Ballymena chippie in running for Fish and chip shop of the year
There are tens of thousands of chippies in the UK, but today just one will be crowned the nation's top chip shop.
The winner has been chosen from a shortlist of ten around the country, drawn up by industry body Seafish.
TV chef Simon Rimmer, who appears on BBC Two's Something for the Weekend, will reveal the Fish and Chip Shop of the Year 2008 at a ceremony in central London.
The competition, in its 21st year, sees shop owners bid for the award to a panel of industry experts.
Those shortlisted are: Anstruther Fish Bar and Restaurant in Anstruther, Scotland; Finnegan's in Porthcawl, Wales; The Fish and Chicken Inn in Ballymena, Northern Ireland; Colman's of South Shields in Tyne and Wear; Thornton Fisheries in Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire; Merchant Fish Bar in Bewdley, Worcestershire; Petrou Brothers in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire; Scooby Snax in Colchester, Essex; The Plaice in Winchester, Hampshire and Daniels Fish and Chips in Weymouth, Dorset.
Facts about the popular dish
- According to the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF), fish and chips were developed separately; the French invented chips, while Charles Dickens referred to a "fried fish warehouse" in Oliver Twist.
- Existing chippies grew from snack stalls which sold the two foods separately in British towns in the 1850s. Both Lancashire and London claim that the dish was invented on their home turf.
- Fish and chips is the most popular hot takeaway in Britain, with 276 million meals eaten every year, industry body Seafish said. One in every £100 spent on food is in a fish and chip shop.
- The most fish and chips is eaten in Yorkshire, with 70 million meals sold per year. Despite their reputation for a love of deep-fried food the Scots eat the least, 13 million, according to Seafish.
- The top UK fish and chip shop for 2006, the Petrou Brothers in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, sells two tonnes of potatoes and 60 stones of fish every week.
- Each August, the small town of Barga in Tuscany hosts a fish and chips festival for 40,000 visitors
- The NFFF said the most portions ever sold in one day by an independent fish and chip shop was more than 4,000.