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A Taste of Northern Ireland: Exploring Traditional Cuisine

Sami has enjoyed experiencing unique NI cuisine since her move to Belfast for postgraduate study. Check out her top picks below.

Students eating at the Parlour

After moving to Belfast, I learned that food is just a wee bit different than what I was accustomed to in America. However, I have learned to love the food just as much (if not more!). Below is a list of 5 ‘traditional cuisines’ and my opinions about how they taste!

Belfast Bap

In my opinion, St. George’s Market has one of the best Belfast Baps around! A Belfast Bap is a breakfast sandwich with tons of sausage and bacon. In addition to meat, the Belfast Bap also comes with an egg and is covered in red or brown sauce. It is a delicious sandwich, but I highly recommend sharing it with a friend since it is very large!

Belfast Bap

The iconic Belfast Bap!

Irish Stew

Irish stew is a hearty, thick stew that is often made with meat (such as beef or lamb) as well as potatoes and vegetables. Although I am not the biggest fan of stews, I have found myself relying on the warmth and tastiness of Irish stew during the Baltic winters.

Bowl of stew

There's nothing like a warm, comforting bowl of Irish stew

Soda Bread

Soda bread is a delicious bread made with sodium bicarbonate instead of yeast to help the bread rise. The texture is quite unique, and it is a bit grainy rather than doughy. Soda bread is a mix between white bread and flat bread. It can be eaten alone or with a topping including jam and butter. However, one of my favourite ways to eat soda bread is with a bowl of good Irish stew!

Irish soda bread

Soda bread is a staple of Irish breakfasts

Ulster Fry

If you love a big breakfast in the morning, the Ulster Fry is for you! This traditional Irish breakfast typically consists of bacon, black pudding, fried egg, sausages, soda bread, and potato farls but every Ulster Fry is cooked a different way and includes other foods such as tomatoes and mushrooms. The Ulster Fry is decadent and is something that I recommend you try at least once in Northern Ireland! Although I typically will not get the full Ulster Fry, being able to experience a typical Irish breakfast allowed me to learn more about the culture of the place that I’ve called home for the past year, in addition giving my taste buds a treat!

Ulster fry in Maggie Mays

Image courtesy of Maggie Mays, Belfast Cafe


I have found that Fifteens are a staple traybake in Northern Ireland. They got their name as fifteen of each ingredient are used, such as crushed digestive biscuits and marshmallows. The rest of the ingredients depend on the recipe that is being followed but most include coconut, chocolate, or cherries. They’re super simple to make (which makes it an ideal treat for a gathering) and are also quite tasty.



There is no shortage of tasty dishes to try

This list is certainly not the entirety of Irish food within Northern Ireland and there are plenty of other dishes such as champ (mashed potatoes with scallions), barmbrack (yeast bread with added sultanas and raisins), vegetable rolls (cuts of lean beef and seasoned with fresh herbs and vegetables), and Irish coffee. I recommend that you try all of these tasty dishes to learn more about the culture of Northern Ireland, the place that you are calling home!

Irish coffee

Irish coffee


Find out more

Eating out in Belfast

More student blogs about Food in Belfast

Street Food and Markets in Belfast


Sami Koitz

Conflict Transformation & Social Justice | Postgraduate Student | Maryland USA

I've always been interested in the Middle East, specifically the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and non-profits that work towards building bridges between divided societies.

I am from Maryland, USA (about a nine-hour flight from Queens) and graduated in 2022 from Susquehanna University with a double major in Communication Studies & International Studies.

Outside of academics, I am a member of the equestrian team, Jewish Society, and wakeboarding club. I love meeting new people and I look forward to chatting with you.

Sami Koitz