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When in Scotland

Eat American?

by Sarah Simpson


Haggis, Cullen skink and lots of fish. Then there’s whisky to wash it all down.

The Scots have traditions when it comes to food, but if you’re an American in a city like Edinburgh, and you want a taste of home, you don’t have to look far.

Take the Filling Station, an American-style restaurant, which can be found in Edinburgh, Braehead, and Inverness.

The restaurant’s walls are adorned with automobile memorabilia, and the atmosphere could be compared to the popular American chain restaurant, Quaker Steak & Lube, complete with booths, sit-down tables and a bar area.

Several aspects of the Filling Station appear to be a satirical take on American dining.

One section has four posters of Americans who made long hikes across the country, one even mentioning that a man ambitiously walked backward for charity.

The employees at this restaurant are also in on the joke. When one American customer asked the other day for a glass of water, the waiter replied by asking if she wanted it “deep-fried.” The same waiter also let out a loud laugh when another American customer ordered a salad – apparently not a go-to item for the local citizenry.

The menu items include a burger named “Red, White & Blue,” the “Super Bowl” salad and “Firecracker Shrimp.” Popular dishes from U.S. cities can be found on the menu as well, like the “Philly Cheese Melt” a nod to a Philadelphia cheese steak, perhaps?

Scotland may not be known for its fine dining, but residents say they hold their food to a higher standard than Americans, whom they associate with processed, chemically altered food, not to mention grease, high calories and carbs.

 “Scottish cuisine is fresh, and more often locally sourced,” said the manager of Bread Meats Bread, another American restaurant in Edinburgh.

When tourists come to a new country, part of the excitement is experiencing what a different culture has to offer. Whether it’s a cheesy gift shop, sightseeing around town, or genuine local cuisine, tourists try to check many popular items off their list during their stay abroad.

But when in Scotland, if you don’t want to eat what the Scottish do – staples like Haggis (a combo of sheep organs, beef, oatmeal, onion and spices) and Cullen skink (a soup of smoked haddock, onions and potatoes), there’s always a Philly Cheese Melt to be found.


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