Spice bag. No, it’s not the forgotten member of the well-known girl band. It’s probably the greatest gastronomic underdog story of all time. It’s the tale of two cultures combining and creating something majestic.

Spice bag. Probably the greatest takeaway treats there is. And one of the finest things to come out of the shores of Ireland.

What is this mythical dish you talk of?

Spice bag. The evolution of the ‘3 in 1’ (another great Irish dish, made from rice, curry sauce and chips). Broken down, it’s chicken, chips, onions, peppers and (believe it or not) spices. All in a bag, shaken, not stirred. Usually enjoyed with a side of curry sauce. But that’s doing it a disservice. The spice bag is so much more.

The origins.

Spice bag. Its invention is shrouded in legend, but experts believe that it was invented by chefs at the Chinese restaurant Sunflower in Dublin, back in 2010. One stormy night, with the rain battering the windows, the wind howling and the fog engulfing the streetlamps, something magical happened. One of the staff wanted a post-work snack. He grabbed what he could find: crispy fried chicken, some leftover veggies, chips and an array of Chinese spices. He shoved them all in a bag, shook them up and puff, the Chinese and Irish traditions colluded, merged, united and produced the spice bag.

Spice bag. The two words quickly spread around Dublin. The humble staff meal was soon becoming an underground sensation in the takeaway circles of the city. It was the perfect treat: ideal for a post night out feast, an indulgent meal or a necessary hangover cure. The ideal blend of carbs, protein and veggies, the dish caught the imagination of the nation and its popularity grew and grew. Until…

Crowning glory

Spice bag. Officially the best dish in Ireland. In 2015, the spice bag was voted Ireland’s favourite takeaway at Just Eat’s National Takeaway Awards. That’s when you know you have made it as a dish. You have become the people’s champion. You are their ray of sunlight on a dreary day. You are their comfort, a warm embrace when nothing else will do. So thank you spice bag, you beautiful mix of tender chicken, golden fries and aromatic spices. We salute you.

Feeling hungry? Well if you’re lucky enough to be in Ireland soon, check out Just Eat’s infamous spice bag page. And if not… why not order chicken, chips and peppers from your local Chinese and compose your own?