Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Ed Bedford snacks on snails

A taste of his New Zealand childhood

Staff fool around with my chowder underneath the company shark
Staff fool around with my chowder underneath the company shark
Video:

Ed Bedford snacks on snails


This is weird. I’m sitting here looking out over the Port from pretty much exactly where some photographer, back on March 24, 1882, pulled the cap off his giant camera lens for a minute and achieved a photo of the Star of India — plus 23 other square-rigged sailing ships parked right down there in the harbor. Yes, I have a hang-up about the Star, aka the oldest active sailing ship in the world! Her name was changed from Euterpe, which honored the goddess of music. Now she’s the flagship of the San Diego Maritime Museum. But this 1882 photo I’m looking at was taken, not in San Diego, but looking down at the Port of Lyttelton here in New Zealand. She’s one of 24 square riggers that pulled in from the U.K., loaded with immigrants. In that era, everybody would have survived by eating salt beef, salt pork, and hard tack — hard-baked ship’s biscuits — day in, day out for four months. The sight of this harbor, gouged from a mountain by an ancient volcano, must have brought out sighs of exhausted relief from the passengers.

Talking of which, I’m definitely hungry. Sure hope I can find something more than salted beef and hard tack on a menu around here… ah. Right where thousands of logs are piled dockside for export to China near a ship named Irvinga, this restaurant kinda rises out of the water: Fisherman’s Wharf. There’s a sandwich board outside touting today’s specials. And the first one interests me: “Paua dumplings: housemade dumplings filled with fresh New Zealand paua mince, deep fried. Served with aioli and sweet chili, $22.”

The most delish dish: Paua dumplings, wild, not farmed

I have a thing about paua. When I was a Kiwi kid, my brother and I used to pry them from the rocks and take them home for our mom to cook. They’re really a cousin of abalone, super hard to lever off the rocks. But if you had them fresh and cooked them right, scrumbo! And if you did it the slightest bit wrong, you had the toughest, jaw-busting chew-challenge of your gastro life. (Fortunately, I see that here, they have minced the meat down, so we’re probably almost ordering a paua burger.)

Eventually, big bro and I started feeling sorry for the paua. Turned out they were giant snails, with actual blue blood, a huge black suction foot, and a whakapapa (ancestry) that goes way back. And, they’re disturbingly like us: they have a pair of eyes, a mouth, and breathe through gills. Still, now I’m here, got to try them. It’s Thursday afternoon, and the place is crowded. I’m almost tempted to sit outside with the crowd on the nice window deck with the view, but that chill winter wind is making the ships’ flags fly straight and flicky, so no thanks. I’ll just huddle with the landlubbers inside. They’re all eating beneath a giant shark that is slung over the tables. It’s cozy. All around me, hardy Kiwis are sitting and standing in shorts and wool shirts as though it’s a summer’s day. Me, I sit down with all four layers on, and start looking for something uber-warm to eat before I order the paua dish. Waitress — Sarah? — comes by with menus. Hmm. Interesting array, but pretty much like seafood offerings you’d get in California. Looks a little more expensive, but I have to remember these are New Zealand dollars, maybe a third less valuable. Seafood chowder (with fish, prawns, mussels, squid and veggies in a “creamy volute” with garlic bread) costs NZ$25 (US$15), or it’s NZ$18 (US$11) for an “entrée,” which is what Kiwis call their smaller sampler sizes. Scallops wrapped in bacon go for NZ$18 (US$11), and steamed mussels are NZ$24 (US$15).

I go for the seafood chowder, just because it is thick and rich and warm, and of course I ask for the paua dumplings because, well, they take me back to when I was a stripling in Kiwiland.

“And to drink?” asks Sarah. I check the menu. Strange Kiwi names for beers, plus plenty of the Marlborough wines that have made New Zealand (now being called Aotearoa New Zealand) famous.

Welded chain art shows eatery’s trawler heading upwind.

“No,” says Sarah. “You should have some Moa’s Milk.”

“Moa’s milk? I thought moas were extinct.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

“Not here! They help make our milk stout.”

There’s not a kid in the land doesn’t know all about NZ’s giant moas, the 12-foot-tall land birds that used to roam this land, and which are — okay, apart from kiwi — kinda the symbol of this country.

“So what is it?” I ask.

“Dark milk stout. Good for a chilly day.”

What da heck, why not? I swear I can hear what they reckon was the moa’s deep throated rumble-call as this stuff goes down. And it has some chocolate melted in there. Awesome. Pint cost NZ$16 (US$10). The Maori immigrants, who first came around 1300 AD, loved the flavor of Moa flesh. In just 145 years, by 1445, the birds were extinct. And so were the giant eagles that hunted the moa.

I think about that as I chug my Moa’s Milk. Besides its power to evoke memories, it has a nice warm flavor, and it’s perfect with the chowder. And OMG, the chowder is rico-suave. This place is Indian-owned; really, all the eateries seem to be Indian- or Chinese-owned. No surprise: New Zealand sits on the edge of the mighty Asian continent. Preet the chef comes up while the chowder is sitting steaming on the table. “It’s traditional,” he says. And he doesn’t mean traditional Indian. “Béchamel base, veggies, carrot, celery, spring onion, onion, plus the marinara mix of squid, mussels, prawns, orange roughy, and monkfish.” Wow. Sounds like 100 percent of all my recommended daily allowances. And it’s warm and creamy, perfect for this midwinter weather, and uber-filling, thanks to generous chunks of seafood.

But I do have room for the great Kiwi specialty, the paua dumplings. These are wild paua, and you can tell. The flavor is slightly fishy, but more meaty, a pointed, interesting flavor. Helped by the aioli and sweet chili sauces that come with them. I finish up and head out into the cold of this southern winter. Nothing but sea between us and Antarctica. Oh, and that wind.

The Place: Fisherman’s Wharf, 39 Norwich Quay, Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand. Tel +64 03 328-7530

Hours: 11.30am - 8pm daily, closed Monday 

Prices: Seafood chowder (with fish, prawns, mussels, squid, NZ$25 (US$15), or NZ$18 (US$11) for “entrée” size; scallops wrapped in bacon, NZ$18 (US$11); steamed mussels, NZ$24 (US$15); fisherman’s pie, NZ$26 (US$15); warm salad with Asian-style chicken, NZ$32 (US$20); braised winter lamb shank, NZ$38 (US$23); seafood sizzle plate, $40 (US$25); Fijian kokoda (raw fish marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk, $18 (US$11); rib-eye steak in peppercorn sauce, $38 (US$23)

Buses: #8 bus from Christchurch

Nearest Bus Stop: Outside restaurant

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Fistfight between county fair workers turns out to be an exception

"It's all good. There's no fighting; we're at the fair!"
Staff fool around with my chowder underneath the company shark
Staff fool around with my chowder underneath the company shark
Video:

Ed Bedford snacks on snails


This is weird. I’m sitting here looking out over the Port from pretty much exactly where some photographer, back on March 24, 1882, pulled the cap off his giant camera lens for a minute and achieved a photo of the Star of India — plus 23 other square-rigged sailing ships parked right down there in the harbor. Yes, I have a hang-up about the Star, aka the oldest active sailing ship in the world! Her name was changed from Euterpe, which honored the goddess of music. Now she’s the flagship of the San Diego Maritime Museum. But this 1882 photo I’m looking at was taken, not in San Diego, but looking down at the Port of Lyttelton here in New Zealand. She’s one of 24 square riggers that pulled in from the U.K., loaded with immigrants. In that era, everybody would have survived by eating salt beef, salt pork, and hard tack — hard-baked ship’s biscuits — day in, day out for four months. The sight of this harbor, gouged from a mountain by an ancient volcano, must have brought out sighs of exhausted relief from the passengers.

Talking of which, I’m definitely hungry. Sure hope I can find something more than salted beef and hard tack on a menu around here… ah. Right where thousands of logs are piled dockside for export to China near a ship named Irvinga, this restaurant kinda rises out of the water: Fisherman’s Wharf. There’s a sandwich board outside touting today’s specials. And the first one interests me: “Paua dumplings: housemade dumplings filled with fresh New Zealand paua mince, deep fried. Served with aioli and sweet chili, $22.”

The most delish dish: Paua dumplings, wild, not farmed

I have a thing about paua. When I was a Kiwi kid, my brother and I used to pry them from the rocks and take them home for our mom to cook. They’re really a cousin of abalone, super hard to lever off the rocks. But if you had them fresh and cooked them right, scrumbo! And if you did it the slightest bit wrong, you had the toughest, jaw-busting chew-challenge of your gastro life. (Fortunately, I see that here, they have minced the meat down, so we’re probably almost ordering a paua burger.)

Eventually, big bro and I started feeling sorry for the paua. Turned out they were giant snails, with actual blue blood, a huge black suction foot, and a whakapapa (ancestry) that goes way back. And, they’re disturbingly like us: they have a pair of eyes, a mouth, and breathe through gills. Still, now I’m here, got to try them. It’s Thursday afternoon, and the place is crowded. I’m almost tempted to sit outside with the crowd on the nice window deck with the view, but that chill winter wind is making the ships’ flags fly straight and flicky, so no thanks. I’ll just huddle with the landlubbers inside. They’re all eating beneath a giant shark that is slung over the tables. It’s cozy. All around me, hardy Kiwis are sitting and standing in shorts and wool shirts as though it’s a summer’s day. Me, I sit down with all four layers on, and start looking for something uber-warm to eat before I order the paua dish. Waitress — Sarah? — comes by with menus. Hmm. Interesting array, but pretty much like seafood offerings you’d get in California. Looks a little more expensive, but I have to remember these are New Zealand dollars, maybe a third less valuable. Seafood chowder (with fish, prawns, mussels, squid and veggies in a “creamy volute” with garlic bread) costs NZ$25 (US$15), or it’s NZ$18 (US$11) for an “entrée,” which is what Kiwis call their smaller sampler sizes. Scallops wrapped in bacon go for NZ$18 (US$11), and steamed mussels are NZ$24 (US$15).

I go for the seafood chowder, just because it is thick and rich and warm, and of course I ask for the paua dumplings because, well, they take me back to when I was a stripling in Kiwiland.

“And to drink?” asks Sarah. I check the menu. Strange Kiwi names for beers, plus plenty of the Marlborough wines that have made New Zealand (now being called Aotearoa New Zealand) famous.

Welded chain art shows eatery’s trawler heading upwind.

“No,” says Sarah. “You should have some Moa’s Milk.”

“Moa’s milk? I thought moas were extinct.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

“Not here! They help make our milk stout.”

There’s not a kid in the land doesn’t know all about NZ’s giant moas, the 12-foot-tall land birds that used to roam this land, and which are — okay, apart from kiwi — kinda the symbol of this country.

“So what is it?” I ask.

“Dark milk stout. Good for a chilly day.”

What da heck, why not? I swear I can hear what they reckon was the moa’s deep throated rumble-call as this stuff goes down. And it has some chocolate melted in there. Awesome. Pint cost NZ$16 (US$10). The Maori immigrants, who first came around 1300 AD, loved the flavor of Moa flesh. In just 145 years, by 1445, the birds were extinct. And so were the giant eagles that hunted the moa.

I think about that as I chug my Moa’s Milk. Besides its power to evoke memories, it has a nice warm flavor, and it’s perfect with the chowder. And OMG, the chowder is rico-suave. This place is Indian-owned; really, all the eateries seem to be Indian- or Chinese-owned. No surprise: New Zealand sits on the edge of the mighty Asian continent. Preet the chef comes up while the chowder is sitting steaming on the table. “It’s traditional,” he says. And he doesn’t mean traditional Indian. “Béchamel base, veggies, carrot, celery, spring onion, onion, plus the marinara mix of squid, mussels, prawns, orange roughy, and monkfish.” Wow. Sounds like 100 percent of all my recommended daily allowances. And it’s warm and creamy, perfect for this midwinter weather, and uber-filling, thanks to generous chunks of seafood.

But I do have room for the great Kiwi specialty, the paua dumplings. These are wild paua, and you can tell. The flavor is slightly fishy, but more meaty, a pointed, interesting flavor. Helped by the aioli and sweet chili sauces that come with them. I finish up and head out into the cold of this southern winter. Nothing but sea between us and Antarctica. Oh, and that wind.

The Place: Fisherman’s Wharf, 39 Norwich Quay, Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand. Tel +64 03 328-7530

Hours: 11.30am - 8pm daily, closed Monday 

Prices: Seafood chowder (with fish, prawns, mussels, squid, NZ$25 (US$15), or NZ$18 (US$11) for “entrée” size; scallops wrapped in bacon, NZ$18 (US$11); steamed mussels, NZ$24 (US$15); fisherman’s pie, NZ$26 (US$15); warm salad with Asian-style chicken, NZ$32 (US$20); braised winter lamb shank, NZ$38 (US$23); seafood sizzle plate, $40 (US$25); Fijian kokoda (raw fish marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk, $18 (US$11); rib-eye steak in peppercorn sauce, $38 (US$23)

Buses: #8 bus from Christchurch

Nearest Bus Stop: Outside restaurant

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Gonzo Report: House of Blues’ Voodoo Room hosts Friko and Mind’s Eye

All-ages venue gives emerging acts a shot at reaching San Diegans of different generations
Next Article

Homeless tiny homes shifted to Lemon Grove

If Spring Valley doesn't take them....
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.