Scotland isn't exactly known for its tradition of sophisticated cuisine, but there's been more and more high-quality restaurants opening in the country all the time, and although day-to-day Scottish food tends towards stodge and fat, there are some products and dishes that you just have to try.
Like many cultures from wet and cold places, Scots are good at grain products, and cakes and pastries are something of a national weakness. Try the Dundee Cake -- a ground-almond enriched fruit-cake covered with whole almonds, or the Black Bun, a dark almost flour-less Christmas concoction covered in plain pastry traditionally associated with Hogmany (New Year).
Savoury pastries of note include butteries, the Scottish take on a croissant, salty, flaky and delightful if eaten hot, with extra butter (the ''buttery'' of the name is a misnomer, as the rolls are made with lard and yeasty dough). A quick lunch is often a Scotch Pie or a Bridie grabbed from a bakery -- both mince-meat filled pasties, the first one a somewhat plain one, usually round, the latter a flaky pocket with savoury filling. When bed, both can be atrocious, but when good, they are lovely if rather greasy.
A ''fish supper'' is what Scots call the fish and chips, and the best Scottish chippies serve fantastic versions of this British traditional take away indeed: with fat, crispy chips with fluffy insides and fresh fish in light batter. You will be always asked if you want salt and vinegar, and you should, to cut through the grease.
A chippie is a heaven for deep-fry fans and the nation that ostensibly invented a deep-fried Mars bar (though in all honesty I only ever saw Japanese tourists ordering those) deep-fries in batter everything else too, including sausages, chicken and haggis.
Speaking of which, haggis is indeed something that needs to be tried. Traditionally associated with the Burns Night celebrations on 25th January, haggis is an oatmeal and meat (mostly offal) concoction If you have it in a gastro-pub or a restaurant, it will often come as a top slice of a little tower constructed of mashed potato and mashed swede (rutabaga). Confusingly, swede is called a turnip in Scotland! Although ingredients of a haggis may seem off-putting, don't knock down this well-spiced dish before you try. Good haggis is very good indeed.
Meat - especially excellent beef, of which Aberdeen Angus and Highland Cattle are the best - can be very good in Scotland. A steak pie - a rich beef stew covered with flaky pastry - is traditionally eaten on New Year's day, and is another pub meal staple.
Venison, either farmed or wild, as well as game fowl, makes for popular restaurant choices, what with so much of the Highlands covered by shooting estates.
Seafood, shellfish on the west coast, white fish on the east and salmon, wild or farmed, all over, are also worth trying and very popular. Try to get a good Arbroath smokie - a smoked haddock done in a traditional way in or around the small East-coast fishing town. Nothing beats one freshly smoked, hot from the barrel, but they are available in restaurants and at fishmongers throughout the country.
Fruit and vegetables are not as non-existing in Scottish diet as it might seem, in fact Scotland grows a lot of soft fruit for the UK market, with strawberries and particularly raspberries happily growing on the acidic soils. June and July are the high season for those and you will see punnets of freshly picked ones sold from stalls at the roadside.
And finally, if you are staying in a B&B, choose one which serves a good cooked breakfast: you can get your fill of porridge, bacon, sausages, haggis, black pudding and, potato scones and toast, all washed down with strong tea, to last you the whole day!