A Yorkshire fish and chip shop has opened a new branch in China.
Scotts Fish And Chips in York has proved to be a big hit with Chinese tourists visiting the UK over the last 18 months.
That success led to a Chinese businessman, Jimmy Yu, approaching the shop’s owner, Tony Webster, about opening a branch in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan.
Mr Webster attended the official opening in Chengdu over the weekend, and said he was “genuinely surprised” at how good the fish and chips – made to his own shop’s recipe – tasted.
“I was worried before I arrived but they are very, very good,” he told the PA news agency. “The one thing from the beginning with Jimmy Yu, he wanted to be authentic.
“You have to tweak the menu and the flavours to the local taste – so they have Sichuan sauce, for example, as well as ketchup – but the core product has to be the authentic fish and chips and they’ve done a bloody good job on that.”
Mr Webster found success with visitors from China to Yorkshire after having his menu translated into Mandarin and establishing a presence for his shop on Chinese social media.
That saw coach parties of tourists from China eating at the shop and earned coverage in Chinese media last year, which brought it to the attention of Mr Yu.
Mr Webster was first approached by Mr Yu last December, and the pair worked out a licensing agreement which saw Scotts’ first Chinese branch open less than a year later – with the potential of more to follow.
“They are looking to roll it out across China with already talk of two or three more sites next year,” Mr Webster said. “We’ve met the investors and had dinner, and they’re really excited. You never know, but it could be the start of a good partnership.”
The food seems to have been a success with the locals so far, with the only issue being the portion size.
“One of the things we’ve found in the UK and they’re finding here is the portion is too big,” Mr Webster said. “I was talking to some customers on Saturday and there were two ladies sharing one portion, so they’re going to start doing a small portion.”
Without a doubt, the highlight of my diplomatic career so far; the opening ceremony of a Yorkshire fish & chip shop in Chengdu! Welcome to southwest China @scottsfishnchip – looking forward to frequenting this restaurant far more than is considered healthy… #FoodIsGREAT 🇬🇧🇨🇳 pic.twitter.com/uK8aZKhv6D
— Ash Green (@AshUKTradeCQ) November 23, 2019
While Mr Webster says he has shared all his “recipes and methodologies” with the new shop, there is one traditional aspect of the cooking process that has not yet been adopted.
Mr Webster said: “They’re in veg oil at the minute but I’ve had words with them at the weekend to say, ‘look, you need to try and find some beef dripping out here’.”