You cannot escape haggis if you take a trip to Scotland. It’s everywhere.
If you don’t know what haggis is, chances are you’ll actually like the taste of it. But find out it is likely to include, but not limited too, lamb tongue, liver, kidney, all cooked in a sheep stomach and .. well .. you might give the haggis crisps a pass.
At first I thought haggis was a Scottish tourist gimmick, but when I spotted the Haggis Food Truck at the finish line of the Edinburgh Marathon, I realized the locals go for this the way Montrealers dig their poutine.
Sure, it’s a tourist-y thing to do, to have a piece of haggis, but when it’s everywhere more than just the outsiders are having a scoop.
And I do say scoop, just look how my haggis, neeps, and tatties was served at a restaurant just off the Royal Mile.
Haggis doesn’t look that disgusting – once it’s removed from the sheep’s stomach, that is. It has the consistency of a finely minced olives. It’s a collection of lopes (that’s the polite way to describe the entrails) and oats.
Which brings us to actually eating the stuff. What does haggis taste like?
Spicy oatmeal. That’s the best description I can come up with. The meats are not the main ingredient in haggis, the oats are what binds it together, and it is a heavily spiced dish, so the best I can say is haggis tastes like a spicy oatmeal.
I ate haggis every chance I got when I was in Scotland. I even brought a couple of cans of it home. I don’t think I can convince my wife to try it, but if you can remove your head from the knowledge of what it is you are actually consuming, you’ll agree with Robbie Burns that it is a poetic meal.