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An ode to the humble fish and chips takeaway

Danielle De Wolfe

In this week's Time Out magazine we're talking about our fave takeaways in London. Blogger Danielle De Wolfe tells us why fish and chips are well overdue a takeaway comeback.

For me, the fish and chip takeaway has become a timeless national treasure. So dear is it to me that, given an impending disaster, it would feature on my ‘to save’ list, alongside Helena Bonham-Carter, the crown jewels and Boris Johnson’s hair. I simply can’t get enough of the stuff.

Whether you enjoy yours with of a side of mushy peas or doused in curry sauce, the humble fish and chip supper is a recession-defying meal that continues to rake in a staggering £1.2 billion pounds a year, with 80 percent of Brits having visited their local chippy in the past 12 months. In a city that’s set to function 24 hours a day, with excessive working hours and long commutes, it’s no wonder London has a love affair with salty, comforting, nostalgia-pricking fast food. It’s an institution; an unwavering, independent source of deep-fried delight – and that’s why I bloody well love it!

Malin’s on Old Ford Road in east London claims to be the first fish and chip shop (although so do many in Lancaster), and having kept our stomachs content for over a century and a half, fish and chips have become as much a part of the capital as cockney cabbies and sluggish tube trains. Once a provision for paupers, fried fish now bridges the ever-widening gap between rich and poor. It’s a dish that has dragged us through adversity; multiple wars, recessions, economic uncertainty, rain and, well, more rain. It’s a reflection of our capital's resilience. And to this day, it’s still one of the few takeaways that demands you get off your backside and collect dinner yourself.

But with so many takeaway options available to Londoners at the tap of a smartphone, life's not easy for an institution that fails to conform to the demands of an app-obsessed generation. After making not a single appearance on takeaway website Just Eat’s list of top ten takeaways, maybe it’s time for chippies to adapt. Moped drivers could deliver dressed as giant calamari, or what about extended opening hours? Even my local – the brilliantly named 'Oh My Cod!' – shuts its doors no later than 10pm.

That being said, wouldn’t conforming to a takeaway standard go against everything the local chippy represents? Its independent streak has ensured its place as a national institution, with personal service at its core. People of London, if you love fish and chips as much as I do, it’s time we returned this culinary heavyweight to the top of the takeaway charts.

Hungry? Find London's best fish and chips now.

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