After making the 11-hour journey from China to the UK, many Chinese visitors to Britain will have a list of iconic tourist destinations to visit during their stay: Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the house from Downton Abbey, and, erm … a chip shop just off the A64.
As reported by the BBC this week, Scotts Fish and Chips in North Yorkshire has become an unlikely tourist attraction for Chinese visitors, serving more than 100 guests from China every week. To accommodate its new clientele, the eatery has translated its menu into Mandarin and placed advertisements on popular Chinese social media apps Weibo and WeChat.
The popularity of fish and chips among Chinese visitors to Britain goes back to 2015, when then-Prime Minister David Cameron took Chinese President Xi Jinping to a pub in Buckinghamshire for a fish supper, thus inspiring future visitors from China to do the same.
Although Scotts is not the establishment that the Chinese head of state dined at, it is located at a convenient pitstop between London and York, two popular city destinations for Chinese tourists. As a result, the chippy is regularly packed with customers making the journey between the two cities.
Staff at Scotts have come up with innovative ways to serve the large tourist coaches. Manager Roxy Vasai told the BBC, “We look out for a coach and when they're coming we shout, ‘They're here, there are 20, 30, 40, let's make it ready for them.’”
Scotts may have cornered the Chinese tourist market, but are its chips any good? Reviews from TripAdvisor would seem to suggest so. “The chips cooked in beef dripping [were] delicious and the fish very fresh with not too much batter,” writes one reviewer, while another happy guest states: “Forget McDonald's go to the chippy. £4.20 for a HUGE fish butty. Some old school cans of pop too cherryade and limeade mmmm.”
Who needs Big Ben?