The Best Irish Street Foods You Should Try

The Best Street Foods to try in Ireland

When giving tours, one of the most common question topics I get asked about is Irish food. Traditional Irish meals can be quite difficult to find for most people. So here, I wanted to go over a few popular meals that most locals will have when on the go, and where to find them.

Ireland doesn’t really have “street food” like you might find in other countries, but there are of course local equivalents. If you were to ask an Irish person about their country’s street food, you might find them struggle to answer. Here, I want to talk to you about some of the country’s favorite fast comfort food.

Irish Take on Street Food

Irish street food is typically made with fresh, local ingredients. While the climate of Ireland generally prohibits people from eating outside too much, there are plenty of options for people looking to eat traditional food on the go. Examples of this food include, chicken fillet rolls, spice bags and blaas.

When exploring Ireland, you will likely find yourself looking for places to eat, that are popular with the locals. Most visitors will try to find traditional restaurants or pubs, but these are not really the places where most locals, traditionally, eat out. Especially when on the go.

In this article, I want to go into detail on some of the most popular places where Irish people eat out. I will give you some of the best places to find the closest thing to traditional Irish street food that you are likely to get.

Having said that, more conventional forms of street food have started to get popular in the last few years. There are more and more food trucks every year on Irish streets and you will often find some amazing meals sold out of them. But, they are still a relatively recent addition to the Irish food scene.

Deli Counters

Deli counters can be found all over Ireland, in pretty much every community. You will find them in pretty much every supermarket, convenience store and petrol station. Though they may vary in quality from deli to deli, some of them will have great food for a very reasonable price.

There are certain chain stores that will usually have Deli counters in their locations. Each of these deli counters will offer certain pre-made food like sandwiches and salads, but there will also be a hot counter, where you will be able to get warm food.

There are plenty of companies that have these counters and there is usually too much on offer to go into detail here. Below is a list of some of the more popular companies that have these counters and links to their menus, to see what is on offer.

DunnesOpens in a new tab., SupervaluOpens in a new tab., Centra Opens in a new tab.and SparOpens in a new tab..

Breakfast Roll

The ever popular Irish comedian Pat Short sings about this traditional Irish dish…

The above song was number 1 on the Irish chart of best selling songs for 6 weeks. It was one of the most popular pieces of music in Ireland in the 2000s. It shows how popular this meal was for a long time and to a lot of people this meal represents the “Celtic Tiger” economic boom.

The meal itself consists of a bread roll, various toppings and hearty fillings. The bread is usually a demi-baguette or soft roll. Potential toppings include; butter, ketchup or brown sauce. With the fillings usually being some sort of combination of sausages, rashers, white/ black pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried egg and hash browns.

The meal became popular in the 1990’s with tradespeople and builders during the boom years of the Celtic Tiger. The increase in construction necessitated a high-calorie meal that could be eaten on the go.

Chicken Fillet Roll

Chicken Fillet Rolls are one of the most popular meals eaten in Ireland. They are especially popular among students and/ or people who were drinking the night before. There are plenty of potential combinations for this food, but the main aspects are the demi-baguette and a breaded fillet of chicken.

This meal is very cheap in most deli counters and there are often heated debates about which establishments provide the best ones. Most people choose to have their chicken spicy, but there are plain options also.

While many establishments have raised the prices of chicken fillet rolls in the last couple of years, you should still be able to find them on sale for less than €5.

Blaa

The Blaa is a popular food from the city of Waterford on the south coast of Ireland. In fact, you can only really get authentic blaas from here. The roll is made from soft bread and is usually filled with cuts of bacon and/ or sausages, among other tasty fillings. This is particularly popular in the morning.

There is obviously a lot to talk about when it comes to this local delicacy, far too much for me to go into here. A local bakery in Waterford has gone into plenty of detail on this subject.Opens in a new tab.

Takeaways

Takeaways are popular fast food shops or restaurants in both Ireland and Britain. These are places where you can order hot food to eat somewhere else. Usually, this food will be more affordable and is particularly popular in the evenings and after nights out.

This is a topic that people can get very heated about, so I don’t want to make it seem as though the places I mention here are the definitive best. I just want to give the reader some of my general advice on this sort of traditional fast food.

Fish and Chip Shops (Chippers)

Usually called “Chippers” in Ireland, fish and chip shops are where you can traditionally find this staple meal. Most visitors to Ireland will look for it in restaurants and pubs, but that’s not how its historically eaten.

As an island nation, Ireland has a long history of seafoodOpens in a new tab., you will probably want to try some while you’re here. As a formerly devout catholic nation, the Irish people would also usually not eat meat on a Friday. This meant that fish and chips often became a weekly treat for most families in the country.

Going to these chip shops is still popular among people who don’t eat much fish. If you can’t eat a full to go meal with fish, traditionally battered and deep-fried cod, then just order the chips. Make sure to order a single portion of chips and get plenty of salt and vinegar!

Sausage Rolls

If you are looking for something other than fish to have with your chips, then look no further. A sausage roll is exactly what its name suggests; a sausage wrapped in batter and deep-fried. This is not a food item for people on a diet!

These glorious food items can be found in almost any Takeaway in the country and are well worth getting, if you either don’t like fish or don’t think you could finish a whole portion.

Chinese Takeaways

Xi’an is one of the best places to eat in Dublin…

Another staple in recent Irish food culture is Chinese Takeaways! If you are looking for traditional cuisine from China, then you will be out of luck in most of these spots, they tend to offer simpler meals that appeal more to locals.

Some of these takeaways might only really offer food that is a little more basic, simple and easy. But, there are certain establishments that offer really good quality food at a reasonable price. I have made sure to mark them on the map above.

Spicebag

One of the most popular menu items on Irish takeaway menus in recent years is definitely the humble spicebag. This is a cheap and cheerful meal that seemingly came out of nowhere. They contain chips, chicken, some vegetables and chili powder.

If you want to learn more about this recent addition to Irish cuisine, then please refer to this excellent documentary on the subject below:

The Spicebag has been around for less than 15 years, but it has taken over Ireland….

Pizza

If you want to find something a little more familiar, there are plenty of options for you. Pizzas sold in places like Dublin, will often use locally sourced ingredients and can be a great quick meal to eat if you are on the go and want something warm and comforting.

In Dublin there are some great new establishments that sell pizza by the slice. This is our attempt at creating New York style pizza. Places like Di Fontanes and Bambino are particularly popular.

Deserts

Who doesn’t like to indulge their sweet-tooth, especially when travelling. There are so many different places to get great, sweet treats all over Ireland. These are just some of the more popular types of deserts you can find when visiting the country.

Ice-cream in Ireland

If you come to Ireland in the summer, you have to try a 99. This is a soft-serve vanilla ice cream in a cone. Usually, it will be served with a piece of flake chocolate and some toppings, there will be plenty to choose from.

While the 99 is by far the most established type of ice cream served in Ireland, many new places have started to open up in the last decade or so, offering alternatives.

Gelato stores have slowly but surely crept into Irish streets. In these establishments, you will be able to find excellent deserts, served with Irish ingredients and will have plenty of options for toppings. Many of these shops will also sell other deserts like waffles or crepes.

If you want a uniquely Irish ice cream experience, then you should head to Murphy’s. This is a chain of ice cream stores all around the country that offer unique flavors like sea salt and butterscotch. These stores can be found in most cities in Ireland and will have a friendly and vibrant atmosphere inside.

Donuts

For about the last decade, donut shops have been popular all throughout Ireland. While donuts are not as popular as they were a few years ago, you will still find plenty of shops all around the country offering unique and delicious deserts.

Many of these places are new and offer interesting flavors like red velvet or caramel. In these donut shops, you will usually also be able to get coffee or tea.

The American brand “Krispy Kreme” has at long last come to Ireland to take advantage of this trend. In the last 4-5 years, they have set up plenty of shops, mainly in city centers and are very popular with the locals.

If you want to find something a little more traditional, then you should head to somewhere like the Rolling Donut kiosk on O’Connell Street in Dublin. This tiny place has been here forever and offers more traditional donuts than what you will find in many of the newer stores.

Bakeries

Traditional bakeries can still be found all over Ireland. While they may not be as popular as the once where, there are still many great places where you can go to get tea and something sweet.

If you are just looking for a pastry to go, then you will find places like Anne’s Bakery in Dublin. This has been a popular spot for decades. Inside, you will find plenty of freshly made eclairs and other things to satisfy that sweet tooth!

I should also definitely mention Bewley’s, the most famous teahouse in Dublin. This has been one of the most popular establishments in the city for well over a century. Plenty of locals go there to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city center.

Inside, you will find an excellent menu with freshly made food that of course has a great desert section. I highly recommend checking this place out.

Jack

Jack Redmond has been a tour guide in Ireland for the past decade. Having received a national guiding qualification, he has brought thousands of travelers all over the island of Ireland.

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