Meet the best friends who opened Chippy Rabs selling fish like you’ve never tasted before

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Fish and Chips shops can cost ten cents, especially in Lancashire, where we love the traditional English Friday meal. It’s something that two best friends, Abdul Shahid and Rob Siddique, were acutely aware of when they decided to go into business together.

They found a location, a vacant unit at the end of a small row of shops in Helmshore, Rossendale and in the six months it took to kick off the project and complete the renovations to the building, they got to work to think about how they could offer something completely different to everyone.

“The building came up and we thought a chippy would be fine in the area,” Abdul told LancsLive, explaining that the name of the store – Rabs – is a mix of his name and Rob’s.

READ MORE: I’m finally converted to battered fish, but only if it’s from this amazing chippy Rossendale

“It was in good condition when we received it in April, but we were able to open in November. This delay actually gave us time to come up with the menu. The rest is history.”

And it’s safe to say it’s been a huge success so far. When the LancsLive team asked our readers where we could find the best chippy in Lancashire, the vast majority of people said Rabs. So we decided to find out more…



Rabs Fish and Chips in Helmshore

These “menu ideas” turned into what the duo have now dubbed “The Seven Fishes of the World”, each representing a cuisine and style of cooking and are prepared with Rabs’ traditional homemade batter, but then smothered with the appropriate toppings and sauce. .

Naga fish is inspired by Bangladeshi cuisine and is the spiciest of the seven, while Thai fish also has a major heat stroke and is incredibly popular with customers. While Samal Fish is inspired by Sudanese flavors, Schezuan Fish has a Chinese influence, while Indian Massalla Fish is another spicy variety, with Peri Peri Fish, which is a favor originating from Mozambique and Italian fish complements the Seven Wonders of Rabs.

“I used to go to the local chippy and then we would make our own sauce to put it on, so I was like, ‘why don’t we do this at the rabs?'” Abdul, who has been friends with Rob for over two decades, with the pair meeting at school.

“We developed the recipes together, with Rob and his wife. We researched each one extensively and tried cooking with different ingredients and flavor combinations until we found the ones that worked.

“Rob runs the shop day to day while I have another job as a software developer and he also helps run his brother’s steakhouse in Rawtenstall. logistics and product supply and our two women help with the cooking, including the samosas All the recipes are ours.



Thai fish in Rabs
The Thai Fish at Rabs is a bestseller

As well as the special fish recipes exclusive to Rabs, customers can also enjoy traditional breaded fish, traditional pies from an artisan bakery in Rochdale, sausages and of course chips.

The fries are cooked in a separate pan in Rabs’ secret oil recipe, which is a blend of three oils and vitamin E306, which creates the taste of gooey beef, but is completely vegetarian. The couple are also developing a vegan menu while everything sold at Rabs is Halal and freshly prepared daily.

Abdul, who along with his family faced unimaginable pain in 2018 when his 16-year-old son, Faisur, died suddenly in his sleep. A devoted family man. Faisur’s death had a profound effect on Abdul, his outlook on life and the way he cares for his other two children.

His daughter Sara is looking forward to working at the shop over the summer when she has finished her GCSE. Abdul says when the shop first opened, it was like leaving Sara and her youngest son Rayyan, seven, “dropped into a chocolate factory” with the couple eager to try new recipes.

Have you ever eaten at Rabs? Let us know how you rate it in the comments

“We opened this because food is our passion, my family has always had Indian takeaways and we are not here to make money,” Abdul added. What happened with Faisur made me who I am now. Faisur’s death pushes me to do better for Sara and Rayyan. I trust Rob with my life and he feels the same way and I’m lucky he has a passion for food too, he’s a great guy.”

While Rob, who is also a talented long-distance runner and is currently training for the London Marathon, added that “people come from all over Lancashire”, to enjoy the food at Rabs.



Rob Siddique behind the counter
Rob Siddique behind the counter

Rabs regularly donates a certain percentage to charities including Rossendale Hospice, Harrier Food Box and a local retirement home. They also donate two meals a week to those in the community struggling during the cost of living crisis.

“We do our part where we can,” said Abdul. “The community has been really supportive of us since we opened, they’ve been amazing and so welcoming. Our storefront was recently broken into and the storefront was smashed and they helped us find the people who did.”

Rob added: ‘We hate wasting food so donate as much as we can, we are always looking to partner with local charities.

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