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Should the "fish" in "fish and chips" be crispy?

Hello all,

Forgive me for asking such an ignorant question, but today I went with my family to an English pub restaurant (the Whale and Ale in San Pedro, for any locals who are curious) for an early Father's Day lunch.

My mother ordered their fish 'n' chips, and when the plate arrived, the fish part was soft and, dare I say (because I didn't actually touch or taste it), soggy. I was surprised; while I've never personally had this dish before, I could've sworn I've seen it in some form or another (whether on tv or as ordered by a dining companion at some point), and I thought it was supposed to be crispy, as most battered food items are.

Am I wrong? My mother said the flavor was good, but I was so mystified by the utterly soft, soggy-looking texture. She had to use a fork and knife to cut it into pieces, and it just looked... kinda wet.

Is this how it should be, or did we seriously get a crappily prepared hunk of fish??

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  1. I like my fish and chips where the batter on the fish is crispy but where the fish beneath is moist and soft.

    1. If it was soggy, that probably means it got cooked and then sat around. If my fish n chips fish doesn't crunch, I'm not happy.

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      1. re: escondido123

        I'm with you. I don't often send food back to the kitchen, but soggy batter on my fish & chips would go back.

      2. YES, YES, YES it should be crispy and delivered from fryer to table immediately. I even apply the malt vinegar a little at a time before every bite instead of applying all at once so it doesn't have a chance to sog the whole fillet. I want to burn my lips on the first bite.

        1. the fish and the chips should both be piping hot, fresh from the fryer, and crispy to the max.

          1 Reply
          1. re: linguafood

            +1 I remember when in the UK they'd serve fish 'n chips as street food rolled up in a newspaper cone. Very crispy batter, tender cod.

          2. Mmmm...great fish and chips should ALWAYS be crispy, IMO. I've noticed a lot of variation here in the Bay Area. Sometime crispy, but often soggy like you describe. A friend told me the soogy type is battered, while the crispy type is breaded, before frying. I don't know if that's true, but battered fish does seem soggy a lot of the time.

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