If you order toast in Ireland, it comes with a side of brown bread. Not really, but almost. Also with that meal I had my first Club Orange, an Irish orange soda that I became very fond of.
The Irish breakfast is also a thing of beauty, and I had my first at Galway Bakery Company in Galway the day we arrived there. I had been on a crowded, slow bus all day, and I was kind of hangry when we arrived.
The restaurant was warm and inviting, and that breakfast was exactly what I needed. It consisted of two poached eggs, bacon, a round slice of black pudding (blood sausage), a round of white pudding (like the black pudding, but without the blood), and the ever-present brown bread and tea. It was wonderful.
On a side note, warm tea with milk and sugar is just about the only thing that can entice a group of students used to Mississippi weather out of bed on a chilly Galway morning.
Another Irish dish I enjoyed was fish and chips (fries). I had this for the first time at McDonaugh’s in Galway. Both the fish and the chips were fried perfectly and not greasy. The chips were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Chips were also ubiquitous in Ireland, served with a variety of toppings including garlic mayonnaise and curry sauce. Some of the best chips I had came from a fast food restaurant called Supermac’s, which can be found throughout the country.
One of my favorite foods in Ireland, and possibly what I miss the most now that I’m home, isn’t actually Irish. Scattered throughout any given Irish city are a handful of kebab shops run by Turkish immigrants.
There is something absolutely magical about kebab, seasoned ground lamb rotating on a vertical spit. When you order, they slice some of the meat off, put it on flatbread and dress it with garlic sauce, sweet chili sauce and various vegetables. It is wonderful.
Finally, I am ashamed to admit that I tried Guinness in Dublin, and I didn’t like it. It is literally the most confusing thing that I have ever tasted. No matter how hard I tried, I could not make myself enjoy it. What a shame.
Bulmer’s cider, on the other hand, is a wonderful beverage. I became fond of it late in the trip, and enjoyed it at many of Dublin’s pubs. I can also say that after three pints of it, walking becomes a little more difficult.
No traveler to Ireland should worry about the quality of food there. There is variety, and everything is usually very well prepared. Visit the country and see for yourself.