I run a fish & chip shop – this is what your order says about where you're from & how to cook the perfect fish | The Sun

NOTHING beats a visit to the chippy – the smell of salt and vinegar-soaked paper and the taste of crisp, perfectly cooked battered fish and chips.

Whether you're eating at home or on the beach, fish and chips have been a Brit favourite for generations.

But have you ever wondered what your go-to order says about you, and why pickled eggs are so popular?

Here, head fishmonger at Poppie's Fish and Chips in London, Salih, 78, reveals what he can tell about a person from their choice of fish, and the secret to getting the perfect chippy tea at home…

Getting battered

Unsurprisingly, the key ingredient to get right is of course the fish – and for Salih, it's vital they receive the freshest they can possibly source.

Salih says: "The day starts when we receive our fresh fish directly from Billingsgate Market at 6am.

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"Our fish is always fresh every day and we are one of the biggest buyers of fresh fish in London.

"We serve a very traditional fish and chip menu containing cod and haddock with chips, which are the biggest sellers.

"People love our mushy peas – and we also do pies, sausages, halibut, and of course we offer jellied eels."

Something fishy

While jellied eels are a typically East London dish, Salih says he can also usually tell what area in the UK someone is from, simply by their choice of fish.

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He says: "People in the north prefer haddock, whereas people in the south prefer cod….  And who can resist a hot chip in newspaper from the takeaway counter?

"In summer months we get more requests for grilled fish and salad than fried fish."

Chip off the block

It's a sad fact that, try as we might, it's very hard to create the same great taste of a chippy tea at home.

So what's the secret? Salih says: "Fresh ingredients, excellent suppliers, years of experience, a happy team and happier customers – East-end values!"

To try and achieve the perfect battered fish at home though, Salih advises: "Make sure your fish is fresh, batter not too thick and the cooking oil is hot.

"We use only the best vinegar, which is Sarson's, the best ketchup, which is Heinz, and the best brown sauce which is HP."

Egg-cellent choice?

While by far the most popular option and what they are known for, Poppie's, who have restaurants in Spitalfields, Soho and Camden, doesn't just serve fish.

While they serve almost all fresh fish options including skate, lemon sole, and even a seafood platter, there's one they don't serve, and that's oysters.

In terms of other popular options, they do a range of pies, and Salih says: "We also do pickled eggs – they are an East End tradition with fish and chips, and we sell about 10 a day!

"We also serve wallies – which is a gherkin, and a cup of tea with fish and chips is very popular too.

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"We get unusual requests all the time but they all vary, and we try to entertain every request. 

"A few Christmases ago for example we had great fun offering battered Quality Street!"

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