So, what is haggis?
Many people visit our city hunting for the best haggis in Edinburgh… but some people don’t know what they are actually looking for.
A lot of you are still wondering, what is haggis?
Lets find oot!
The rich history of haggis
Although the exact date of when haggis was invented has sparked many debates across the country, many Scots use the date of Robert Burns’ famous poem ‘Address to a Haggis’, which was written in 1787.
It is thought that haggis was born out of a way for hunters to use everything from the sheep they hunted; mainly, the offal. By stuffing the sheep’s stomach with offal that otherwise would’ve been wasted and boiling it, haggis was born.
Something that used to be known as poor man’s food has grown into Scotland’s national dish thanks to Robert Burns’ poem. Scots all over the country celebrate him on his birthday, January 25th, every year by eating haggis and toasting him with a single malt whisky.
Some Scots get really traditional and read out Burns’ poem while addressing the haggis.
What’s in it?
Historically, haggis was made out of sheep’s ‘pluck’… its heart, liver, and lungs, which were minced together with oatmeal, chopped onions, beef fat, herbs and spices.
After combining all the ingredients, the mixture was traditionally sewn into a sheep’s stomach and boiled.
Nowadays, a lot of haggis that’s served in restaurants and sold in supermarkets is kept in an artificial casing, so don’t expect this to turn up when you order haggis at The Royal McGregor.
What you can expect to see is haggis served along with ‘neeps’ (crushed turnip) and ‘tatties’ (mashed potatoes). Most restaurants also offer a sauce, such as a creamy whisky sauce or a gravy, to go along with it as well.
So, what does it taste like?
Haggis has a distinctive, rich, peppery flavour that is given a slight nutty flavour from the oats it is cooked with.
At The Royal McGregor, we do haggis SIX different ways.
The ‘beginner’ haggis
We call our Haggis Fritters our ‘beginner’ haggis and recommend them to anyone who hasn’t tried haggis before who might still be on the fence about our national dish. They are three haggis balls, deep fried and served with a sweet chilli sauce. Untraditional and super tasty.
The traditional haggis
How Robert Burns wrote about it… haggis, neeps & tatties topped with a whisky sauce or rosemary gravy. Aye!
The veggie haggis
That’s right… since the 60s, various Scottish shops and manufacturers have replaced the sheep’s pluck with pulses, nuts & veggies so vegetarians can also enjoy our national dish. Veggie haggis tastes ridiculously similar to the meat version because the same oats & spices are used in the recipe. We serve ours with neeps, tatties and a jug of whisky sauce!
Stuffed in a chicken breast
For folks who aren’t ready to quite jump into the full haggis, neeps & tatties, our chefs stuff a chicken breast with haggis and top it with whisky sauce!
What about on a burger?
Our highland burger is one of our Angus Beef burgers topped with a layer of haggis and whisky sauce. Word to the wise, even the hungriest of eaters struggle to finish this off.
And for breakfast, of course…
If you are in Scotland and don’t eat haggis and black pudding for breakfast at least once during your visit, you are doing it wrong. A traditional Scottish breakfast will normally have haggis, black pudding, bacon, sausages, eggs, beans & toast!
Fancy trying haggis yeself?
We are open from 9.30am every morning and are located at 154 High Street, Edinburgh.
Click here to book a table!