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20 traditional Scottish dishes that are at risk of dying out

Published: January 31, 2023

If you've no idea what crappit heid or festy cock are, then you're not alone as recent research has revealed that some traditional Scottish dishes are at risk of dying out, as the numbers of people eating them are minimal.

While mince and tatties and haggis seem more mainstream, as many as four in 10 Scots (or 43 per cent) haven't tried haggis and 47 per cent have never eaten haggis.

The research was conducted by Skye Holiday Cottages, who found that 44 per cent of Scots believe that it is actually tourists who are helping to keep Scottish local cuisines alive.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of people polled admit that they’ve never eaten Scotch pie and two in five (41 per cent) have never tried Scotch broth.

Even more uncommon local delicacies that some Scots haven't eaten include Bannock (81 per cent), skirlie (83 per cent) and rollmops (89 per cent).

One in five (18 per cent) who had never tried haggis said it sounds unappetising, while the same number (18 per cent) said they were scared to try it.

It’s not just in Scotland where regional dishes appear to be dying out, with a quarter of Southwesters shunning Cornish pasties and four in 10 (40 per cent) of people in Wales having never tucked into Welsh rarebit.

Graham Donoghue, chief executive of Sykes Holiday Cottages, said: “As a proud Scot myself, I’m a big fan of a lot of the dishes that make our country famous, but it’s surprising just how many others have never tried them.

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“There are certain parts of the country where specific foods will instantly spring to mind, with visitors from across the UK helping to keep these foodie traditions alive.”

traditional Scottish dishes
Picture: crappit heid

When travelling around the UK, three quarters of holidaymakers (74 per cent) will make the effort to sample the local delicacies.

Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) will select a staycation destination based solely on its reputation for quality food - and 91 per cent believe it is important to enjoy good food when on holiday.

The most popular way for Brits to decide where to eat on their travels is by judging an establishment based on its exterior and interior.

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More than a third (36 per cent) will tap into the locals’ knowledge of the best place to visit, while a third will read restaurant reviews and a quarter will seek advice from their accommodation provider.

In a bid to help keep local delicacies alive, Sykes Holiday Cottages has released a free online recipe book comprising of regional foodie favourites from throughout the UK and Ireland.

CEO Graham Donoghue continued: “Our research shows that a big proportion of travellers choose staycation destinations solely on their stomachs, but when we travel around the UK it can sometimes be overwhelming to know what to try and the best places to get it.

Selkirk bannock Alex Dalgetty & Sons
Selkirk bannock Alex Dalgetty & Sons Picture: Chris Watt

“That’s why we’ve created our recipe book to give holidaymakers the chance to sample a selection of local favourites – prepared just as the locals would – before their trips or to get inspiration for their next holiday spot. And it sounds like this could come in handy for some residents too."

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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