Adventures in Kaikoura Crayfish

I spent my last full day on the South Island by driving from Havelock to Kaikoura for a whale watching cruise. While that experience will get a post of it’s own later, I was told by more than one person that I had to try the local seafood specialty, the crayfish.

I asked a few people on the tour if they had tried it, and a young Australian couple told me they had stopped at one of the roadside stands on the way in to Kaikoura. When they described it, I knew exactly where it was, as I had seen it on my way in to town, but it was early and hadn’t opened up yet.
When I heard ‘crayfish’ I mistakenly thought of ‘crawfish’ like the kind from the American South, which are usually the size of shrimp. Crayfish are actually closer in size to the lobsters I have eaten in Maine.
The woman running the stand gave me two options- she could cut it in half and I could take it to go and heat it up later on my own, or, for a few dollars more, she could cook it right there in water with garlic butter. I got the best of both worlds- I had her cook half and I took half to go.

I’ve had lobster before, but it has always had the meat extracted for me and has come in a ‘meal’. This time I ate the meat right out of the shell, after sprinkling it with a little lemon.
To my surprise, I enjoyed the meat from the head and legs more than the larger chunks from the body. 
Not being an adventurous eater at all, I was proud to say I not only finished all the edible parts, I very much enjoyed it and am looking forward to cooking up the other half for dinner later this week. If you are ever in Kaikoura, the place I ate at is call Nin’s Bin, and it’s just a few kilometers south of the Oahu Point Seal Colony and about 10km north of the city itself.

One Response to “Adventures in Kaikoura Crayfish”

  1. Kris Koeller says:

    Anyplace that looks like that big of a dump must have great food.  Those are always the best finds.


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