What are Irish Rashers & Bangers? Rashers are bacon but Irish bacon is not like American bacon. Irish bacon is like slices of fried ham. Bangers are sausage but not like Jimmy Dean patties or links. Sausages in Ireland are about the size of a hotdog.
A traditional Irish breakfast is big and hearty: rashers, bangers, eggs, beans, mushrooms, soda bread and/or potato bread. Sometimes they will add sliced tomatoes and black and/or white pudding (not your mother’s sweet dessert pudding).
White pudding is a small fried oatmeal & meat pressed disk that they call a pudding for some reason. Add blood to the white pudding and you have black pudding (think blood sausage). The white and the black are often served in tandem. I like just about everything but I don’t particularly cotton to the puddings although I ate some before I knew how they were made (pretty dry and salty on the palate). A traditional Scottish breakfast looks much the same except they will often include haggis. I think haggis is an acquired taste and I haven’t tried it yet.
Haggis: Historically, when hunters made their kill, they would use up the offal, which went off first, using the cleaned animal’s stomach as a cooking bag. Minced heart, liver and lungs are bulked out with oatmeal, onions, suet, seasoning and spices before cooking. Nowadays natural casings are still used, but synthetic ones are becoming more common. Taste? Haggis is like a crumbly sausage, with a coarse oaty texture and a warming peppery flavour. Boy I bet your mouth is just watering up a storm about now isn’t it?
There is much to like about a traditional Irish or Scottish breakfast but there are also a few things that my squeamish American palate doesn’t quite fancy. Our hostel features an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet downstairs for £5 GBP (served from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.). They offer just about everything shown on this page including the haggis. I might try just a small dollop of haggis tomorrow so I can say that I actually ate some—but then again I might not. I do like their rashers & bangers well enough and it’s hard to screw up eggs (although it can be done).