I don’t know if New Zealanders will agree that their national dish is Fish and Chips (and pies), but the Fish and Chips shop is ubiquitous.
The best Fish and Chips we had were at nameless shops in Grey Mouth, and Akaroa.
In our minds, we had named the shop in Grey Mouth as “Mrs Mac’s Fish and Chips” although that is probably not the name. I was drawn to the shop because it advertised “Mrs Mac’s Famous Pies”, but late in the day, there were all out.
But the Fish and Chips had a queue of people.
We’ve had Fish and Chips at proper restaurants – I had the Blue Cod meal at Wild Olive (also in Grey Mouth). Blue Cod is expensive and really good fish, but the batter was disappointing. And what’s Fish and Chips with sub-standard batter?
“Mrs Mac’s” (as we called the shop) was a take-away only Fish and Chips shop. And you had the choice of 1 piece, 2 pieces etc of fish, and 1 scoop, half a scoop of fries or chips. So it went something like this:
Me: “Hi, can I have fish and chips?”
Shop staff: “Sure. What will you have?”
Me (confused): “er… Fish and chips?”
Staff: “Yes, one piece, two piece? Half a scoop of fries? One scoop?…”
Me: “Oh. One piece and One scoop… (reading menu overhead)… and a bacon and egg burger, please.”
So we paid, and waited for our order.
Looking around the shop, we saw a sign:
“This is NOT Burger King. You can’t have it YOUR way. You’ll have it MY way or you have nothing.”
So now in my mind, the shop is also known as “NOT Burger King”.
But the burgers were excellent!
I think the secret was the dab of coleslaw in the burger than kept it moist.
Another good fish and chips shop we ate at was in Akaroa.
The transport had dropped us off at about 12 noon. Our harbour cruise was at 1.30 so we had time for lunch. Akaroa is a nice quiet town, with a permanent population of about 1000 people. In the peak season visitors swell the population to about 10,000. But it was otherwise a “One Main Street” town.
We found a fish and chips place with some good deals, ordered our food, and sat down inside. The place was more for take-aways and the seats were offered almost as an afterthought. There were seats outside as well, and because there was no heating (other than what wafted from the fryers in the kitchen), there was really very little difference sitting inside or out. Or to put it another way, the inside seating was still cold enough that we kept our jackets on.
Cold weather, hot fish and chips. Grand combination.
All the good fish and chips shops seems to be take-aways and the fish gets “delivered” wrapped in paper. We tore it open at the Akaroa shop’s premises and ate with our fingers (is there any other way?) But in Grey Mouth, there was no seating (except outside, in the cold and dark) so we brought it back to our motel.
Walking back to the motel, the warm paper packages also serve to keep PL warm in the cold evening.
I couldn’t wait and started on my burger on the way back.
Again, cold weather. Hot food. Grand combination.