Saveloy: The Bright Red Chippy Sausage Thing

Saveloy sausages on a plat with salad
Some saveloy.

Asides from fish and chips, the British chippy is also famous for pies and these bright red sausage things. That’s a saveloy. Let’s learn all about it!

What’s Saveloy?

It’s a highly seasoned sausage that appears to be bright red. As it is. It’s boiled and you can find it in most fish and chips shops.

It’s basically an English version of a hotdog. And every bit as unhealthy. And it’s usually served with chips.

It has a distinctive red colour as it’s cooked in water with red colouring added.

And what’s the difference between a sausage and a saveloy? Well, it’s definitely in the sausage family. It’s just highly seasoned and dry.

Despite being a distinctly British thing, you’re most likely to find the saveloy served in either Essex, Newcastle, Stoke-on-Trent, or London.

There’s even a nod to the saveloy in Withnail & I (set in London, 1969). That’s from the four-minute mark below.

But you can also get the sausage quite readily in Australia and New Zealand, where it’s common at sporting events.

Here in Blighty, we often get the feeling it’s added to the menu simply out of tradition. And for little other reason.

You always see a saveloy in the grill heating area of a chippy, sitting there waiting for someone to buy it.

But no one ever does. It’s always just another batch of fish, chips, and gravy. Ta very much, love.

What’s the History of Saveloy?

Once again, this is a classic “British” dish with lots of French heritage. The name likely came from Middle French with cervelas.

And that’s from Old Italian for “pigs brains” (the former key ingredient), which is cervellato.

It didn’t crop up in English until 1784.

Obviously, the sausage looks a fair bit like German frankfurts. Although they’re distinct due to the overall size of the things.

However, saveloy in Australia and New Zealand tend to be larger than in England. They have the nickname “savs”, whichever of the three you journey to.

Although in New Zealand there’s an adaptation of the saveloy battered and on a stick. Kind of like a corn dog, we guess, not that we get the latter in England.

How Do You Make Saveloy?

If you fancy making some sausages, you can try out the geezer’s example above.

Otherwise, you’ll likely find it best to just buy one from a supermarket or something. And then boil the bastard up.

Failing that, get on a plane to either England, Australia, or New Zealand.

Then, find your nearest fish and chips shop and/or outdoor event. Voila! You’ll be able to get one from a store assistant.

10 comments

  1. Saveloys are definitely a thing here in NZ, as you say at sports events. I ate one on a stick just last week. It’s a unique experience – they’re always dipped in a basin of tomato sauce, in which floats bits of batter broken off the last 300 savs dipped into it, and you walk away desperately trying not to let the sauce drip anywhere while waiting for the thing to cool down. The aroma is unique, though a lot of that is due to the fact that the chippie caravans they’re made in last changed their cooking oil in 1862.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I swear few people buy them here in Blighty, they sit there in chippies looking all lonely. Glad NZ embraces them at least. However, with all the seafood available over there I know what I’d be eating over fast food and sausages.

      Liked by 1 person

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