Cork is the Food Capital of Ireland, known for having pioneered much of the country’s food scene. From artisan producers of cheese and smoked fish to restaurants serving classic fare with local ingredients, you’ll want to eat your way through Ireland’s second city.
Here are some of the foods you simply must try while in Cork, Ireland.
1. Traditional Irish Breakfast
A traditional Irish breakfast, or a fry up, is available in most restaurants in Ireland. These hearty morning feasts were originally created to fuel farm workers before a hard day out in the fields.
There are a few variations, but most traditional Irish breakfasts will include toast, black and white pudding, bacon (called rashers in Ireland), sausage, baked beans, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, fried eggs, and hashbrowns. You’ll typically have a choice between black Irish tea and coffee to wash down your breakfast.
2. Black pudding
Black pudding is a type of blood sausage that is popular in the UK and Ireland. It’s actually one of the oldest forms of sausage, and the blood is mixed with oats and/or barley to make a sausage consistency.
If you don’t want to try black pudding on its own, you can get it as a topping on a Neapolitan pizza. A few pizzerias offer this dish, but Pompeii, a small pizza cart behind the Franciscan Well, does it the best.
3. Turkish eggs
Turkish eggs are a popular brunch dish in Cork that originated during the Ottoman Empire. Sultans have been enjoying this dish since the 15th century, but its popularity in Ireland has only picked up in the last few years.
Turkish eggs consist of poached eggs served over a bed of yogurt and a spiced sauce with toast on the side. The eggs and yogurt are tangy and very flavorful, which pair really well with the absorbent and crispy toast. You can try this dish and other modern brunch favorites at the Good Day Deli, one of the best cafes in Cork, Ireland.
4. Murphy’s Ice Cream
Ireland has the second highest ice cream consumption per capita in Europe (behind Sweden), So, suffice to say that ice cream is very popular in Cork, especially when the temperatures start to warm up. For a scoop of local and artisan ice cream, you won’t do better than Murphy’s.
Murphy’s is an Irish creamery and local institution, known for their innovative Irish flavors, like sea salt, brown bread, chocolate whiskey, and Dingle gin. You can try Murphy’s ice cream at their locations in Cork or Dublin.
5. Gubbeen Cheese
Gubbeen cheese is a local specialty that has only been around since 1979, when Tom and Giana Ferguson started producing it in County Cork. This semi-soft farmers cheese has a slightly nutty flavor, while the texture is similar to a chilled brie. It’s fabulous when served with Ballymaloe relish, a thick sauce made from tomatoes and red peppers.
You can find Gubbeen in the English Market at the cheese stall or in one of the specialty shops in the city.
6. Fish and Chips
Fish and chips is a very popular dish in Ireland and in the UK, and you should absolutely give it a try while you’re in Cork. The dish is typically made with deep fried, battered cod (or sometimes hake), served alongside french fries. Malt vinegar, salt, and ketchup are usually supplied for you to add to the dish to taste.
The dish reached its peak popularity in the 1920s, but you can order fish and chips today at one of the pubs in Cork, or by visiting a takeaway restaurant. Takeaways are little hole-in-the-wall joints and are very popular spots for Corkians looking for a quick bite on the weekends.
7. Irish Coffee
Though you technically can’t eat an Irish coffee, it’s one of the top things to try while you’re in Cork. This cocktail is traditionally made with hot coffee, Irish whiskey, cold cream, and nutmeg. It was invented in nearby Limerick in 1943 by a chef named Joe Sheridan.
The best place in Cork to try an Irish coffee is at the Shelbourne Bar in the Victorian Quarter. The Shelbourne is known for its extensive whiskey selection and incredibly knowledgeable staff. Get there early if you visit on a Friday or Saturday, as the seating area is likely to fill up.
Bio: Amber haggerty of Amber Everywhere
Amber Haggerty runs Amber Everywhere, a site dedicated to encouraging others to travel. The mission of Amber Everywhere is to help people feel the sort of belonging, purpose, empathy, and expansiveness that travel can offer, especially if approached with the right mindset. Amber is originally from Colorado, but now she now lives in Europe and writes about her experiences traveling and living abroad. You can follow Amber on Instagram at @amber.everywhere.
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