Street food New Zealand style - crayfish

Whilst touring around New Zealand’s South Island, we dined on crayfish and enjoyed a view over the Pacific Ocean. Kaikoura is on the east coast and is a small town with plenty going on. Its key draws are the whales and other marine life that live around its shores. As well as whale watching, Kaikoura is also a good place to try the New Zealand crayfish (also known as a rock lobster).

Driving North from Kaikoura we were on a mission to visit a small cove called Half Moon Bay. On the road we spotted a couple of caravans selling crayfish - this helped us decide fairly quickly what we would be doing for lunch. Nin’s Bins is a fifties style caravan and just as we entered, a new batch of freshly caught crayfish was being delivered. Inside the caravan there was a large camping stove and a guillotine for chopping the tasty crustaceans in half.

So we asked the lady behind the counter (who may well have been Nin herself – we’ll never know) for a crayfish to feed the two of us. She obliged by using the guillotine to cut the crayfish in half length ways, popped some garlic butter on the flesh and heated the marine beast through.

My wife and I found the perfect picnic table, slightly sheltered from the wind with an ideal view over the Pacific. The flesh of the Rock Lobster is similar to the sweet tasty flesh of the more common lobster rather than fresh water crayfish found in the UK. The flesh tasted even better with the view over to the crayfish’s old home and the smell of the salt in the air. This was a real eating experience that I will remember for a very long time.

A word of advice, if you choose to eat outside in the company of sea gulls or like minded birds, always pay attention to your food. As soon as you turn your back they will quite happily steel it. Having grown up in a seaside town I’m fully aware of the gull’s food thieving skills but sadly our neighbours paid too much attention to getting a photo and not enough on their crayfish. A seagull soon swooped and got a chunk of their crayfish – don’t let the blighters beat you too.

Why Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay is not on the main tourist maps. It was suggested to us by our hotel host that we should go visit, as we there is a beautiful little pool with a waterfall tumbling into it. We were exceptionally lucky – we found a couple of baby seals practicing their moves. Here’s a short video of this special moment.