It is a delicacy which cannot be battered, even when a drizzly wind is whipping in from the North Sea.
Tucking into a freshly fried fish supper by the Stonehaven coastline has been named one of the world’s best culinary experiences.
The quintessentially Scottish meal polled high in a new list of must-do eating experiences around the world, compiled by the respected travel guide publisher, Lonely Planet.
The prospect of savouring a portion of fish and chips in the north east town was the highest UK entry on the list of 500 experiences from around the world, which is billed as a bucket list for serious foodies.
The authors of the guide have advised prospective tourists to head along to the Aberdeenshire town’s award-winning Bay Fish & Chips eatery to order a battered cod, a large serving of chips and - what else - a can of Irn Bru.
There, they write, patrons will find fish which has been wild caught from Marine Stewardship Council certified stocks, but more than that, visitors are sure to fall in love with the setting.
Stonehaven, the entry explains, is a picturesque bolthole, where “sailing boats bob in the harbour,” the rockpools “teem with crabs and sea stars,” and “gulls ride on the breeze.”
It adds: “Considering the setting, the sustainability and the beautifully cooked fish, is it the best fish and chip shop in the world? The constant queue suggests so.”
The Bay Fish & Chips, which was founded 12 years ago, placed 31st in the worldwide list, with the UK’s second highest entry - eating smoked salmon in North Uist’s Hebridean Smokehouse - also hailing from Scotland, placing not far behind at 39.
The guide explains: “Picture an old brick kiln on an island off the Scottish coast, smoke curling slowly from a hole in the roof, and inside, rows of pink salmon fillets hanging over smouldering piles of whisky-soaked wood.
“Imagine the smell of the smoke entwined with the sweet fishiness of the salmon, and the sound of the waves. No wonder cold-smoked salmon from the Outer Hebrides, with its buttery flesh touched by the aroma of that smoke, is a popular choice for ‘best in the world’.
“It comes from a place so peaceful, so patient, that if you visit, you might never complete that half-composed tweet about #slowfood. You could go on a yoga retreat and eat wholefoods, or you could go to Scotland and eat smoked salmon with the odd glass of single malt. Your call.”
Other Scottish experiences on Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist include enjoying haggis at a Burns Supper (162nd place), savouring the “Scottish national treasure” that is Arbroath smokies (163rd), and devouring a plate of fresh langoustine at Ullapool’s Arch Inn restaurant (221st).
The final Scottish entry (450th) was ordering a chicken tikka masala at Glasgow’s Shish Mahal restaurant, one of the city’s oldest Indian eateries.
The top three places in the list were occupied by sampling pintxos in San Sebastian’s old town, trying curry laksa in Kuala Lumpur, and eating sushi in bustling Tokyo.