Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Seafood Festival

As you may have figured out, we really really love seafood. So it comes as no shock that we bought tickets to the 2011 Auckland Seafood Festival not long after they came out.

Yeah, I'm going prepared.
In all the excitement, we only remembered to bring an umbrella (not that it rained) and some stretchy eating clothes (very smart). Who needs water and sunscreen anyways? Turns out we did.

The absolutely hilarious Damien Ryan
On our way to the viaduct, we are lucky enough to catch a street performance as part of Auckland's International Buskers Festival which is running at the same as time as the seafood festival. This guy is amazing! I don't know about you, but I've never met anyone who could ride a massive unicycle, juggle flaming torches and make fun of small kids!

And with our pockets significantly lighter, we were off. The seafood festival awaits!
La Creperie

Stumpy's Woodfired Pizza
As soon as we enter the gates, we are greeted by dozens of food stalls and my mouth immediately starts watering and this is only the beginning -I want a little bit of everything! 

Paella Pan Ltd

Seafood Paella -$15
The Paella Pan was our first stop. At the suggestion of his mother, Jason and I had marked this famous Spanish dish on our maps the night before. This yummy rice dish really hit the spot although we were a little foolish and managed to fill ourselves up a bit. Seafood Paella is usually made from a seafood broth made of shrimp heads, onions, garlic and bay leaves and then rice and lots of seafood is added until cooked through to give a very full flavour. Ours had cuttlefish, some sort of fish fillet, prawns, mussels, beans and tomatoes. The addition of paprika and saffron added a more delicate touch to the strong seafood broth. Yummy!

His mussels were actually very nice

Fresh Prawns from New World -$3 per container

Battered Mussels -$4 per container, Prawns with Tartare Sauce -$3 per container
Whilst munching on our Paella, we were joined by many others who had delicious looking dishes and who were helpful enough to point us towards the various stalls. 

Raw Mussels vs. Battered Mussels
The kind lady next to me led us to the Pak N Save stall which was filled with nothing but mussels. We got a box of battered mussels with sweet chili sauce as well as some raw, fresh mussels to try. We felt that there was perhaps too much batter to the deep fried mussels and that it masked the taste of the mussels. I was deeply impressed with how fresh the raw mussels were  -Jase deemed them too sea-watery. 

Pirates Cafe -Mussel Burgers, "Snappa" Burgers, Mussel Fritters Yummers!

Jumbo Pirate Mussel Fritters!

Feeling pretty full, we walked around the place admiring the stalls. As well as having a myriad of food stalls, the seafood festival also hosted a number of arts and crafts stalls -sadly, I couldn't convince Jason to get his face painted.

Look at the pretty sea shells!

Pretty wind spinners

Giant liquorice from New Generation Liquorice
 I managed to keep my non-food spending down to just two shells. This is quite a feat for me -it literally took 5 minutes of debating before I decided that eating more seafood is more important than buying a wind spinner for my already tiny house. Jason had his eye on the massive liquorice wands from New Generation Liquorice but, since this was a seafood festival, we decided against the candy and made a pact to buy giant liquorice from them when we next visit the local markets.

Scallop Wontons -$2 each
 With our newly renewed hunger, we were off once again to explore! It took us less than two minutes for us to discover scallop wontons from Great Barrier Outdoor Catering. We found that the pastry for the wontons was a bit bland and we probably should have used the sweet chili sauce provided -oops!

BBQ wok flamed Kaimoana -scallops, mussels and prawns -$15 a plate
Mmm.. I think this is pretty self explanatory
Not only did the food look amazing, but the cooking techniques used blew my mind. Flaming woks!!

Looking so pleased with his squid rings and garlic prawns
After wandering around for a few minutes, we noticed that everyone around these parts had scrumptious looking garlic prawn kebabs and we were soon led towards the biggest line I had ever seen! So, naturally, I left Jason to wait in the line while I went ahead to see what was on offer..

Oceanz stall: Prawn skewers in herb and garlic -$3 each or $5 for two, Lobster half -$35, Squid rings -$5 for a container

It was totally worth the wait! The prawns were sweet and juicy with just the right amount of herb and garlic butter while the squid rings were crunchy delicious. No lobster for us though -we're having some for dinner tomorrow (aren't we lucky?).

Steamed Scampi -$7 per 1/2 dozen

Prawn Cocktail and Chili Chocolate Prawns

What is a food festival without weird and wonderful foods? We simply had to try these Chili Chocolate Prawns and freshly steamed scampi! We were a little disappointed with the chocolate prawns because they simply weren't different enough -I'm really not sure what we were expecting. It seemed as if the chocolate sauce was a completely different dish to the prawns and, as for the chili? I couldn't taste it at all!

Mmm.. suckin' out the head juices
The scampi was to die for! The fact that the stalls were simply steaming it shows just how fresh they were! The flesh was super sweet and tender and Jason is now a convert. Pretty full from a day's eatin' and feeling a bit tired from the hot sun, it was time to go home. I could not get the fresh mussels, from earlier in the day, out of my mind so we had to make a quick detour.

Fresh Mussels -$2 a bag
Yup, pretty satisfying day.

Well, if you're reading this now and are hoping to get your hands on some delicious seafood, you're too late. Sorry -but be sure to keep an eye out for the seafood festival next year! For just $15, you can gain entry into some of the best seafood Auckland has to offer. See you there next year!

All recipes are on Petitchef

1 comment:

  1. Putting my hand up as a seafood freak too! What a fun looking festival Lucy!