The newspaper wrapping may have gone but the taste remains the same.

And that’s the reason many of us still crave a portion of fish and chips.

It’s been a British tradition for something like 150 years and shows no sign of abating.

It may be the fish, fried in crisp batter, or the chips, soaked in salt and vinegar with that distinctive aroma.

Whatever it is, the seafood industry has just launched their annual aawards, the “Oscars” of the chippy trade, and expect a great response.

The 2017 National Fish & Chip Awards are calling on fish and chip businesses to get their entries in, to showcase the best talent, quality and choice offered by fish and chip businesses across the UK through 13 award categories.

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The dish grew in popularity among the working classes particularly as the North Sea fishing trade grew in the mid 19th centruy and railways linked the ports with the major towns and cities of the north.

Joseph Malin is credited with opening the world’s fisrt proper fish and chip shop in London in 1860, but there had been mentions of a “fried fish warehouse” in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist.

The EU did have a say in the industry. Fish and chip shops in Britain traditionally wrapped their meals in old newspapers, but an EU directive in 2008 ruled that they must be replaced with plain paper of plastic.

Gareth Shaw has been frying fish and chips at Towngate Fisheries in Newsome for the past 18 months and says there’s no secret.

Millie Booth serving fish and chips at Towngate Fisheries, Newsome.

“It’s down to three things: cleanliness, buying quality ingredients and keeping your frying fat clean.

“I buy Icelandic cod and I clean it, bone it and fillet it myself. Some prefer to buy frozen fillets but I prefer to prepare them myself.

“I only use Maris Piper potatoes and the fat is the best quality beef dripping.

“Once you get the battered fish in the fat, the fish itself cooks very quickly but the batter takes time to crisp up. Depending on how many fish your have in the frier at the time, it comes out at between four and four and a half minutes.

“The recipe seems to be working; most customers still opt for fish and chips.”

Mel Groundsell, corporate relations director of Seafish, said: “From traditional coastal resorts to buzzing city centres, entries are open to any fish and chip business, big or small, with a passion for frying and providing fantastic customer service.

“With an incredible level of talent in the UK fish and chip industry, it’s important we recognise businesses and individuals for their dedication and expertise.

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“The awards provide an excellent opportunity to put skills and knowledge to the test, while continually setting high standards for the industry to aspire to.”

And it doesn’t have to be unhealthy.

Studies revealed a medium serving of cod or haddock has 838 calories and 9.42 grams of fat, which is less than any other fast food.

A portion also provides essential vitamins C, B6 and B12, omega-3 fatty acid, some iron, zinc and calcium as well as iodine.

French fries are only skinny in appearance. When it comes to healthy chips, the fatter the better, because bigger chips absorb less fat. Potatoes are also a good source of fibre, potassium and vitamin C.