I see food.

Trip Start May 31, 2012
Trip End Aug 08, 2013

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What I did
The big lobster

Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Friday, November 23, 2012

The most common question we've been asked about Australia, or perhaps the second most common after “Have you seen any poisonous snakes/spiders/things?” is, more benignly,
“How is the food?” And if we are to provide you with the short answer to that question it would be, pretty much like it is in Canada. However, this is our blog in which we tell our story, and
there will be no short answers to any question.

Now prior to our trip we heard mostly bad things about the food in Australia. It was expensive, or it was terrible. For a small round of brie I was expecting to pay upwards of $15. There was no elaboration on how bad the food was, so like with any unsubstantiated statement, I was not convinced.  And then there is Vegemite- which we now have a bucket of, purchased on sale, and still haven't grown to like.  It deserves an entire essay to itself, which Dave promises to write in the near future.

Starting with the local seafood scene... Kingston has 3 take-out fish and chips places. We've only been to one so far- Lacepede Seafood. It is open from 10-4 and has raw and cooked food for sale, making it a great option if you want to pick up some fresh cray to cook at home. Situated right by the water, some of the offerings are freshly caught. We had a seafood platter ($14), with battered, deep fried squid, shrimp and butterfly fish and a side of chips (fries). It was plenty for the two of us, and pretty good, although it made for a sleepy afternoon.

Of the other 2 fish and chip places, Mac's is the most advertised by far. About 10 years ago it won the award for best fish and chips in the country, the owner capitalized on the award by selling the joint, and it has gone down-hill since.  We were warned not to eat there, and so I will never be able to provide you with my personal review. The third fish and chips place, Haven Takeaway, seems to be well liked. Every Wednesday we have an after work drink at the pub across the street, and every Wednesday we see the same (large) people going in to pick up their supper. They also seem to have a lot of locally caught fish advertized.

Truthfully, we have been buying our raw fish from Craig the butcher, one of the local gossips. I no longer send Dave in there alone on a Saturday morning unless I have all day. Craig gets some nice Coorong mullet, which is a smaller fish, and best eaten fresh. It was one of our first meals in Kingston actually, as I was given some from my co-worker Paula, who regifted it- in the nicest way possible, from a patient who brought it in for her. Done up in the frying pan with a bit of butter and a squeeze of lemon it is delish. We've also tried our hand at preparing Blue Swimmer Crabs, King George Whiting and plenty of prawns, all local favourites.

The big prize to be caught, or gifted, is crayfish. The town is famous for it; so famous that a giant
fibreglass cray, aka Larry the Lobster, aka the gay cray, was erected. It is the source of some embarrassment. Larry is listed as the tackiest tourist attraction of the entire state of South
Australia in the Lonely Planet, and pretty much the only thing they have to say about Kingston. The gay cray nickname comes from the unfortunate design of the statue, which has both male and female parts. Technically I realize this would make it an hermaphrodite cray, but that doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

If you are feeling cheap or adventurous, it is easy to try to catch your own, no fishing license  required.  A few weeks back, Dave and I ventured out onto the jetty with our fishing rods to catch squid.  I just dropped my lure in and within 3 minutes I had something on my line. At first, I was unsure if it was actually a squid, having never seen a live one before, but the curtains of ink confirmed my suspicions. A problem with fishing is that you have to figure out a quick and humane way to kill your catch. We stabbed it's brain, but the brain in a squid is actually very small and I think easy to miss. I'm sure we will refine our technique, as this was only the first one I've caught, and have since been told of other, better, methods of dispatching a squid. As we thought it was dead, we put our knife in the bucket with it for the short car ride home.  Upon our return home, the squid was not only not dead, but now armed, as it had gripped the knife in it's
tentacles! We disarmed it and then continued trying to humanely kill it, which I finally ended up doing by cutting its head off. That is the type of ruthlessness one needs to adopt to survive in Australia. After watching a bunch of Japanese Youtube videos on how to clean squid, I followed suit and it ended up not being that bad. And neither of us got inked, which was a real bonus.

Kingston definitely has some good seafood and it's been an adventure trying it all out. We'll continue to catch our own and support the local fishermen. But for our next instalment of Dave and Kara Ramblin', we'll delve into the world of haute Australian cuisine, Kingston SE style. Stay tuned for I See Food – Part 2, I Eat Food.

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