Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Zealand Part 3: The Secret to Amazing Fish & Chips

Fish & Chips!

Last one, my dears. I baked today, so soon. In the meantime, I will get straight to the food.

We had fish and chips twice during the week at the Fresh Fish Market, which is on the water in Tauranga. The first time, we couldn't pinpoint what made the batter so unique, so I knew when we went back, I would have to hunt down a little information. Luckily for me, the owner was there and willing to share a bit of his secrets.

The batter was very light and crispy, without taking on that soggy texture familiar to most Americans. It also wasn't permeated with oil. Besides that, I couldn't tell you anything about it--and neither could my family.

Turns out, the batter is made with an ultra-fine flour that is mixed with mushroom powder. I was floored. Though I wasn't given any exact ratios, I was told that a good chunk of the batter was mushroom powder, so I'd probably start with 15% mushroom powder if you want to test it out. Also, the batter needs to be pretty runny so it goes on thinly--it gives it the crispiness and keeps it from turning soggy.

As for the oil, they actually use beef tallow. As you warm your beef tallow, throw in the discarded parts of the fish--the tail, bones, little chunks--so it takes on the proper taste. Then fry away.

I will be attempting to recreate this delicious fish in my own kitchen, so keep an eye out for it.

Zeytin deliciousness. Click for larger image.

One of our first meals was at a Turkish restaurant known as Zeytin. On the left is the Lamb Guvech, which is a slow roasted, spicy tomato sauce, mushrooms, and lamb topped in mozzarella. It was a deep, flavorful stew and the all-around favorite.

Then there's meat.

And then there's that pizza there. Prawns, calamari, scallops, mussels, and artichokes drizzled with a garlic olive oil. Please, if you know where I can get something similar in SF or LA, let me know.

Fun food. Click for larger image.

When I was in New Zealand in 2009, my friend and I came across the Babies on the left. We nearly died, taking dozens of pictures of ourselves eating them limb by limb. I was surprised to see the Babies in the middle this time--they burst when you bite into them. Imagine the fun.

The SPAM is for Ben at You fed a baby chili?

Out with the dolphins. Click for larger image.

While in the NZ, we also went out to hunt some dolphins. Or, you know, swim with them. However, all of the pods we came across had babies, so my only dip into the water involved snorkeling. The dolphins and views were beautiful, though.

White Island tour. Click for larger image.

The entire Zespri group--including Sean, our most awesome contact with the local tourism board--took a boat to White Island, an active marine volcano. This activity is tied with kayaking as our favorite during the week. It was spectacular, as you can see. It also smelled of sulfur.

Family portraits.

That's all folks. It was a wonderful trip. We ate, we saw, we played, we didn't kill one another. There will be a giveaway soon of some kiwifruit delicacies I picked up for one my faithful readers.

DISCLAIMER: Though Zespri sent my family & I on this trip, I am under no obligation to blog about my adventures.


tastesbetterwithfriends said...

mushroom flour? didn't even know there was such a thing! Nothing better than perfect, light crispy fish and chips and nothing worse than it being soggy. Look forward to your experiment.
and I've had those babies gummies before, they're great!

Theresa said...

Love it! People always ask me what New Zealand's national cuisine is like, I always say fish and chips. That's pretty much it, haha!
So glad you enjoyed your trip!

Joy, The Herbed Kitchen said...

Living on the east coast with a plethora of fish shacks and you know, fishing villages I've had my fair share of fish and chips but I am so intrigued by this mushroom flour. I think I'll pick up some dehydrated mushrooms and the Asian grocer and grind the life out of them... I suppose that would work.

Monet said...

What a beautiful husband would be especially excited about the fish and chips. Even though I have a heavy heart tonight, I found joy in seeing your pictures and reading your words. Thank you for sharing with me. Have a blessed end to your week.

sara @ CaffeIna said...

Every post about NZ is making me more and more jealous but thanks for sharing some great secret! Mushroom powder in the batter? I'm shocked! I'm amazed! I'm so so so ready to try this out!

Jamie said...

Okay, when I was in Cape Town, Colleen (Brownie Girl) and I stumbled upon...Jelly Boobies! Booby-shaped Jelly candies and yes we took photos! And I won't tell you what was in the box next to it on the shelf ;-) And WOW all that food looks fabulous!!! The fish and chips sounds perfect and any fish dish served on the port must be fab. And that pizza! OMG!!! I think me needs a trip to NZ!

Post a Comment

NOTE: I understand that Blogger is currently having issues with its commenting system. If the comment box or Captcha do not show up, or you experience other problems, please e-mail me with your browser version, whether your Java is up-to-date, and whether you are on a Mac or PC. Please feel free to send your comment my way as well--I appreciate them all and I'm sorry Blogger hates us right now.

Thank you for indulging my narcissistic tendencies and leaving a comment. My ego sincerely appreciates it. As a quick note before you leave me accolades and ask for my hand in marriage, if you need a question answered promptly, you're better off sending an e-mail or a tweet. My computer is all fancy-like and beeps at me when you do.