Belfast Telegraph

Chip shop from Northern Ireland teaching the Norwegians how to serve up the perfect fish supper

By David Young

It is one of the world's leading exporters of seafood - yet a chip shop from Northern Ireland has been teaching the Norwegians how to serve up the perfect fish supper.

Norway exports seafood to around 130 countries thanks to controlling some of the world's richest fishing grounds.

And it may sound a bit fishy, but the award-winning FishCity from landlocked Ballynahinch is passing on some of the tricks of its trade.

FishCity, Northern Ireland's Fish and Chip Shop of the Year, participated in a three-day expedition by 10 leading UK chippies as part of the selection process for the 2015 National Fish and Chip Awards.

Owner Grainne Lavery met top Norwegian chefs and taught them how to cook fish and chips the Ulster way in a bid to take our favourite dish to Norway.

The National Fish and Chip Awards recognise the best talent, quality and choice offered by fish and chip businesses across the UK. Grainne said: Norwegians don't eat the kind of fish and chips we do.

"They're very keen on salt cod, but our kind of cod in batter seems strange to them - but the people we cooked for really liked our Ulster cod."

She was very impressed by the way Norway harvests its fish stocks to the highest standards of sustainability, making sure that there is a reliable supply of cod for the fish suppers of the future.

And she revealed that FishCity was already on a roll, having been named this week as one of the three finalists in the UK's 2015 Healthy Eating Fish and Chips Awards.

"One of the reasons FishCity has won so many awards is because we focus strongly on healthy eating.

"Encouraging sustainable fisheries is very important to us, so that our children can enjoy a great traditional dish for generations to come."

The Norway visit was hosted by the Norwegian Seafood Council in association with Seafish, organisers of the UK's National Fish and Chip Awards.

Paul Williams, chief executive of Seafish, said: "Norway is one of the world's most sustainable fisheries. To witness its management efforts first-hand and learn about where our fish comes from is a great experience for the finalist shops."

The 10 regional winners of the Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Awards now face a grilling from industry and media judges in the judging for the UK awards ceremony in January.

And Grainne's confident FishCity will give her rivals a proper battering.

Factfile

• Norway exports seafood to more than 130 countries all over the world.

• The value of Norway's seafood export trade is in excess of £5.5bn.

• Klippfisk, or salt cod, was once one of its most important exports.

• Norway's Royal Palace in Oslo, opened in 1849, looks identical to Ulster's Stormont Parliament Buildings.

• Like the UK, Norway is a constitultional monarchy. The present King is Harald V.

Norway is home to the world's longest road tunnel, at Laerdal.

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