Spice bag

A spice bag (or spicebag, spicy bag, spice box or spicy box; Irish: mála spíosrach)[3] is a fast food dish, popular in most of Ireland and inspired by Asian cuisine.[4] The dish is most commonly sold in Chinese takeaways in Ireland.[5] Typically, a spice bag consists of deep-fried salt and chilli chips, salt and chilli chicken (usually shredded, occasionally balls/wings),[6] red and green peppers, sliced chili peppers, fried onions, and a variety of spices.[7] A vegetarian or vegan option is often available, in which deep fried tofu takes the place of the shredded chicken.[8] It is sometimes accompanied by a tub of curry sauce.[9][10][11][12]

Spice bag
Spice bag
Alternative namesSpicebag,[1] Spicy Bag, Spicy Box
Place of originIreland
Region or stateDublin[2]
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsFried chicken, Sichuan pepper, five-spice powder, Thai chili, onions, peppers, chips, salt
Home-bake spice box for sale in the Lidl supermarket

Available in Chinese takeaways and fish and chip shops since the 2010s,[13] the dish has developed something of a cult following, and a Facebook group created as a tribute to the dish has attracted over 17,000 members.[14] It is often cited as a popular "hangover cure".[15][14][16][17] It was voted 'Ireland's Favourite Takeaway Dish' in the 2020 Just Eat National Takeaway Awards in the Republic of Ireland, while in 2021 Deliveroo Ireland started a petition to create a "National Spice Bag Day".[18] The dish is not as common in Northern Ireland.[6]


According to RTÉ reporter Liam Geraghty, the dish was supposedly created in 2010 by The Sunflower Chinese takeaway in Templeogue, Dublin, with the first spice bag sold on Just Eat in 2012.[19]


  1. O'Shea, Joe (2 April 2021). "Behold the glory that is the Ballycotton Seafood Spicebag from Skinny's Diner". Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  2. O'Donoghue, Denise (4 March 2021). "First Dates Ireland recap: Mad Johnny sweeps Mary off her feet". IrishExaminer.com. Retrieved 24 March 2021. Kieran's face when he realised Carla didn't know what a spice bag was. When she asked if it's something that's cooked at home, you see him considering leaving there and then. "'Spice Bag' is in the Oxford Dictionary," he (mis)informed her, as he repeated the words 'spice bag' over and over and expected her to understand somehow what it was. "A spice bag's a thing. That's a cultural issue," he said. Indeed. Luckily, he plans to catch up with her in Dublin over a spice bag.
  3. "Táimid chomh gnóthach le gaoth Mhárta- Busy Bees" [We're as common as March winds - Busy Bees]. HomeEconomicsTeacher.com. 9 March 2015. Archived from the original on 20 May 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  4. "Spice bags have found their way on to the menu at a Washington DC restaurant". DailyEdge.ie. 1 December 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  5. Digby, Marie Claire. "Spice bag: How to make Ireland's favourite takeaway dish at home". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  6. "Four Star Pizza Lifts The Lid On The Spice Box". LoveBelfast.co.uk. 26 April 2021. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  7. Digby, Marie Claire (26 January 2017). "How to make a spice bag at home". Irish Times. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  8. "Scent@Home menu". Just Eat (Ireland). Archived from the original on 6 June 2021. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  9. "5 essential questions and answers about the spice bag phenomenon". DailyEdge.ie. 23 April 2015. Archived from the original on 29 July 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  10. Pattison, Brynmor (21 October 2015). "Spice bag named as Ireland's favourite takeaway dish - but what is it?". Irish Mirror. Archived from the original on 4 February 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  11. Diebold, Emily (28 October 2015). "The spice bag: Testing Dublin's latest takeaway craze on my family". Irish Independent. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  12. Duggan, Keith (14 March 2015). "McMahon Leading by Example". Irish Times. Archived from the original on 20 February 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016 via HighBeam Research.
  13. "We now know who invented the Spice Bag, and why it came about". Entertainment.ie. 2017. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  14. Flynn, Fiona (29 August 2016). "We now know who invented the Spice Bag, and why it came about". Entertainment.ie. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  15. Mooney, Ciara (22 September 2017). "Five miracle hangover cures that the Irish just love". RSVP Live. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  16. 98FM. "Here's 10 Of The Best Spice Bags In Dublin". www.98fm.com. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  17. "Irish teens are using '#spicebag' to tag their 'stunning' Instagram selfies". DailyEdge.ie. 20 October 2015. Archived from the original on 20 February 2016. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  18. Jones, Fionnuala (21 October 2021). "Here's How You Can Get A Free Mini Spice Bag In Dublin This Weekend". 98fm.com. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  19. Who invented the spice bag?, retrieved 21 December 2020 (Originally broadcast on The Business on RTE Radio 1 on 27/08/2016.)

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