THERE IS A long basin of steaming liquid, brown and glistening. It ripples and swills under the fluorescent light as a young man in a baseball cap dips a long ladle in. Expertly catching the drips, he dollops two glutinous spoonfuls over the contents of a thin cardboard box in his other hand and turns back to the counter, placing the dish gently next to the cash register before ringing up the sale. In the Supermac’s on Galway’s Eyre Square, just before twelve o’clock on a showery Monday morning, another portion of curry chips is ready to go.
Supermac’s is an Irish institution. It dished up chips when the country was an economic backwater, flipped burgers through the boom; and as we flounder through the recession like flies in ketchup, it’s still going strong. The chain has 92 branches nationwide, each one showcasing its combination of the hyper-branding of international fast food – burgers are cooked on a SuperGrill; diners may Go Large for 75c – with uniquely Irish delicacies like garlic-cheese fries and the Snack Box. In many towns, the Supermac’s is the first place to open in the mornings and the last still dishing out nourishment to stragglers from the pubs.