Authentic American Western Food
ALMOST EVERYONE LOVES FISH & CHIPS! WHAT MAKES ORIGINAL BOTAK JONES SO DAMN GOOD?!
Let’s be real about Fish & Chips, shall we? Look, every food item can’t really be the ultimate comfort food, but every item we make at ORIGINAL Botak Jones® including our regular and PREMIUM Fish & Chips is prepared as if they were! Fish & Chips can vary from place to place so let us tell you about ORIGINAL Botak Jones® Fish & Chips and why we sell literally tons of fish every month!
At ORIGINAL Botak Jones® we have always tried to exceed the easy way out and give each item we make our very best effort. With ORIGINAL Botak Jones® Fish and Chips we do this by sampling many suppliers and types of fish to ensure our customers are receiving the very best for the money. First, we lightly season each fillet to bring out its natural flavor. We coat each fillet not only in our batter but also in Japanese breadcrumbs (panko), so when they are fried, each fillet has a slight crunch to contrast to the flaky flesh. We pair this with our own umami savory tartar sauce. We don’t mind doing so much to produce the best that we are able to produce.
The Why and Where and How of Fish & Chips
Fish and potatoes had been fried in oil sometime in the early 1800’s separately. Jewish immigrants from Spain running from inquisitions and stuff had settled in England and the frying of fish was popular as strict Talmudic law forbids them from cooking on the Sabbath itself. Frying fish ahead of time made it easier to eat it cold the following Sabbath day. Sometime around the later decades, the two were brought together as Fish & Chips.
Quickly Fish & Chips became a popular street food sold primarily from carts. Wrapped up in whatever paper was available, newsprint became popular as it was a remnant of that day’s news and thereby, free. By the 1870’s, the first “proper” Fish & Chip shop opened, and success soon followed. When people see a good thing, they jump on board and in about 30 years’ time there were many thousands of Fish & Chips shops. Fish & Chips were the only food not subject to rationing in London during the two World Wars.
As Britain was the major World Power at the time, Fish & Chips was soon found in its territories and Commonwealth countries. As Brits were great travelers and adventurers, they settled in many other places as well, and the types of fish expanded as did the style and recipes.
Everyone seems to have something to say about Fish & Chips! If Fish & Chips didn’t mean so much to so many different people, we suppose there wouldn’t be so much commentary. So please, allow us to also expound.
Fish & Chips are really considered the English staple and it very well may be. Then it migrated around the world including to the United States, and America put its variable stamps on it as America seems to do with everything. What is proper? What is good? What is junk? All are subject to the person commenting. We believe that our track record with Fish & Chips kind of lets us at ORIGINAL Botak Jones® speak with a slight bit of authority.
So what is Fish & Chips about now?
Fish & Chips has been considered an affordable, everyday meal since its inception. Thus, the species used mostly in Singapore are ones that are an acceptable product at a reasonable price. Price is always one of the factors when eating at the many stalls and a lot of cafes. It becomes political when people post that one specie is bad, or bad for you and something they won’t eat based on things they have “heard” without doing any due diligence themselves before posting their comments. All the species available in Singapore are passed by the strict measures used for food products here. Yes, some may not be to someone’s taste, but do they know what specie and quality level they are eating? Usually not, as more often than not, the place at which they are eating may have unknowingly misled the customers by not being specific in their item descriptions.
What are the different fish and what are their attributes?
Cod is often used for Fish & Chips in the West. There are varieties of cod, but Atlantic cod has been favored due to its firm but flaky flesh and mild but distinctive flavor (lots of buts there). It is readily available in countries of that region and available at ORIGINAL Botak Jones® as well but the transport and processing costs make it a PREMIUM fish in Singapore.
Haddock is another popular fish in the West as well. Similar to cod but a slightly sweeter flavor but a drier flesh, it’s quality here in Singapore varies. ORIGINAL Botak Jones® offered it for a limited time but the supplies were not dependable nor was the quality, so we have since offered cod as our PREMIUM.
Halibut is another fave from the West. It has much the same attributes that both cod and haddock have in that the flesh is firm and has a mild taste which proves itself well to deep frying without falling apart or becoming a mush mess.
The Dory (Pangasius) Saga
And here we go! Basa is probably the most widely used fish here in Singapore as it is farmed In Vietnam and thus, very sustainable. Farming Dory has become a fairly large fish farming industry, so the price is on the low end of the spectrum. It lends itself favorably to frying, has a very, very mild flavor. In the business Dory has been sub categorized into three main marketing terms. Cream Basa, usually the least expensive is not firm at all. You can tell if the fish is Cream Basa if when you bite into it, there is no firmness and is actually mushy.
The second term is White Basa and is a bit firmer than Cream Dory but may have fewer firm parts. The color also varies from the white to grey to pink, and a bit more expensive than cream.
The third type, Pacific Dory, is the term almost every place uses, but is rarely really what is considered Pacific. Pacific Dory flesh is firm and white throughout. It has a mild flavor and is the most expensive of the “Dory’s, except for John Dory, which is yet another specie, which may be why few establishments actually use real Pacific Dory.
Why ORIGINAL Botak Jones® uses real Pacific Dory amongst others? Three strong reasons are…
1) It makes one of the best fried fish for the price and even more
2) We love Fish & Chips too so we would naturally use a fish that we like to eat.
3) Since ORIGINAL Botak Jones® doesn’t use any artificial or chemical flavor enhancers, its natural mild sweetness makes it a great fish for Fish and Chips.
Premium White Basa (P. Bocourti)
Marketed as Premium White Basa is a close relative of Basa and is even sold as Pacific Basa in some places. It is a firm white fleshed fish and fries well. ORIGINAL Botak Jones® used Premium White Basa exclusively before the pandemic but supplies ended through the pandemic.
A pretty strange fish indeed. Historic accounts come from way back in Ancient Egypt times. Tilapia can survive in both fresh and salt and it even survives in the Salton Sea, which is so salt laden that other fish cannot live there. A mild white flesh and a low price point make tilapia a popular fish.
ORIGINAL Botak Jones® also offers salmon as another fish, but not as fish and chips. Salmon is an “oily” fish, but the oil is supposed to be good for us as it contains omega 3 fatty acids. Because salmon isn’t a fish traditionally used for Fish and Chips, we serve it char-grilled. Being a moderately priced fish, using it a Fish and Chips would make the price of the Fish & Chips a bit high-although we may give it a go in the future. Most of the salmon now available is farmed in the sea. Wild caught salmon is roughly twice as expensive.
Fish and Chips FAQs
What are condiments popular with Fish and Chips
The most popular condiment tartar sauce. Made with mayonnaise and some tart vinegar brined veggies and sugar. At ORIGINAL Botak Jones®, we make our own tartar sauce that also has savory umami notes.
Ketchup is another condiment that works as it is a favorite for the fries (chips)
Malt Vinegar is traditional and was probably the original condiment used back in Britain.
Mayonnaise is also a condiment more popular in Europe. Mayonnaise is the basic ingredient in tartar sauce
Cocktail Sauce is also favored by some. It has a tangy and piquant flavor that lends itself mostly to seafood, usually cold boiled shrimp (prawns). The New Orleans style would contain ketchup, tabasco, horseradish, and lemon juice.
Which oils are good for frying Fish and Chips
Good clean vegetable oils with a high enough frying point are the best. Before corn was a major component of biofuel, corn oil was what ORIGINAL Botak Jones® used as BOTAK Jones®, drop Original before 2021. Once corn was considered for biofuels it became less plentiful as a vegetable meant for consumption by both humans and cattle-and its price skyrocketed. Other good oils might be Safflower, Canola, and even olive oil, the jury is still out on palm oil as it is heavily marketed by the governments in which the palm oil is produced.
How is the fish prepared for Fish and Chips
At ORIGINAL Botak Jones® we first lightly season the fish to bring out its natural flavor. It is then coated with all-purpose flour to help the batter to adhere to the fish better. We then batter the fish and finally coat it with panko, Japanese bread crumb.
Why are the fish and potatoes in Fish and Chips such a good combo
Well, if we consider the history, they are two foods that could be fried and eaten later. Now, we are pretty much conditioned to enjoy Fish & Chips as Fish & Chips has become part of many cultures around the world. The combination of a protein and carbohydrate also may make our bodies crave this combination.
What common pitfalls can be avoided in making Fish and Chips
Not dusting the fish with a good light coat of flour before the batter will increase the chances of the coating and fish separating while frying.
Trying to fry too much fish at one time will reduce the oil temperature and the fish may not fry well or too slowly. The coating may not be crispy at all and the middle of the fish may be slightly undercooked. Sometimes when this occurs, the fish might taste “off”. Some people think that this means the fish had been frozen and not fresh, this is very far from the truth. In commercial restaurants and stalls virtually all the fish used is delivered as frozen fillets, frozen seconds after being caught or filleted, otherwise it would spoil quickly and be unusable.
Make sure the oil being used is hot enough from the beginning. It should be at least 300⁰F to ensure cooking goes through the whole fillet and less than 375⁰F so that the outer coating isn’t burnt by the time the fish is cooked.