Winston Churchill called them “the good companions”. John Lennon smothered his in tomato ketchup. Michael Jackson liked them with mushy peas. We call them…fish & chips.
Deep-fried fish was first introduced into Britain during the 16th century by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain, and is derived from Pescado Frito. In 1860, the first fish and chip shop was opened in London by Joseph Malin.
Deep-fried chips (slices or pieces of potato) as a dish may have first appeared in Britain in about the same period: the Oxford English Dictionary notes as its earliest usage of “chips” in this sense the mention in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities (published in 1859): “Husky chips of potatoes, fried with some reluctant drops of oil”. Charles Dickens also refers to an early fish shop or “fried fish warehouse” in Oliver Twist (1839) where the fish generally came with bread or baked potatoes.
Oddly enough, the chip may have been invented as a substitute for fish, rather than an accompaniment. When the rivers froze over and nothing could be caught, resourceful housewives began cutting potatoes into fishy shapes and frying them as an alternative.