Irish people do love their potatoes! However, there is so much more in Irish cooking to be explored! Student Ambassador Viviane tells us about some of the food she has encountered since moving here from Brazil. Keep reading to find out what some of her favourite dishes are…

Hi everyone! My name is Viviane, I am 31 years old and living in Cork, Ireland. I am a Masters in Public Health student at University College Cork, and I guess you could say I am a food lover!

One of the concerns of international students when we want to move abroad is about the food. As a typical Brazilian, I love good homemade food. I, as well as the other Brazilian students who came to Ireland with me, always talked about the food!


More than just potatoes, potatoes, potatoes…

Full Irish breakfast (photo: Viviane)


At first I thought Irish cuisine was just potatoes and more potatoes, but I was wrong! I’m glad to say I was positively surprised. At first, I fell in love with Irish beef stew. I love a good stew with lots of vegetables and nice meat. Another famous Irish dish is the full-Irish breakfast. Initially, I was pretty judgemental. In Brazil, our breakfast is more continental, with bread, some fruit and a good coffee. 

But when I came across rashers, sausages, eggs, black and white pudding, hash browns and baked beans… I was very shocked! In particular, the beans! They are very sweet, which is different from home. Beans in Brazil are almost a religion! But after eating these sweeter beans, you get used to it. Now, I always prepare for a full-Irish breakfast on Sundays. It’s not the type of breakfast that is eaten early at 8:00am, it’s more eaten as brunch, in between breakfast and lunchtime. 

When I moved here, I thought this breakfast was eaten every day! But this isn’t true. One thing I’ve heard is that it’s an excellent breakfast meal for after a fun night out in a pub!


Another Irish dish that is popular here is fish and chips. It’s nothing more than french fries with a breaded fish fillet, and is usually served with mushy peas and tartare sauce. I have nostalgia when it comes to fish and chips, because it was my first meal here in Ireland. I was starving to death after my travels, and the closest place to eat was one of the best fish and chip shops in town. Lucky me!


My new food finds!

Delicious food at home! (photo: Viviane)

Personally I love potatoes. If Irish cooking was all potatoes, I would be happy about it. I love a nice, fluffy mashed potato, here in Ireland, in addition to mashed potatoes, there is also a delicious gravy. I love, love, love gravy! Chicken gravy, beef gravy, it doesn’t matter. I could eat gravy every day for sure!

Also made with potatoes is a type of pie that is made up of a layer of ground beef or lamb! If the pie is made with lamb it’s called shepherd’s pie and if it is made with beef it is called cottage pie. I really like it, especially cottage pie!


In short, what I’m getting at is, don’t worry about the food here in Ireland. You will be amazed by Irish cuisine. There may only be a handful of dishes, but they sure have a lot of flavours. If you feel homesick for food, there is always a Brazilian, Asian, African or Polish supermarket close by to come to the rescue, and save you on days of nostalgia!

Viviane is working towards a Masters in Public Health at University College Cork.