Bloaters are a type of whole cold-smoked herring. Bloaters are "salted and lightly smoked without gutting, giving a characteristic slightly gamey flavour" and are particularly associated with Great Yarmouth, England. Popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the food is now described as rare. Bloaters are sometimes called Yarmouth bloater, or, jokingly, as a Yarmouth capon, two-eyed steak, or Billingsgate pheasant (after the Billingsgate Fish Market in London).
Bloaters are distinct from kippers in that bloaters are cured whole herring, while kippers are split smoked herring. Additionally, while the bloater is associated with England, kippers are associated with Scotland and the Isle of Man (the Manx kipper). Bloaters are "salted less and smoked for a shorter time" while kippers are "lightly salted and smoked overnight"; both dishes are referred to as red herring. According to George Orwell in The Road to Wigan Pier, "The Emperor Charles V is said to have erected a statue to the inventor of bloaters." They are given the name "bloater" since they are swelled, or "bloated" in preparation.
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- Orwell, George (2003) . "Chapter 6". The Road to Wigan Pier. george-orwell.org. Archived from the original on March 17, 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
Yet it is curious how seldom the all-importance of food is recognized. You see statues everywhere ... but none to cooks or bacon-curers or market gardeners. The Emperor Charles V is said to have erected a statue to the inventor of bloaters, but that is the only case I can think of at the moment.
- Partridge, Eric (1983). Origins: a short etymological dictionary of modern English (1983 ed.). New York: Greenwich House. p. 50. ISBN 0-517-41425-2.