The Scots get a taste for fried Mars bar and chips

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Walk into the Haven fish and chip shop in Stonehaven and ask for a Mars bar from the sweet counter. "Plain or in batter?" asks Evelyn Balgowan, who has been frying in the town's leading chippy since she was 14. For locals there is only one answer: "In batter, with chips."

This year Scots, for whom fried food is the only food, have invented a new dish - the Mars bar supper; the famous combination of sugar, glucose and chocolate covered in thick, thick fish-batter, with a plastic tray of chips, for just 99p.

It started in Stonehaven, near Aberdeen, which until now has only been famous for its fish. This summer one local man, bored with his daily staple, asked Miss Balgowan for a Mars bar and suggested she fry it. "I just dunked it in the batter and chucked it in the frier," she said. "The batter stopped the chocolate melting and the result was crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside." The man liked the new sweet take- away and, once local children heard about the delicacy, the queue at 4pm stretched round the block. Ria Fowler, 15, who works in her auntie's fish shop after school, said she liked the new, warm Mars because "it's sweet and sticks to your teeth".

And now that the dish's popularity is spreading- Mars bars are frying tonight across Scotland - the Haven has extended its menu to include deep-fried Yorkies, Snickers, Crunchies, even Chewitts. But not everyone is happy. Some parents have criticised the chippie for encouraging youngsters to eat high-fat, high-cholesterol food in a country which has the worst heart-disease record in Western Europe. Miss Balgowan has even received hate mail. But she defends her creation: "It's not that much worse than a normal Mars bar."

And the taste? For a true Stonehaven supper the Independent recommends a large deep-fried pickled egg with salad cream and chips, followed by a lightly fried Mars bar, all washed down with Glasgow's finest - warm Irn-Bru.