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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Eating Haggis in Scotland

A friend of mine is in the UK for work for a couple weeks and he made a visit to Edinburgh this weekend. Seeing all of his pictures of Facebook rekindled memories of my stay there when I was studying abroad. And, to this day, it remains one of my favorite cities.
The school trip up to Edinburgh did not have the best beginning, though. We left the day after St. Patrick's Day and my roommate and I intended to make the most of St. Paddy's in London. I had just turned 21, not that it mattered there, but I was still learning a lot about beer, liquor, and, in general, what the world had to offer for fun and food. London was a great place to explore all of this.
Though, I admit, I may have had a bit too much Guiness that St.Paddy's. But at least I got a free hat and free beard after drinking those four pints, not including the other drinks we had that night.
Needless to say, the trip up north to Edinburgh the next day was not fun. I nearly hurled at Kings Cross' 9 3/4 Platform and the train ride was not much better.
But, once recovered, the Scottish city was absolutely splendid. We visited the palace, toured the shopping streets, saw the cafe where J.K. Rowling did much of her writing and just walking around was an experience with the diverse architecture ranging from castles to palaces to to pillared monuments and gothic edifices in the midst of the bustling metropolis.
One of the experiences that stands out the most, though, was trying haggis. We asked our guides and teachers for a recommendation on where to get the best haggis - which, if you are unfamiliar with odd foods from around the world, is the innards of a sheep (it's heart, liver, lungs) with onions and other extras cooked in an animal's stomach. I, of course, wanted to try it.
We found a place and I ordered the food, much to the amusement of my friends who wanted to watch and maybe try a forkful. I remember it being one of the worst tasting things I've ever tried and it looked even worse.
It was like ground up beef but uglier and worse tasting.
One nearby British kid with his family who was watching me eat it probably put it best, "Mum, it looks like poop."
Since then, I've been told haggis can be tasty and there are even vegetarian types (though I'm not really sure how that would even work since it seems to defeat the purpose). But, I have yet to try it again. Maybe...maybe, when I go back.


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