Four years ago I wrote the Glasgow and West Coast Cook Book, collecting recipes from some of the city’s longest established and most popular restaurants.

Taken as a whole, it was a culinary portrait of a city that takes its food seriously, chefs striving to expand horizons and a local population with an eye for comfort food, fresh fish, a good breakfast and plenty of snacks.

I’m currently working on a book that will bring together a new set of local food stories. Which led me to the question, what’s the one food that you associate with Glasgow?

Glasgow Times:

Billy Connolly has his own answer: “Go to Glasgow at least once in your life and have a roll and square sliced sausage and a cup of tea. When you feel the tea coursing over your spice-singed tongue, you’ll know what I mean when I say: It’s good to be alive.”

Glasgow Times:

Chef and travel journalist Anthony Bourdain visited the city in 2015, drawn to the curries of Mother India and the deep-fried delights of the University Cafe. “Haddock battered and floating, adrift in a sea of mysterious oil. The accumulated flavours of many magical things, as it bobs like Noah’s Ark, bringing life in all its infinite variety.” His order was battered haddock with chips, cheese and curry sauce, deep-fried haggis and a bottle of Irn Bru.

“I’m pretty sure God is against this,” he said.

Expanding on a similar theme, the Tartan Army crowd at Hampden during a football match against Italy in 2007 invoked a local delicacy with the chant: “Deep fry your pizzas, we’re going to deep fry your pizzas.” It’s a local past-time.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Top Glasgow chef sparks Mortons roll debate - what do you put in yours?

When I asked readers of Glasgowist what food they thought of as the definitive local dish, most agreed that it was, indeed, a roll and square sausage. Served specifically on Mortons Rolls, originally founded by Bob Morton and Jim Clarke in 1965 at their bakery in Temple, Anniesland. Glasgow chef Gary Maclean calls their crispy roll a masterpiece. Whether it should be well-fired is a whole different discussion.

A popular place for Lorne sausage is Comet Pieces on Queen Margaret Drive. It piles up fillings in breakfast rolls like Isa from Still Game – smoked streaky bacon, fried egg, black pudding, maybe a tattie scone, with a kick of hot sauce.

Commuters pick up a roll and slice at Gordon Street Coffee beside Central Station. Celino’s in Partick or Coia’s in Dennistoun are personal favourites. Rose and Grants on Trongate has a vegan version spiced with nutmeg, pepper and cumin.

Glasgow Times:

Memories of chips and cheese after nights on Sauchiehall Street represent Glasgow to some. Many of the other suggestions were rooted in a sense of nostalgia.

A piece and jam, whelks from Loch Fyne Shellfish Bar at The Barras, peas and vinegar in a tub then some hot doughnuts and a bottle of ginger.

A Glasgow oyster, otherwise known as a pie in a roll. Pakora! Stovies! Fish and chips! 

The question brought together a formidable collection of dishes, mostly beige, fried and delicious. Food and drink in the city has entered a globally-influenced, dynamic and exciting period, presented in glorious technicolour – you can order your square sausage in a bao bun these days and your chips in a gyro.

Alongside avocado on sourdough with spicy n’duja, creme fraiche, tomato and pickled shallot for brunch on Sunday I shared a slice of deep-fried lasagne with spicy dip at Partick Duck Club and it was a joy.

Nods to the past and embracing the entirety of the Glasgow diet, with all the complications and comfort that brings, is still a part of the city.