travel and life with lee mylne

A plate of paua

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Candice from Canada is totally intrigued. What is paua?  What does it look like? She’s seen the shells, all iridescent blues and purples…but what is the meat like? And more importantly, what does it taste like? The Kiwis around our lunch table are unable to adequately describe it, and are not sure that Candice will like it.  So, like all brave travellers, she takes the culinary plunge and orders a “paua sandwich”.

We’re at Aroma’s Cafe, on Kaikoura’s main street. Seafood – specifically the local delicacy, crayfish – is the thing to feast on here. “Kai” is the Maori word for food and Kaikoura literally means “meal of crayfish”.  We need little encouragement to try the local specialties, including crayfish (lobster) that is literally straight from the sea. You won’t find it fresher in many places.

Aroma’s owner, Teari Taylor, takes our order.  I’ve tasted paua before, and I’m not a big fan. I am, however, a fan of whitebait and to match Candice’s sandwich, I have the “whitebait sandwich”. Also on offer is local game, including venison burgers and wild pork and apple burgers. All are around NZ$17.

The paua sandwich, when it arrives, is a pattie of minced paua and onion, served with salad. The whitebait comes as a light omelette – disguising the tiny fish somewhat – with a seafood sauce and salad. It is better than I expected.

Some of our table order crayfish, which comes as a half-shell for NZ$44 (with fries) or NZ$83 for a whole one.

Candice tucks in to her paua. It is black and dense looking. She declares it “mushroomy”, but I’d go further and say almost like truffles. Rich and strong. Still an acquired taste, but one worth trying.

A Glass Half Full travelled as a guest of Tourism New Zealand.

2 Responses to “A plate of paua”

  1. csalins

    Sounds like quite a feast! Unfortunately I haven’t been to Kaikoura (I’ve been close, but not close enough.) Hope to get there one day …

  2. Lee Mylne

    A wonderful place – this was my second visit and I loved it even more this time (maybe because I got to see whales!).


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