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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Whitebait, anyone?

NEW ZEALAND | Wednesday, 17 December 2008 | Views [1708]

Two weeks ago whilst working with Ingrid at the store, a customer walked in and asked about whitebait. My response was "ah, that's used for fishing." Ingrid looked at me rather harshly and said "No, that's not fishing bait!" Feeling like an idiot, she later explained what whitebait is. I had that idea because of the "bait" in its name. They're these little tiny fish, maybe 1 cm long that are caught only a few months out of the year, and they're so small that they're actually measured as a liquid (a recipe may call for 200 mL of whitebait). The fish are often mashed together into whitebait patties and eaten whole; eyeballs and all!

Today I visited the tiny fishing hamlet of Jackson Bay (pop. 3) three hours south of Fox Glacier. With the exception of Milford Sound, it's the furthest south you can go along the West Coast by road. There's a really nice bay, a couple of homes and a few other buildings, and a fish & chip shack. A cute girl named Dana cooked me up some tasty fish & chips whilst the wind slammed against the trailer. One good thing about the wind out here: it keeps away those bloodthirsty sandflies. When I saw whitebait patties on the menu I told Dana that I've never had one, so she made one for me to try. Taking the plunge, I ate the patty; eyeballs and all. Whitebait is typically served with mint sauce and pickled onions. After all I'd have to say it's alright but it's not spectacular. You're not going to like every food you try whilst travelling, but it's worth it to try things. If you're staying with locals it's a sign of respect

If you're ever on the West Coast late in the year, make sure you try a whitebait patty. If it doesn't strike your fancy, you can always wash it down with a ice cold glass of Monteith's.

Tags: food


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