Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Scottish cuisine takes America

Tuck in: Isla Harvey tries out a deep fried giant pretzel at Park Slope Chip Shop in Brooklyn
A cafe run by a British couple is doing a sizzling trade in the US by putting high calorie American foods in a traditional fish and chip fryer.
Americans are flocking to Park Slope Chip Shop in Brooklyn, New York, owned by Chris Sell from Rugby, Warwics, and run by Suzanne Hackett from Birmingham, West Midlands.
The pair promise to fry anything you like in English batter and turn New York specialities into the most fattening take-aways on the planet.
Tuck in: Isla Harvey tries out a deep fried giant pretzel at Park Slope Chip Shop in Brooklyn
Reporter Isla Harvey tried out one of the most high calorie meals, tucking into a deep fried double cheeseburger, followed by macaroni with cheese, a giant pretzel, and a slice of New York cheesecake.
Putting away a staggering 5,000 calories, she ate the equivalent of two-and-a-half days food in one go.
Isla, 28, said: 'I was expecting a battered cheeseburger to be vile, but actually it was gorgeous.
'The batter was crispy and delicious but after a few bites I started feeling pretty full so I moved on to the macaroni and cheese.   
'That was the best. You know it's wrong but the taste is so incredible it's hard to leave any on the plate.' 
Do you want fries with that? A traditional double cheeseburger is also dipped in batter and fried
deep fried cheese burger!!

New twist on a classic: A slice of New York cheesecake gets the fryer treatment
She added: 'The cheesecake was ludicrously sweet but the batter complimented it.

'Adding a slice of tart strawberry to the mouthful really made it work.'  
A mixture of locals and tourists were queueing up at the counter brandishing their own favourite snacks which the chef dutifully battered and dropped in the chip pan.

'People bring the strangest things,' said Suzanne, 39, who is the area manager.
'We have deep fried everything from hotdogs to pop tarts to giant pretzels to a plate of sushi.
'We even did a whole pineapple for a customer once.'  

Suzanne and her team estimate that deep-frying an item doubles it's calorie content.
'Obviously it varies and you can't get an exact count unless you take it to the lab but that's about right,' she said.
Captive market: The full range of produce on offer at the chip shop. The British owners, Suzanne Hackett and Chris Sell, have pledged to fry any food

'It depends on how porous the food is.   
'When people ask us to deep fry loaves of bread or a whole hot dog for example, the bread soaks up so much grease.'
Sometimes a brave soul will even ask for their whole meal to be battered.
Occasionally customers' requests are declined for safety reasons.

'We have a rule that as long as it doesn't kill the chef then we'll do it,' said Suzanne, whose husband, Ashamsu Hagan, 31, is the head chef.
'If a food has too much water in it then it will explode.   
'Oranges explode, we learned that from experience and we have to say 'no' to oranges now.

'We also try to avoid things like marshmallow or cakes with lots of icing as they melt and ruin the whole vat of oil.'  

The craze started with the Scottish classic, a deep fried Mars Bar, but after a raucous staff party the idea expanded.
chip shop
'We put some Twinkies in the fryer on my birthday and they tasted delicious so we started doing other chocolate bars and actually putting them on the menu,' said Suzanne.

'People really loved them, especially the locals, and the customers gradually started bringing in their own items.'  

The most popular items are still chocolate bars and cakes.
'Deep fried Oreos and Snickers bars are very popular,' she said.
'But a beef jerky stick with cheese was the most revolting ever.
'The smell was so disgusting.'  

The Chip Shop opened in 2001 after owner, Chris Sell, 43, missed the food from his native Rugby.   

He started by serving fish and chips, shepherds pie and other culinary delights from the UK, which are still poplar items on the menu.

Isla's 5,000 calorie meal: double cheeseburger (2,500 calories); macaroni and cheese with Scottish cheddar (900 calories); giant pretzel (550 calories); New York cheesecake (1,000 calories).
Some other favourite fried foods: iced cupcake (450 calories); hot dog (700 calories); mega Burrito (1,000 calories).

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