Friday, November 18, 2011

The Frying Scotsman

(Also read part 2 -- March 2012)

The Frying Scotsman is a fish and chips food cart located near the corner of SW 9th and Alder St. in downtown Portland, Oregon. For the past two years and counting, owner/chef James King (of Ayrshire, Scotland) has been preparing thousands of orders of this authentic British dish. The recipes at The Frying Scotsman have been passed down for at least two generations.

Menu (late October 2011)
I went with a regular order of cod fish and chips ($7.50): lightly battered pieces of cod (a white, flaky fish) are served with thick cut wedges of french fries (chips). The fish and chips come with a two small containers, one with his cole slaw and another with his house tartar sauce.

It looked like James fries the cod and the potatoes in the same fryer at the same time. While my fish and chips were frying, I saw James professionally slicing up some cabbage (for his house-made slaw) and potatoes.

After a few minutes, my order was ready:

Cod fish and chips (Frying Scotsman)

Cross-section of the cod
The cod was excellently prepared, cooked to perfection. It flaked very nicely (as it should) and I appreciated the light battering here so that the customer can enjoy the flavors of the fish -- instead of merely getting a thick layer of fried batter and/or bread crumbs. The fries/chips were also delicious, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. It was also not too greasy, which surprised me because it had just come straight out of the fryer no more than two minutes beforehand. A generous portion of fried food for $7.50!

James also has other fish that he can prepare for you, should you not be in the mood for cod. James carries haddock (a Scottish fish), halibut, red snapper, and mahimahi. All but the halibut will be $8 for the regular size; the halibut is sold at "market price."

And if you're in a real sinful sweet tooth mood, James will deep-fry a Mars bar for you ($3).

If anything, fried food's unhealthy traits are likely the only reason why I wouldn't come back as often. But if I'm in the mood for some fish and chips, this is a place to get my fix! Here's to hoping James continues to sell fish and chips in Portland for many more years to come!

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