haggis taste test

Video Taste Test: A fistful of haggis

by Michael on August 20, 2012

Scotland is more than a wee land of kilts and bagpipers. It’s also the home of the most manly of foods—haggis. In our haggis taste test we try this food, which is basically a sheep’s stomach stuffed with sheep lungs, offal, oatmeal and spices. It may sound awful but it is so esteemed in local folklore that famed Scottish poet Robert Burns even wrote an ode called “An Address to A Haggis.” How many foods can claim such a literary heritage?

Haggis taste test neeps and tatties

Traditional haggis with neeps and tatties.

Every year on January 25th, Burns’ birthday, Scots all over the world congregate to celebrate their literary hero and devour a feast of haggis. The haggis is led in a procession preceded by a bagpiper, odes are read and much whiskey is drunk. Eventually the host spears the haggis with a dagger to release the steam or “reek.” And boy does it reek. Typically it is served with neeps and tatties, that’s mashed potatoes and turnip for those of you for whom English is your primary language.

haggis taste

For a fancier night out, how about some haggis bon bons?

During our time in Scotland our goal was to try haggis in every form imaginable. Well it was Michael’s goal. He had basic forms of it in pubs, fancy haggis (yes such a thing exists) set in tiers at posh restaurants, haggis bon bons, curry haggis, haggis lasagna and haggis potato chips. His one regret was that the restaurant serving haggis soup had run out.

Haggis ingredients

The label suggests adding a "dram" of whiskey to the haggis. You might need a dram yourself before reading the ingredients.

For our American readers who are  hankering for some haggis we’re sorry to say you can’t get authentic haggis in America, some crazy rule about importing products with sheep lungs. So you need to head to Scotland for the real thing. That’s not so bad since Scotland has been one of the highlights of our year-long journey.

Here’s a video of our haggis taste test, including haggis curry and haggis potato chips. Yum.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/rZXsVOFdqZE[/youtube]

If reading this has gotten you really hungry here’s a link to our story about a tasty kokorec sandwich we devoured in Istanbul, it’s made from sheep intestine.  A few months later  we tried to find kokorec at one of the many Turkish doner kebab shops in Berlin but were told it’s illegal to sell it in Germany. Apparently they run into the same problem as importing haggis into the US.

And if you’re really, really hungry here’s our taste test of lamb tongues in New Zealand.

What are some of your favorite foods with unusual ingredients?

Karen G August 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Couldn’t even make it past the photos. Will read again when you are posting pics of pastries! 😉

Larissa August 21, 2012 at 2:36 pm

We’ll see what we can do for you.

John D August 21, 2012 at 2:10 pm

It seems like the actual Haggis was tolerable or better.

Larissa August 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Not that Michael has the highest standards but he kept eating it.

Fred Allen Barfoot August 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Ah, I usually go to a Robbie Burns dinner on his January birthday, hosted by Scots, and I do believe the haggis is as authentic as an American Scot can make. Enjoy every version!

Michael August 23, 2012 at 5:32 am

Sounds like you should be heading to Scotland for your next Burns dinner!

Stu August 24, 2012 at 2:33 am

Love the video. Didn’t know they made haggis chips too!

Michael August 25, 2012 at 4:51 am

Yeah, the chips werent so good though.

Doz & Amanda August 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I like the traditional with a twist, the best we had was haggis samosa in Fort William. Delicious!
I guess a new tradition is to microwave it in 6 minutes too 🙂

Michael August 25, 2012 at 4:51 am

We could’ve microwaved it but went the traditional route.

donna August 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm

I’ve heard and read about haggis forever, thanks so much for finally showing me what it actually looks like, it’s so much smaller than I’d imagined, but I guess that depends on the size of the sheep! Does it smell like it looks like it smells? Not so good? Thanks again.

Michael September 20, 2013 at 2:48 pm

There are some larger haggises, (haggi?) but we opted for the smallest. The smell is … hard to describe.

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