The Fish in Fish-n-Chips
Perhaps the quintessential British pub meal, fish-n-chips is one of the most popular ways to enjoy fish for even the fussiest of eaters. Battered or breaded and then fried, the fish in fish-n-chips is almost always a flakey white fish. And because the cooking oils tend to cover any kind of fish taste, fish-n-chips is a safe bet for fussy kids or adults who shy away from seafood.
Generally, the fish in fish-n-chips is cod or haddock. In the UK, pub diners are used to plaice in their fish-n-chips, but plaice is generally not available in the US. Tilapia is becoming a popular fish for the dish given its light texture and subtle flavors.
In the UK, most fish is battered, then fried. However, in the US, you might find that you have the option between breaded fish and battered fish. Breaded fish tends to be a bit more delicate. The batter, in battered fish, often creates a shell within which the fish sits. Also, you might find that in the UK, restaurants and pubs will frequently leave the skin on one side of the fish. This is less common in the US.
Of course, fish-n-chips comes with the chips that Americans call French fries. Fries are always significantly better if they are freshly cut and fried, instead of being frozen. But a real fish-n-chips meal also comes with mushy peas. Mushy peas are uniquely British, and they are simply semi-mashed peas served alongside the fish-n-chips.
If a fried fish meal appeals to you, ask your restaurant server about the kinds of options you have for the types of fish and its preparation (battered or breaded).