Port Chalmers Seafood Festival

A few weeks ago, I met up with a couple of my classmates and headed over to the Port Chalmers Seafood Festival. I don’t eat out a lot so this was an important educational opportunity. 

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The first thing I saw when we walked in was this very cool performer – her cat puppet fiddled right along with her! There was also a picture board – Lucy and Lana graciously posed for everyone with a camera. 

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Then we got to the food part! This is a spiral fried potato – like a giant curly fry, I guess? They had all kinds of flavored salts you could put on it; I think Lucy got garlic. (Also, thanks, Lucy, for modelling so much food for me!) This was by far the most tempting thing at the festival. 

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Next, we got some paua – a seafood mixture with paua fish.  It’s like a pate, served (as most things at the festival were) on white bread.

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I can’t eat bread so didn’t partake but Lucy really seemed to enjoy hers!

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I can eat mussels, however, and we got a big bowl of NZ green mussels to share.  I’ve been dying to try green mussels and I wasn’t disappointed – fresh and delicious! 

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We took a break from eating to bet on a crab race.  The upside down crab flipped herself over and won by a landslide – 2 seconds to everyone else’s minute and a half.

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Then it was off to the churro truck for dessert – Madeline here dipped hers in chocolate sauce. The Mexican food here has about the reputation I would expect but you can’t go wrong with churros.

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And, as is pretty much the norm here, the setting for the festival was stunning.

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Finally, we grabbed 2nd lunch – here, whitebait patty, another NZ seafood specialty.  Whitebait are tiny little immature fish, 1-2 inches long – the whole fish is used. (At this point, I asked why everything here was served on Wonder bread, but then the Kiwis just asked me what the heck Wonder bread was.)

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The festival was right on the harbor, so I admired the view and watched the seagulls play before attending a cooking class (pro tip: Kiwi food uses a lot of garlic.)

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Finally, my classmate Zoe and I wandered over to the kids’ area and Zoe contributed to the community painting there.

After a few months here my verdict on the food is this: the seafood and veggies are fresh and delicious but the amount of white sandwich bread used is utterly baffling! Nevertheless, the seafood festival was a blast and I look forward to going again next year. 

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