The best local dishes from Dublin range from hearty Irish stews to big, calorie-rich breakfasts and juicy, stout-infused pies. The Irish capital offers a good variety of tasty traditional meals and a few authentic treats that are must-tries for any new visitor.

    The best place to enjoy these homey classics is at one of the city’s ubiquitous Irish pubs. They specialize in serving filling local fare at reasonable prices. That way, you get to experience Dublin’s world-renowned pub culture and munch on top-notch fare. Here is a list of the famous food locals love to eat in Dublin.

    1

    Irish Breakfast

    You won’t need lunch after this massive morning meal

    A big Irish breakfast is a perfect way to kickstart the day, especially if you blew the froth off a couple of pints the night before. This hearty, hangover favorite consists of eggs, potatos, bacon, sausage, tomato, and black and white pudding. All this comes fried in generous globs of creamy butter – it’s sure to cure what ails you.

    Most restaurants serve boxty pancakes or brown bread alongside to mop up the ingredients. To wash down your calorie-laden feast, you’ll get a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a hot cup of coffee or tea. The humongous meal was initially intended to provide sustenance for farmers ahead of a long, labour-intensive day.

    2

    Colcannon

    An Irish-style mash potato dish that’s a hit on Saint Patrick’s Day

    Colcannon is the Irish interpretation of the classic working-class dish, bubble and squeak. The local rendition includes mashed potatos, cabbage, onions, and kale, blended with a solid squirt of milk and cream. Many Irish chefs dig a depression in the middle and pour a knob of melted butter into it.

    The dish is particularly popular on St Patrick’s Day as a way to line the stomach before a heavy session – also, the bright green kale enhances the celebratory theme. Colcannon was originally intended to use up yesterday’s leftovers.

    3

    Roast gammon

    A cured pork dish served that's popular in winter

    Roast gammon is a popular winter dish enjoyed throughout Ireland, and the juicy, slow-cooked delicacy is especially prevalent in Dublin. Similar to ham, gammon is a chunk of cured (either dry-salted or brined) pork. However, the meat must come from the hind leg to classify.

    Grocery stores start stocking ready-to-cook gammons in the lead-up to Christmas. Many local families glaze the leg in honey and mustard, a time-consuming process that adds a distinct flavor. You'll find many local Dublin pubs serving gammon throughout the year.

    4

    Irish stew

    A hearty and historic national stew

    Irish stew is a classic national dish that dates back to the early 19th century. Food was scarce in those days, so common folk would cook up a big hearty stew using whatever leftover ingredients they could muster.

    The original Irish stew consisted of mutton, potatos, onions, and barley. Lamb and root vegetables like turnips, carrots, and parsnips were added into the mix later. Nowadays, herbs such as parsley and thyme get thrown into the stock to add extra oomph. Some modern variations even include big chunks of beef, cooked bone-in over an open fire for several hours until it’s nice and tender.

    5

    Seafood chowder

    A traditional seafood-based soup

    Seafood chowder is a delicious Irish dish made from smoked salmon, prawns, haddock, cod, white fish or shellfish (or a combination of either). The seafood assortment is then cooked in a creamy, cream-infused soup along with vegetables like potatos, corn, carrots, celery, and onion. A garnish of fresh parsley gets sprinkled on top.

    Seafood chowder, originally a French dish, can consist of a wide variety of fresh seafood and shellfish. You'll find it on the menu of many restaurants in Dublin, usually accompanied by soda bread. 

    6

    Beef and Guinness pie

    An oven-baked pie full of beef, veggies, and ale

    Beef and Guinness pie takes all the ingredients of the classic beef and Guinness stew, then slow-bakes them inside a pastry. The filling dish traditionally consists of chopped meat, onion, celery, carrots, redcurrant jelly, stock, and, of course, Guinness. Some reiterations include mustard powder, bay leaves, or thyme for extra interest.

    The hearty meal is popular on cold winter days and best enjoyed with a pint of Guinness (obviously). Upon biting through its golden-brown crust, you’ll see how the Irish dry stout infuses its flavor into the rest of the dish. If there’s any leftover gravy, the chef will serve it in a pitcher on the side for you to drizzle all over the pastry lid.

    7

    Boxty

    A filling potato-based pancake served with a variety of condiments

    Boxty is a traditional potato pancake-style delicacy hailing from the midland counties of Ireland. The dish consists of finely grated and mashed potatos, pan-fried with buttermilk, eggs, and flour. Some establishments serve melted butter, honey, sausage or bacon on top. Others use it to wrap up meat (including corned beef) and vegetables, much like you would with a tortilla.

    Boxty is often included in a decadent full Irish breakfast or served as a carb-rich side dish to accompany a bigger meal. Nonetheless, it’s entirely possible – and relatively common – to order this tasty potato pancake on its own.

    8

    Dublin coddle

    A meaty stew best consumed on cold afternoons

    A quintessential Dublin delicacy, coddle is a hearty meat stew that goes down a treat with a pint or 2. The filling cold-weather dish consists of sausages, bacon, sliced onion, and chunky potatos, all boiled together in a closed lid-pot to create a nice steamy broth. Parsley, chives, salt, and pepper add extra flavor to the mix.

    Prominent Irish writers like James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, and Seán O’Casey have eloquently expressed their fondness for the dish. Although it was invented in the 18th century to reuse soon-to-expire leftovers, the recipe remains popular in Dublin’s pubs today.

    9

    Spice bag

    Potato chips, chicken, and chili wrapped up in a paper bag

    Spice bag is an Asian-inspired yet uniquely Irish fast-food dish that originated in Dublin sometime in the last decade (its precise origins are a mystery). The decadent contemporary dish consists of chicken (typically shredded but sometimes nuggets or wings), deep-fried potato chips, capsicum, onion, and chili.

    Takeouts sell the dish wrapped up in paper bags, sometimes alongside a curry-style dipping sauce. Subcontinental variations include exotic spices like cumin and garam masala. Either way, you’re in for a treat – spice bag has become Ireland’s go-to takeout meal.

    photo by Sean Zissou (CC BY 4.0) modified

    10

    Barmbrack

    A Christmas cake-like sweet enjoyed on Halloween

    Barmbrack is similar to Christmas cake: a baked bread loaf full of dry fruit (mostly sultanas and raisins) and served with butter and tea. However, this celebratory Irish sweet, also known as brack, is most commonly consumed around Halloween.

    Some Irish families still bake barmbrack the traditional way, by hiding a ring somewhere inside the fluffy loaf. Whoever breaks apart the piece with the ring is destined to marry soon. A word of warning: it’s always wise to chew slowly so you don’t inadvertently choke on your good-luck charm.

    Harry Stewart | Contributing Writer

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