Which Type Of Vinegar Is Commonly Served With Fish And Chips?

Fried fish sprung up in the U.K. during the early 1800s and chips came along about 60 years later (per Great British Mag). While the actual "inventor" of fish and chips is a bit hazy, the meal became a hit, and by 1930, over 35,000 fish and chip shops operated throughout the United Kingdom. Whether it's wrapped in newspapers or packaged in paper boxes, this crispy dish is widely enjoyed — but the sides and sauces accompanying the crispy duo vary greatly.

From ketchup to mushy peas, mint sauce to battered haggis, tartar sauce to gravy, fish and chip sellers and eaters have numerous preferences when it comes to dressing up their fried meals (via Frymax). However, one versatile addition has the ability to cut through greasy, crunchy textures, while also adding a touch of sweetness and balancing out any overpowering notes of salt (per Know Your Pantry). Though there are many different types of vinegar you can douse your dish with, there's one that can particularly enhance the taste of fish and chips.

Malt vinegar creates a balanced bite

There's a good reason why the smell of malt vinegar can remind you of a seaside resort or a British pub. While it's best known as a sauce for fish and chips, MasterClass explains that malt vinegar can perk up all kinds of dishes — from salad dressings to pickles — with its notes of lemon and caramel. 

Other European vinegar is often made from wine, so the barley-based malt vinegar has earned a reputation for its ability to enhance the beer-battered fish and chips experience (per Spiceography). According to Frymax, though white vinegar can be more affordable, malt vinegar presents a sweeter, less pungent flavor and adds a nutty, toasted taste to this crispy combo.

If you whip up your own fish and chips at home and can't seem to find a bottle of malt vinegar in your pantry or don't want to splurge for it, there are substitutions you can try instead, like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, per Better Homes & Gardens. Experiment to see which combination you enjoy most as you devour this classic, satisfying dish.