - but I find that in most places. I think we all get used to "our" coffee & find it a challenge to replicate that when we travel. I like the coffee in Italy, France & can usually find a good one in lots of cafes & bistros in any of the capital cities here in Australia, but had a real challenge in New York, which surprised me, given the Italian heritage of so many of the people in hospitality there. I thought an aquaintance in NY was joking when, in response to my enquiry as to my "Where can I get a proper coffee?", he pointed me to Starbucks! I was horrified ... sipped one once and for sure your feral cats would have given it a big miss too! I finally bought a coffee plunger & had a wonderful time sampling some truly delicious home-brewed coffees from specialist coffee suppliers. Never did find a really good coffee bar that I'd make my "local" in Manhattan,though.

Can't give any insights into a solution for your Canadian Sisters, I'm afraid. The only thing I can think is that perhaps they just don't have very broad palates and would find it difficult to get used to "other" foods whereever they go. I have a cousin like that. Drives me crazy whenever he's here - would eat baked lamb 7 days a week, provided it's cooked to a cinder & served with mashed potatoes, peas & gravy. Anything more exotic & heaven forbid,even the slightest hint of spice, is met with great suspicion & pushed around the plate He's here this weekend & I'm thinking of serving a good hot vindaloo ... or perhaps barbecued octopus (LOL)

Bokhara is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 08:11 AM
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The breads and so much is very good, but has anyone else found the eggs a bit strange? The yolk color seems a much lighter color yellow to me--I usually order them easy over. I know that sounds strange, but I'm not the only one who's made that comment. Guess I have to say the only thing I don't like there is the eggs!!! If they're scrambled it's much less noticeable. I know someone is going to tell me I'm nuts. Won't be the first time!!
Holldoll is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 08:40 AM
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The eggs are probably that funny colour because they come from hens that have had a normal diet with no dyes in it.
It's sad that nowadays people prefer things like eggs, kippers etc. with artificial colour.

This is from the Food Additives and Ingredients Association

"More subtly, consumers associate certain foods with a certain hue, preferring richer yellow butter and egg yolks, so butter and egg-yolk colour are sometimes enhanced. Recently, a supermarket chain banned the use of canthaxanthin (E161g) from its eggs. Canthaxanthin is a nature-identical yellow pigment, a carotenoid, which is sometimes added to the feed of hens. Since canthaxanthin is the pigment nature uses when she wants a yellow colour its addition in this way is not such a drastic step"
Josser is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 08:42 AM
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"We always celebrate whenever we find someplace with REAL coffee."

Bizarre, I'm not saying coffee in Ireland is good, but the US is world famous for its revolting coffee. "Sock juice" is what the French call it.
waring is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 09:15 AM
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Well then, I learned something here. I didn't know dye was added to our eggs, and I only commented on the different color which I guess as not being used to I didn't care for. I don't believe it's a matter of "preference," just different. Now that I know dye is added to eggs in the US, I'll look forward to eating the eggs in Ireland!!
Holldoll is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 09:46 AM
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Josser - I have hens and the natural, organic eggs I get from them have much stronger shells and the yold is a deep rich yellow. When you look at the store bought eggs compared to them, they look anemic. I know the factory raised hens are fed hormones so that is probably why the difference between them and my happy, healthy hens! :=)

And I love Polo's!!! When I fly back to California, my carryon is full of biscuits, brown bread and Cadbury's. The Cadbury's there tastes much better. I think we add soy when it is made here.

And tea in the U.S. - I never order it in restaurants because they don't boil the water!! They pull it from that spigot on the coffee maker and it just doesn't brew right.

Coffee in Ireland - I think it has improved a lot in the past couple of years. Especially in the little coffee houses. I love coffee with cream (real whipped cream on top!) Ymm. First time I ordered, I thought they meant regular cream and I said yes. Now I order it all the time. Of course, I always have to diet when I get back cuz I usually gain 5 to 8 lbs. while I am there. Ahhh..brown bread and soup! Ohhh I better stop..I am getting really hungry!
maureencol is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 10:28 AM
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I, too am one who never found much to like about the Irish food. Funny thing though, usually I am the one who likes everything and is the more adventurous eater. But in Ireland, my husband was doing fine and I was really struggling to find anything I could eat.

He is a meat and potatoes person and not very picky about what he eats. I like way more types of food than he does, but I cannot eat tough or well done beef, anything greasy like the full Irish breakfast or fish & chips that are so greasy they shine.

Probably my biggest problem was we were completely on the back roads and for the most part avoided the larger cities. We went into a few places that were just not clean enough for me. On one visit, the bartender in a small pub was also the guy who made sandwiches. He had brown fingernails and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. I said we had to leave and look elsewhere, husband would have been OK. I have never struggled so much as I did in Ireland for good food. I have been to 23 countries.
Parrothead is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 11:59 AM
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"Can't give any insights into a solution for your Canadian Sisters, I'm afraid. The only thing I can think is that perhaps they just don't have very broad palates and would find it difficult to get used to "other" foods whereever they go"
Actually it is the opposite. The lack of variety; the lack of the multi-cultural quality foods they have in Canada. Remember that living here full time is very different from coming on holiday and eating at hotels and restaurants.
The tourist industry here is highly competitive so most will be trying to please....Canada has wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, especially in winter, is limited. Maybe in Dublin this is different, but here in wild Donegal. All is mediocre and bland to palates used to high quality. Most of what you folk list as great food is luxury food. Thinsg we would never be able to afford.
Coffee is indeed improving; I had a great cappucino on my way home today in Ardara. We know the owner of the heritage centre cafe!
anchoress is offline  
Jul 21st, 2007, 05:07 PM
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Hi again Anchoress; I certainly noticed the cost & relative scarcity of the good quality meats & vegetables compared to what we buy easily & fairly cheaply here in Australian cities.
I thought that this may have improved as it's some time ago now that I was there, but it appears not to be the case.
Desperate for a change from the boiled gammon/ salted cod & potato stew & brimming with the enthusiasm of youth & thinking I'd cook dinner one day, I set off to the local butcher. Steak,mushrooms, some greens & oven roasted potatoes was my modest (I thought)goal. He nearly fell over when I asked for 6 pieces of rump steak, cut about 2" thick. It WAS the national debt and so was the green grocer's bill for things other than potatoes & onions. Couldn't get fresh mushrooms and ended up with some pretty wilted broccoli.

I was thinking about your post & realized that what you describe is also what we have in lots of the inland country towns here - vegetables & fruit in particular can easily be nearly twice the price of city prices, with quality well down, too. So too, the lack of variety in baked goods & almost any other commodity you can mention.

Ditto the chinese food - I've had some that could easily have featured feral cat as the main ingredient!

Could you ask your Canadian Sisters to bring some of their favourite recipes from their Convent with them? Perhaps they could bring some dried spices, herbs, flavourings with them, too.
It won't solve the baked goods issue, but you might be able to adapt some of their recipes to what's available locally.

At least the coffee's improving!
Bokhara is offline  

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