Deep-fried Mars bar

Deep-fried Mars bar
Homemade deep-fried Mars Bars

A deep-fried Mars bar is an ordinary Mars bar normally fried in a type of batter commonly used for deep-frying fish, sausages, and other battered products. The chocolate bar is typically chilled before battering to prevent it from melting into the frying fat, though a cold Mars can fracture when heated.

The dish originated at chip shops in Scotland as a novelty item, but was never mainstream. Since various mass media have reported on the practice since the mid 1990s, in part as a commentary on urban Scotland's notoriously unhealthy diet,[1] the popularity of the dish has spread.



It is said to have been invented in the Haven Chip Bar in Stonehaven, near Aberdeen on Scotland's northeast coast, in 1995.[2][3] The first recorded mention of the food was in the Aberdeen Evening Express following a tip off phone call to their journalist Alastair Dalton that a chip shop in Stonehaven had been deep frying Mars Bars for local kids. The Evening Express article included a quote from Mars spokesperson who said this was the first time they had heard of this being done with their product. The following day the story was picked up and run in the Daily Record, August 24, 1995, in an article titled "Mars supper, please".[4] This triggered a chain reaction with Scottish broadsheets The Herald and Scotsman running the story the following day and the UK broadsheets the day after, each adding their own cultural slant. Day five and Keith Chegwin were doing taste tests on the Big Breakfast TV program and the story was going out globally on the BBC World Service. Chip shops around the country immediately responded by putting it on their menus. Essentially one phone call to a local paper with a 'quirky' story transformed - in a space of just a few days - a bit of innocent fun between a chip shop owner and some local children in a Highland fishing village into a global cultural and gastronomic phenomenon.


Deep fried Mars bar and Snickers (medium sized) with vanilla ice cream and butterscotch sauce

In a study published in The Lancet in December 2004, David Morrison (Greater Glasgow NHS Board, UK) and Mark Petticrew (MRC Social & Public Health Sciences Unit) surveyed around 300 Scottish fish and chip shops: 22% sold deep-fried Mars bars, while an additional 17% of those surveyed had sold them in the past. Of the shops selling deep-fried Mars, three-quarters had only been selling them for the past 3 years. Average sales were 23 bars per week, although 10 outlets sold between 50 and 200 bars a week. The average price per bar was 60 pence, and the younger generation were the main purchasers—three-quarters were sold to children and 15% to adolescents.[4]

Deep-fried Mars bars were found in a March 2003 Time for Kids article which addressed the popularity and health concern of these treats.

The deep-fried Mars bar is mentioned in UK quarterly The Idler's book Crap Towns II: The Nation Decides in the article on Glasgow. 'SJ' writes: "They aren't an urban myth: they are available in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. I ate one on a cold December night. It was quite nice. Then I was sick."

In 2009, it featured in the UK amateur cookery competition Britain's Best Dish, when Adele McVay brought her own version of the Scottish pudding to the masses describing it as "Britain's Best Joke".[5]

Oh My Cod! - British Cafe[6] in Bangkok also lists deep-fried Mars bars on their menu. Originally added to the menu as a joke, the item has now become a firm favourite with tourists and local customers.

The Fish & Chip room [7] in Dubai, UAE also sells battered Mars bars for AED 10 (Approximately £1.90).

Culinary influence

Placard on the Carron fish shop, Stonehaven

The deep-fried Mars bar has also given rise to the frying of other confections, for example, Reiver's Fish Bar in Duns annually advertises an 'Easter Special' of deep-fried Creme Egg, although this is available all year. Deep-fried Snickers have also been reported, particularly in the US where that brand is more popular.[8] In her book and television series Nigella Bites, Nigella Lawson includes a recipe for a deep-fried Bounty bar.[9]

Mars Bar fritters were made, and sampled, by Australian comedian Rod Quantock in the 1981 TV comedy series Ratbags. In that show Rod did a segment on cooking with Mars Bars which included making such delicacies as stuffed Mars Bars (in the manner of stuffed olives) and Mars Bar fritters (a Mars Bar coated in batter and deep fried).

See also


  1. ^ Original source, Scottish Daily Record via:- "Deep-fried Mars myth is dispelled", BBC News online. BBC article dated 17 December 2004, retrieved 2006-11-15.
  2. ^ McColm, Euan (February 26, 2000). "No Haven for the Deep Fried Mars Bar; Birthplace of the Battered Choccy Treat Closes Down". Daily Record. 
  3. ^ French batter Mars bars menu publisher:BBC News BBC News
  4. ^ a b Morrison, David S; Petticrew, Mark (2004). "Deep and crisp and eaten: Scotland's deep-fried Mars bar". The Lancet 364 (9452): 2180. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(04)17589-2. PMID 15610802. 
  5. ^ Link text, Britain's Best Dish 2009: Adele McVay's Deep-Fried Mars Bar.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Deep Fried Snickers
  9. ^ Deep Fried Bounty

External links

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