What is a Deep-Fried Pizza?

Much has been written about Scotland’s mythical Deep-Fried Pizza, yet very little of it seems to be consistent. Is the pizza battered or just dropped in the fryer next to the battered fish and the flaccid chips?

The answer is seemingly arcane and mysterious …

Deep Fried Pizza

All wrapped up


Or rather it is exceedingly simple. There are in fact two distinct kinds of deep-fried pizza; the “pizza” and the “pizza crunch”. One is battered – the crunch – and one is not.

Cafe Q Prices

Prices

In the interests of science, I bought both a “1/2 Fried Pizza Supper” and a “1/2 Fried Pizza Crunch Supper”. As with all Scottish chip shops, the “supper” means with chips.

Aside for the colonies. What you call chips we call crisps. What you call fries we call … er, fries. Contrary to the simplistic explanations you may have heard, our chips are not the same as your fries (or rather, the Belgians’ fries) but they are in fact much larger and less crisp. As scholars write theses on the difference, here’s a cop-out ‘pedia link so I don’t have to try.

The pizza crunch was served in battered quarters whereas the plain pizza was merely halved and flopped top-down on the hearty potato produce.

Half Pizza Supper

Half Pizza Supper

Half Pizza Supper

Pizza Crunch Supper

A word on the quality of the pizzas: the chippy we bought these from is renowned for its hand-made pizzas. These are not their fine produce. These pizzas are the cheap frozen kind from the cash and carry. Much like you don’t get the finest cut of beef in a fancy restaurant if you order it well-done, you don’t get the hand-crafted goodness when it’s destined for the fryer.

Half Pizza Supper

The edge of the unbattered pizza

If you look closely at the edge of the deep-fried pizza (as opposed to the battered one) you can see it’s been well fried and is crisp and full of tasty oil. Note the tasty chips cheese-glued to the top.

Half Pizza Supper

a cut into the unbattered pizza

As you can see in the battered crunch, the pizza itself is remarkably ungreasy. Yes, the shocking truth is that the battered pizza contains less oil than the unbattered one.

Half Pizza Crunch Supper

a cut into the battered pizza

I’ll be honest, both taste excellent. Sure, they are not hand made and cooked in a wood-fired stone oven, but if you want that, there are plenty of quaint and pretentious little restaurants around. Knock yourself out. These are full-fat ned food for the guy in the track suit that would only run if the ‘polis’ were on his tail. Let’s be honest, they’re cheap pizzas elevated to greatness by being deep-fried. Marvellous.

Half Pizza Crunch Supper

a fine Pizza Crunch Supper

And yes, to eat either these without a glass bottle of Irn Bru to wash it down would be heresy.

Pizzas and Chips

A romantic meal for two

These delicacies were bought at Cafe Q in Strathaven, South Lanarkshire. The prices are visible in the photo above. £2.50 for the fried pizza with chips and £2.60 for the pizza crunch supper. That’s about $5 a meal. All photos can be enlarged with a click.

Jared Earle is a writer, photographer and systems administrator. You can find him on Twitter most of the time.

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  • RobVan

    I will be breaking out the FryDaddy tonight, as soon as the wife gets back with a bottle of oil and a couple of totinos. Call the medics.

  • http://www.spirokeet.com Mystery Bob

    I am not a fan of the pizza crunch myself, nor a full pizza supper. The bit where they cut the pizza for the half suppers is by far the tastiest bit – where it soaks up all the lovely chip fat and becomes crispy.

    Although I thought us Scots were bad for our love of the deep fryer, while in California recently I did partake in deep fried cheesecake, wrapped in a tortilla. It was predictably delicious.

  • http://debineezer.blogspot.com Debi Vans Evers

    Ok, being a good Southern (USA) type of girl, I’m frightened and amazed that there is deep-fried goodness such as this that we did not invent. Didn’t even consider. I mean, we came up with deep fried twinkies for f*ck’s sake. The marvels of Scotland never cease.

  • http://www.RossGoodman.com Ross Goodman

    Hi

    Yes I’m Scottish – Not far from Strathaven in fact.
    This should carry a health warning!

    Not just if you plan to eat it, just looking at it made me feel queezy.
    In fact, I think I’m having a heart attack just lookin a ………..

  • Colin

    Jared, the undefeated King of crap scottish food is the Munchy Box – I can’t see it ever being surpassed. Both varieties of deep fried pizza are just plain fargin horrendous.

    I remember my older brother having one and I decided during lunchtime one day at school that I would, in a fit of filial adoration, purchase the humble Pizza Supper from Alberts in Ardrossan. It made me feel ill – especially when they doused the fecker in vinegar. It’s just fundamentally wrong. Wrong, I say. And to add insult to cardio-vascular injury, I also felt that my already plooky teenage visage become even more craterous with every honking bite I took.

    In short – filth. And not in a good way.

  • From the Leafy Suburb

    What? No deep fried Mars Bar for afters? Lightweight!

    We don’t have the shortest life expectancy in the UK without reason (well, I don’t cos I’m posh)

  • http://www.lunch-break.co.uk Doogie Talons

    A small correction I believe, I have come to understand that Supper usually means two of the accompaniment

    So “Fish and Chips” is 1 piece of fish and some chips.

    A “Fish Supper” is 2 pieces of fish and some chips.

    I’ve been living in Scotland 6 months and this is handy to know.

  • Fred Forsyth

    Man, now I’m feeling hungry, those cold baked beans just didn’t do it for me. Nice one Jared!

  • http://www.dukeofprunes.co.uk Prunes

    They’re not bad. I haven’t had one of those for a couple of years now, pizza suppers tend not to be on the chip shop menus now but you can still get them if you ask.

    Four of my chipper dinners include:

    A pie supper
    A sausage supper
    A fish supper
    Black pudding supper

  • bladderboy

    THe only good thing about the invention of this crap is that only idiots will eat it therefore shortening their lifespan and improving the human race. The worst thing on the menu is The sausage wrapped in donor meat and deep-fried in batter. BOAK!

  • killslay

    Doogie Talons, you still get 2 bits of fish if you ask for a “single fish” at most of the chippies i’ve went to… which is false advertisement but in a good way

  • Vix0r

    I was just wondering if there was anywhere in Strathaven that sold the pizza crunch as I’ve never had it, and I got to where you bought them. Hooray! That’ll be something interesting to try.

  • http://www.tartanspecials.com Kenny McColl

    This pizza crunch is a new innovation which has obviously been created in the time since I left Scotland. Our local English-run chippy in Brooklyn has deep fried pizza and it’s battered, and I always thought this was an abomination… but turns out it does exist back home after all.

    And “supper” just means with chips – no fancy rules about how many pieces of anything.

  • Southerner

    To have a fish supper means to eat a lap kebab where I come from..

  • gadjie

    I don’t want to free the neds from their collective shame on inventing deep fried foodstuffs, yet I feel the true blame should be laid at the door of those other fine examples of masculinity, the Italians.

    Deep fried pizza is a traditional street food from Napoli, where it has been eaten for generations. There is a long history of the Scottish and Italians emigrating between each other’s countries, is it unfeasable that this delicacy has been brought in by an immigrant population? I know, burn them now!!!1!.

    Mine’s with salt and sauce (and if you want it done properly, mate, step away from the Weeg and get yourself to Embra.)

  • Kodabar

    The Scots and the Italians eh? Well, most Scottish chip shops were started by Italians after the war, so it’s hardly suprising that there’s a crossover.

    My favourite chippie back there used to offer deep fried battered mushrooms as an alternative to chips. Ooh, they were nice. And the owner was indeed Italian.

    Top tip: never ask what the sausage in a sausage supper is made of.

  • Aberdeen Guy

    Been in Scotland all my life and never seen this crap before. Don’t tar Scotland with the mingin, life-expectancy-of-63 Weegies please! That’s like saying your whole house is filthy because the toilet has been used.

  • Ian

    Let’s put this “supper” thing to bed once and for all.

    A fish supper (or indeed haggis, black pudding, pie etc) is fish and chips.

    A ‘single’ fish, haggis etc is the same thing without the chips. That’s it. The number of pieces you get depends on your local chippie.

    Oh yes, the only people who by fried pizza are the last drunks to stagger out of the pub with a case of the munchies. The fried pizza is the last thing to be sold before the chippie closes and the drunk is too far gone to notice that it is simply a splodge of dough saturated with oil. Doesn’t matter anyway as the mix of oil and beer will result in a pavement pancake somewhere between the chippies and home.

    Don’t ask me why I know that!

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  • Jadeviper

    Fried pizza crunch?? We don’t get those round here, and I want to try one! A chippy I used to go to when I was at school used to rub a bit of batter into the base of the pizza before frying it, but usually they’re just unbattered. And I agree with Mystery Bob that the best bit is the crunchy cut edge of the half pizza :D Ooooh I want one now!

  • Sam

    As a student in Edinburgh I was known to partake of the fabulous/filthy Doner Pizza from the Istanbul chippy on Nicolson Street (now sadly gone due to health and safety violations!).

    Normal cheese and tomato pizza made genius by the introduction of doner meat, onions and wicked chilli sauce.

    YUm!

  • skeltonator

    That is truly disgusting, i want one.

  • The Dave

    The A71′ shut the night an’ am gonnae huv tae wait until Monday to try the Cafe Q version.

    As has been pointed out by others the Pizza Crunch is a relatively new feature which has yet to make it down to most of Ayrshire… though the new chippy in Darvel now has it on the menu (3). Just noticed a Friter Roll in Str’aven is only 60p, definite stop on the way home from work now!

    @ Colin (albert’s ardrossan) ahh the joys of the “half pizza lunch special” was only a pound way back when.

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  • http://www.whitdawg.com WhitDawg

    I bet the ‘merman’ Phelps routinely devours these joyous titbits as part of his 12,000 calorie per day diet. Probably one slice of each should suffice …

  • http://www.uncommonadvice.co.uk Uncommonadvice

    Pizza Crunch is delicious. Almost as good as a battered haggis or a battered burger.

    My favourite chippies are Humes in Alloa and the Bridge Cafe in Sauchie.

  • http://imaginary-review.blogspot.com The Imaginary Reviewer

    Christ, that looks superb. I wish there were somewhere here in Toronto that sold these. Admittedly, I’d settle for the munchy box, but either that or this would rule.

  • Lou De Cruss

    Jesus H Christ on a bike!!! No wonder the ‘Sweaty Socks’ have the highest rates of heart attacks in Europe.

  • Vlad

    Fantastic!

    I love all forms of fried food from the supreme Scottish chippy, although I rarely frequent such establishments these days due to the obvious downsides to eating regularly. And I am of an age when the Doc starts to give you lectures.

    I too was a student in Edinburgh, and I reckon I had a doner pizza from the aforementioned purveyor of post pub gastro-delights. I’m still here, no ill effects. “Salt and sauce, mate?” top lolz

  • stopmeandslapme

    Ian:

    “Lets put this supper thing to bed once and for all.

    A fish supper (or indeed haggis, black pudding, pie etc) is fish and chips.”

    So in Scotland, if I order a haggis I have to ask for fish and chips. Thanks, will try that next time I’m there.

  • Help Ma Boab

    I discovered the pizza crunch a couple years ago at lunchtime, watching my mate scoff it nearly put me off my roll and fritter!

    The Emperor of heart failure has to be the Donner Calzone:

    A Donner Calzone is a folded over 16″ pizza dough filled with Donner kebab meat topped with about half a block of cheese then deepfried with a wee tub of chili sauce.

    Costs about 3.00 from the local Indian “Resteraunt” run by Turks.

    Tastes brilliant after a crawl but leaves you shiting lava for a week and takes about five years off of your life expectancy!

  • Nom_de_Guerre

    No, just no.

  • Jamie Bannister

    I’ve been living in London for a few months and a half-fried pizza with a glass bottle of Irn-Bru from Cafe Q (Formely ‘Marcos’, formely ‘Quintillianis’) is what I miss the most about Strathaven. I’m literally salivating looking at the photos. The suppers down here are absolutely rotten.

    It might be interesting to know that when we were at school we used to go down there for lunch and quite often ask for a roll and pizza crunch. It was perfect. Usually alternate between that and a double fritter roll as these were the cheap options. If you got a fish supper for your lunch then you must have been in the money.

  • Paulie

    Someone on a religious humour list posted this URL. What an education! I’ve been gettin’ in touch wi’ ma Scottish roots lately, and what an education it is! Why did my ancestors ever have to leave Scotland?

    It’s clear that I come by my love of fat honestly. I need to try all these things you folks have mentioned, and I need to try them NOW! Does anyone know where to find a Scots chippie in the mid-Hudson Valley region of New York State?

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  • MSPaintGuru (aka Marcus)

    Well, good lord.

    Here I am, a regular B3tan normally but owing to married life not able to catch up for a while. When lo and behold in a B3ta Newsletter something done by someone I actually KNOW from a time past at Michael Hall.

    Aside from minor concerns about the state of your health after one of those thingies, I am making contact herewith! Hope that you are well (deep fried coatings of the veins notwithstanding) and that your food experimentation continues!

    Have a Lovely time. Your mum, bless her, was only out by a few years with the marriage thingy. I dug out the tape some time ago and she said by 25 I’d be sorted. Turns out it was 41 but I shan’t hold that against her as I’m happy now!

    Keep in touch mate!

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  • Ella

    It looks completly disgusting… Can’t wait to eat it

  • http://www.clipscapital.com Funny Videos

    I really want to try a battered Mars Bar, I am sure it would be just as heartening as a battered pizza.

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  • http://www.ot-pizza.com/ Pizza J

    Wow, that is awful! I saw it, but I can’t unsee it! Stop the pain!

  • http://twitter.com/olivierduvignac/status/2495186576 Olivier Duvignac

    better with the link http://bit.ly/rkuA7

  • col

    The Deep fried Pizza is traditionally a frozen mass produced pizza deep fried without batter, quite often just half of it

    My drunk’s choice used to be Pakora and Chips from the Pizza Crolla on Buchana street befre waiting for the night bus

    But my supper of choice, after the fish, is a decent White Pudding. A Smoked Sausage deep fried is too worrying for words

  • ToshulaofVoddieland

    You can’t beat a slab of battered tablet for afters!

  • http://www.nealesmith.com Neale Smith

    Damn it, I’ve just looked over this and realised the chippy is now shut……boo.

  • Ian

    “You can’t beat a slab of battered tablet for afters!”

    Are you serious? That must be the most unhealthy thing ever dreamed of. I want one. I also want a black pudding supper covered in proper chip shop sauce from the chippies that used to be near the baths in Bathgate many years ago, along with some scraps.

  • http://nwide.blogspot.com Nationwide

    This is the most educational website I’ve ever read.

  • hezzz

    no matter what anyone says about it… it is by far the tastiest chippy meal, infact i am eating a half pizza supper now from the best chippy ever…. The Brig

  • http://twitter.com/cornedbeefgents/status/6258142172 cornedbeefgents

    What is a Deep-Fried Pizza? | The 23x blog http://ow.ly/aOgW

  • http://twitter.com/saniac/status/6775635267 saniac

    People don't believe me when I tell them about deep-fried pizza. They are wrong: http://blog.23x.net/13/what-is-a-deep-fried-pizza.html

  • Music Fan (and Economist!)

    My husband used to run a cafe in Bradford, and one quiet afternoon, passed the time by seeing what he could deep-fry. May I recommend a battered deep-fried magnum icecream lolly? Dunk your magnum of preference in batter.Hold it by the stick and pop it in hot fat for a minute or so. Outstanding!

  • http://twitter.com/deililly/status/8236162243 Kiz

    @serialfrenchies @jacrats @SimonNRicketts http://bit.ly/6huDMS @Gailoh led me to this blog yesterday after discussion of a munchy box.

  • http://twitter.com/davebish0p/status/9094255068 Dave Bishop

    RT @jearle: A magnificent drunken comment on my blog. http://bit.ly/cZUKxO

  • A fledgling Dietitian!

    I would like to draw attention to the F’in daddy of all pizzas; aptly named for it’s brilliance:
    ‘The Glaswegian!’.

    This pure doozy o’ a pizza was first* conceived by ”*Flames*”, THE ‘All-IN-One’er chippy/Italian/Indian emporium of fast-food goodness in the South-side of Glasvegas.

    Only a baw-hair ‘aff o’ bein’ a sheer triumph of Scottish cuisine: It’s genius only diluted by the lack of crispy-battered-deep-fried-artery-raping-heart-disease-inducing layer of NED-nectar! aka:Deep fried golden batter! Yum. Which, I am genuinely convinced has the ability to conquer the world…possibly in the wake of a natural disaster which wipes out most fresh and sustainable food stuffs, bar frozen pizzas!

    At the very least- deserving of the honerable title of; ‘Oor National dish’. (Ahh…an idea for my first indubitably factual, yet somewhat factious ‘Facebook campaign’, intended to annoy you enough to join it! ah ha ha)

    However, sadly few of the devout ‘Deep fried (crispy) pizza’ fans will live long enough to recite ye’ olde tales of their preternatural brush with culinary perfection:
    THE One, The Only (optionally crispy) deep-fried Glaswegian Pizza**

    Another little gem of information that I wish to share with you good folks of this highly intelligible, pure top drawer quality ‘find’, of a comments page!

    I can put an end to the ‘health issues’ and ‘concerns’, which are considered to encroach upon the otherwise ineffaceable role that the humble pizza plays in our day to day lives:

    *** The Pizza Diet? ***

    (Insert taken from an actual website: by a self-acclaimed ‘Reliable lifestyle/nutrition ‘internet – Guru!’ (no less))

    “As you can guess, with the pizza diet, the main food that you will eat is pizza. You will eat two “main meals” a day. At each meal, you will only eat one slice of pizza. The way that this diet works is by limiting the amount of calories that you eat each day, as well as by limiting your portions to two slices of pizza a day. Of course, it is important to know what constitutes as “pizza.” ”

    Ahh, Pray tell oh great Guru …..what DOES constitute as ‘pizza’?….. I hear you all ask!

    “You CAN eat pizza from a pizzeria, frozen pizzas, homemade pizzas, or even an English muffin with pizza sauce and melted cheese. Bagel pizzas are not preferable on this diet, as bagels are high in calories. Also, keep in mind that Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Dominoes, or any other fast food pizza ‘DOES’ constitute as pizza on this diet!!!

    (hallelujah! I hear you cry my friends!)

    Let me raise some points for all you ‘diet lovers’ and those of us who just love a wee pearl of wisdom every noo an’ then:

    * It quite clearly makes NO unfavorable mention of the ‘deep fried pizza’ in the content of this article.

    THEREFORE: I conclude with unprecedented confidence that, unjustly deemed “The ‘infamous’ deep-fried pizza” that is in question here:

    CAN in FACT, be enjoyed as part of this avant-garde, radical, unparalleled, unrivaled, unsurpassed discovery that is:

    “The Pizza Diet” –

    (Clinical trials coming to a Scottish town near you in 2010!)

    When eaten religiously twice a day; this ‘deeply-fried in saturated-fat Pizza’, can actually HELP you to LOSE weight!!! As long as you abide by this somewhat stringent routine of eating just pizza:

    You will soon be ‘struttin yer stuff’ doon at Troon beach, in a naughty wee two-piece, whilst being able to feed the whole family for a fiver at the local chippy! Bonus!!

    - May I also raise the point that the article did not clarify the exact quantity of ‘a slice’. As a slice of deep-fried pizza goodness, is often found to be one half of a 12inch pizza. I would advise that you rely on your own moral accountability and allegiance to achieving your ultimate goal….to be skinny!! I personally would say that a slice is- as it comes. It would be highly inconvenient and burny on the fingers to try and tear ‘a slice’ from a pizza bound in extremely hot batter!

    I hope I have shed a valuable, and, perhaps an atypical light on the hotly contested argument regarding the health issues concerning the ‘deep-fried pizza’. Famed as the quintessential Scottish meal for all who are under the influence of alcohol and needing to ‘line ma stomach’ with something substantial!

    As an ulitmate conclusion, (I promise this is it, this time) Scottish eating habbits are renound, the world over, for being bloody awful and a complete joke. We are actually laughed at by developing countries, for our greedy and over-indulgent tendancies to eat ‘shitty fastfood!’ Moan’ the Scots…lets sort it oot a bit lads! It’s no that hard.

    I would like to add a wee disclamer:
    I completely repudiate, and refuse to accept or support the idea of “A Pizza Diet” being of any kind of nutritional benefit to any living entity on this bonny earth. Regretably, I now feel that I have to commensurably deny the validity or authority of any, and/or, all of the above, inebriated and nonsensicle ramblings which are of trivial importance or significance.

    I am adament about stressing the importance of the point, that you should not believe the ‘crap’ that is published on these stupid diet websites. It is completely misinformed, misleading and deceptive beyond belief!
    Eg. Fresh fruit juice has more sugar in it than coca-cola!

    - There are people who will take this ‘fact’ as a verifiable truth; as reality. Concernably, the media too often fails to inform of the obvious and numerous benefits of drinking fruit juice to drinking coke! (I refer to a very popular diet programme that aired in January, full of nonsense!)

    One last note: What in the creation of Christ is an “English muffin, with pizza sauce and grated cheese”??? Now, THAT is wrong!!
    That wisnae an idea conceived in Scotland…nae doot aboot it!

    Over and out- bed time.

  • http://twitter.com/paulmp/status/12100777696 Paul Pichugin

    RT @jearle: @paulmp CHeck out my food photography: http://23x.me/5 and http://23x.me/13 :-)

  • Glasgow x

    Omg I lovee pizza crunches :O the ones in the picture look disguting tho lol…. The ones they sell up here are amazing I didn’t know ppl outside scotland didn’t no about them :S I want one now… Thanks alot!!!!!!!:( xx

  • Doonhamer

    Loving Reading this! I’m from Scotland lived in Dumfries and now in Glasgow! We call this crunch pizza (why your calling it that I have no clue!) a half battered pizza! It’s so yummy! If you come to Scotland have it, you’ll crave one when you go home. And as for Aberdeen guy? I wouldn’t say this pizza taints our reputation luv, there’s far worse things go on than a pizza getting thrown into a fryer (yuuum)

  • http://myspace.com/retrokillerband Retro Killer

    god they both look artery-cloggingly good

    Come check us out
    myspace.com/retrokillerband

  • Jorge

    Nice work. As an aside, Belgian Fries or ‘Vlaamse Frietjes’ are fat chips, similar to the ones you find in the UK but a little less soggy and usually served with either Mayonnaise or ‘Kerrie Saus’.

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  • RandyO

    Hello there, in America, there is this phenomena known as the Pizza Roll, which is a Pizza wrapped in small Torilla and deep fried.

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