Irish food is underrated. Most think of fish and chips, potatoes or hardy soda bread when the Emerald Isle’s cuisine comes to mind. While those are delicious, Éire is also a county of fresh seafood, farm to table fare, and artisan sweets.
While I explored Ireland, I sampled some of their best regional eats and they were delicious!
Here are 5 local foods to try in Ireland!
Tayto Original Irish Crisp
Potato chips are called crisps in Ireland. Tayto is THE brand and has been a staple in pantries across the country since 1954. The original flavor is cheese and onion. They don’t produce a plain version. Other choices include prawn cocktail and smokey bacon, with limited editions of roasted chicken and pickled onion, to name a few.
Being a self professed potato chip junkie, I’ve tasted different kinds of the savory snack around the world. Tayto is definitely one of the best. They’re light and have the right amount of salt.
If you can’t wait until you visit Ireland to try the popular snack, they’re available to order here: https://amzn.to/3k8Aw6s.
Quinland’s Portmagee Crab Claws
I still dream of these sizzling crustaceans tossed in garlic butter and served with crunchy sourdough bread. They’re fished in County Kerry’s village of Portmagee off the southwest coast of Ireland. Their motto is “from tide to table.”
Papa Quinland started the business 60 years ago. His sons now run the show. They are maintaining the same freshness and sustainability.
There are six Quinland Seafood Bars in the Republic of Ireland. They serve whatever has been caught; squid, salmon, prawns, hake. But I highly recommend the crab claws.
Murphy’s Brown Bread Ice Cream
The most common bread in Ireland paired with cream from Kerry cows culminates is this super yummy ice cream. Add a bit of brown and white sugar, eggs, vanilla and the sweetness is perfection.
Sean and Kieran Murphy are the creators of this dessert and make other flavors at their Dingle creamery. They claim there’s no real trick to their ice cream, just the use of the best local ingredients.
Brown bread is the most popular. But, other flavors such as the blend of Dingle gin and pink peppercorn sparks customers’ curiosity, leading them to order a scoop. I tried two — Dingle sea salt and the best seller brown bread. Loved them both!
The Irish can work miracles with a potato, and the boxty is one example. These are traditional potato pancakes. Yet, they look and taste different. Only four ingredients —usually raw and mashed potatoes, milk, flour and salt — are combined and cooked in a pan or griddle with butter, lard or bacon grease.
Gallagher Boxty House restaurant in Dublin serves the carbo laden dish many ways. There’s corn beef boxty dumplings; Gaelic boxty with beef, Irish whiskey and mushroom sauce; baked salmon boxty; even a vegetarian and chili boxty. I tried the latter. The pancake was refreshingly thin, focusing more on the filling.
There are recipes for this Irish food on the internet for you to make at home. They are easy to make and render a unique addition to your breakfast menu.
Lily O’Brien Chocolate
Not all chocolate is created equal. This confection made in the small town of Newbridge, County Kildare is proof of that. While on holiday in South Africa, founder Mary Ann O’Brien met a girl who was making amazing truffles. Fascinated by the incredible taste, O’Brien spent two weeks with the woman in the hotel kitchen learning everything that went into the chocolate.
Fast forward 20 years and Lily O’Brien — named after the owner’s daughter — is contracted with Aer Lingus to supply two million candies to their passengers.
Everything is still made in Newbridge, and sourced from Irish companies. I first tasted the melt in your mouth delights when staying at a hotel in Cork. Resisting the urge to pack an entire suitcase full of the goodies, I found they are available to order online. Here is the link to buy their delicious honeycomb hearts: https://amzn.to/3WZDHeZ.
Should you have the chance, taste everything on this list. Some Irish food you can order to try at home. Others you’ll have to wait until your trip to Ireland, which I hope is soon!