New Zealand Week: Fish ‘n’ Chips In honour of the rugby WIN.

OK It is possible that in the far away or near future, you may take it upon yourself to go to New Zealand to visit. Mainly because we have the best rugby team in the WORLD!  In that case you are going to need to know some things to  avoid doing embarrassing stuff.

This is not a Fish 'n Chip shop

First you need to know about NZ greetings.  No need for language. We get along very well with grunts and nods. To say hullo in passing you straighten your forehead  and lift your chin ever so slightly, this is done with just a twinge of the eyebrows, any more than a whisper of eyebrow movement and you will be taken for an imposter.  Less is best.

When introduced: MEN should shake hands, on the second and subsequent meetings you shake hands and wack your new friend good and hard a couple of times on their back.  Saying Good to see ya, mate.  And it is perfectly acceptable (even encouraged ) to kiss the  girls. Especially after giving her boyfriend a good hard bone crushing handshake and then knocking the wind out him.   Then shake the hand of the girl and kiss her lightly on the cheek with a long upside down V shape of air between your bodies!   WOMEN can shake hands and or kiss just about everyone on any occassion.  Only one kiss on the cheek mind you. One.

Now lets look at a couple of casual dining options!

If you are invited to a Barbie please remember that a Barbie  has nothing to do with dolls. When arriving at your new friends house for the Barbie (barbeque)  take a 6 pack of beer, or a bottle of wine, some sausages or a salad and a warmie.  You will be outside the whole time. Sausages are called snarlers, or sausies.  (IN american we call them brats) These will be grilled along with the steak and it will be served on real plates along with piles of salads.  If they try to serve you on paper plates be very careful as someone is playing a trick.  If you don’t like salads do not visit NZ.  In fact if you are invited to anyones home at anytime for any dinner – take a salad and a bottle.   If they say bring a plate this is what it means. Not a plate to eat off. A bowl of salad. Oh dear so much to learn. If they say no, that is fine, don’t bring anything, take a Dessert and a bottle of something nice.  Ice-cream bought from the dairy on the way is perfectly acceptable for a single man  as long as it is  vanilla or hokey pokey.  Never ever go to someones house to eat with one arm as long as the other. You will not be invited back. NZers are pretty mean like that!

Now a Barbie is  not to be confused with a sausage sizzle. A sausage sizzle is often held in really nasty weather, outside a supermarket, to raise money for a netball team or a school camp or some other worthy cause that could use the cash. One very lonely frozen small person will be grilling sausages and onions in the carpark. You will give him a dollar coin and he will give you a sausage and a sliver of onion, if you want onion (this question will be directed at you with a point of the spatula and a raise of the eyebrow. Be observant. If you miss this imperceptible request you will miss out on the onion and he will only give you one of the little endy sausies.) The sausie will be wrapped in buttered bread drenched in tomato sauce (otherwise known as Martie Sauce not ketchup), with a paper towel loosely wrapped around the outside to save your onion from falling to the ground and your sausage from sliding out through the folded bread.  Beware: the sausage will be VERY HOT. And with the butter melting it is now very slippery. This is how the cold little man entertains himself, watching hungry people trying to get bites of hot sliding dripping sausages in a cold car park, while juggling their groceries. It is a little like watching a dog try to catch a bee.

They have sausage sizzles at rugby games too, just so’s you know to take your dollar.

A dairy cow is called a cow and a cow for meat is called a beast. Though generally at the table we do not say pass the beast.

It is OK to wear your jandals to a barbie at someones house. Jandals are very thin rubber sandally things  with a slim prong of rubber that slides between the big toe and its adjacent toe and a Y of thin rubber that comes up and over the top of your foot. One has to grip slightly with the tips of your toes to keep them on. To be an authentic jandal (or shandal if you want to pronounce it correctly) you must be able to feel the road through the sole of the rubber.  They are very very thin and drag and slap slightly as you walk.  And when they sit quietly and smellily outside the door they will curl up a little. This is good.

this is not a Fish 'n Chip shop either

Never wear your shoes into a NZ house. There are a lot of dogs in NZ and very few little plastic dog poo baggies.

If you don’t eat salads go home. NZers eat a lot of salads.

NZ Fish and Chips are the best take aways in the world. You must go to a Fish ‘n Chip shop. When we are away from NZ we dream of fish and chips,  steak and cheese pies or marmite.  Though Fish and Chip Shops are a mine field for the uninitiated. You will order your food and then sit on a plastic chair, looking at magazines that have been rejected by the doctors,  waiting while it is cooked. If you order the fish you will get shark. You should look up at the list on the wall and order the fish from there.  Then you will get the nice fresh fish.  You will order chips with that, they come in scoops.  Chips are potatoes sliced into long thick finger shaped .. um.. chips.  You almost never find an actual finger in there but it is best to be on the lookout, as these are real potatoes chopped up by real people with really big chip chopping machines. You may also order a pineapple ring, a potato cake, a hot dog, a paua fritter, deep fried moro bar or a spring roll.  Be careful here. You will be judged by your order.

All of these are deep fried until explosively crispy and overdone  then drained for a very short time, and wrapped in newsprint then newspaper.  The paper is important as it soaks up all that delicious grease.  (Actually you can call fish and chips- greasies or shark and taties, either works) You can ask for tartare sauce pronounced tartair but I wouldn’t as this is considered a bit girlie. Salt and vinegar is ok. But I don’t ask for vinegar either as it sometimes makes them too soggy and I hate soggy chips!

Now  pay attention: eating the fish and chips.  This is very important. If you are walking home with the newspaper wrapped package of shark and taties, tear a hole in the corner and just put your hand down into the steaming mess and pull out the first chip you come to and eat it fast.  It is Ok to do this. When you get home you say.  I only tore a hole in it to let the steam out so that they didn’t go soggy. Once you are home or on the beach,  dump the package on the table or on a rock, grab the martie sauce, open the paper, all sit around and tuck in. NO-ONE ever uses a fork. Thank God I remembered to tell you that.  Make big puddles of martie sauce or TF (I cannot tell you what that means unfortunately, but the T stands for Tucker and it rhymes) on the paper (never over the actual food- sharing remember) and just dip and gobble. No plates and no cutlery and no clean up! All good.

Now, this one looks like it could be just right for my new Fish 'n Chip shop on the prairie.!

Tomorrow we are going to talk about the rugby and netball and dining OUT in NZ!


75 Comments on “New Zealand Week: Fish ‘n’ Chips In honour of the rugby WIN.

  1. And here I thought we were going to get a recipe. Fish and chips are one of DH’s faves, although I would imagine they might be a tad different than your NZ style. But who knows! Douse them with malt vinegar and add some salt and go for it! Now I want some 🙂 t

    • You are right. Fish and Chips are only good from the shop on top of the hill. I cannot even begin to emulate that level of grease!! ha ha ha c

  2. LOL! I love this post!

    Unfortunately I am also reminded of the phrase “bring a plate”. When I first arrived in NZ, I went to a party literally just bringing a plate – and was told, nicely, that next time I might want to bring a plate with something on it! Oh embarrassment burned my face. And bewilderment filled my mind re the Strange Ways of This Land.

  3. Everything you shared about NZ in this post simply beckons the travel bug in me. However, when you wrote: “And it is perfectly acceptable (even encouraged ) to kiss the girls” I decided that it was necessary to book a flight sooner rather than late…just don’t tell Liz. 😉

  4. Nothing strange there, then – apart from some of the vocabulary. I adore fish’n chips eaten out of the paper. I have to cross the channel for it, though. Take away food (carry oot in Scotland) exists in France, but no-one takes it seriously!

  5. Sadly modern newspaper is different from wot it used to be and is no longer used for fish and chips here. I blame a certain media mogul for this of course. You used to be able to use scrunched up newsprint to polish mirrors with as it was so wonderfully absorbent, your hands would get black but the mirror would be left without a hint of pesky little fibre on it. Sadly this delightful cleaning option is also passed…. 😦

    What a great post though! I love posts about the manners and vocab of other lands, I particularly like the bit about the long arms. In England it is still very common that people turn up with two long arms My Dad says it it something to do with rationing in the War and how no one ever visited anyone else’s house at mealtimes. I wonder though, it is not in the tradition of my mother’s folks, where you would never visit without a gift and certainly not a bottle or a dessert. Besides it’s the perfect excuse to bake a cake and not eat it, well only a slice. See how you inspire me to rabbit on. I think I’d better shut uip. xxx

    • Oh i love it when you rabbit on.. and I still clean my windows with newspaper out here and it seems ok.. hope they don’t change our recipe!! c

  6. Thanks for the tips, I will know what to do now if invited to a barbie. We’re pretty good at fish n chips in the UK too. I remember family dinners when, on the way back home from a day out, my dad would stop inside the chippie and come back out with four newspaper parcels which we would munch on inside the car. My mum and I were vinegar fans, my dad and my sister always salt. Back when I was a kid the chippies always used newspaper, nowadays health and safety have made everyone worry about the ink so it’s just thick paper.

    • Ink is good for you this is why we used to suck the nibs of our pens when we were kids.. And yes you are right I forgot about all the little individual packets and no mess! c

  7. Wait – you mean I should order so I DON’T get shark? I would think it would be better than the codfish they use in New England…
    (I love Mako Shark on the grill…)

  8. Yes if you order from the board you get the really good fish that has just come in, not cod! Oh I miss fish and chips now.. c

  9. I was lucky enough to visit Oz but, stupidly, didn’t go next door to NZ. I will make it there one day, armed with your helpful suggestions and a fire extinguisher, just in case your experiences are not all that uncommon. Another great post, Celi, and can’t wait for the rugby lesson.

    • Well then you will have to GO BACK, and WHAT WERE YOU THINKING! ah well. Good thinking to take your own fire extinguisher in case one of my progeny is in the area!! c

  10. All sounds very familiar, Celi, no wonder Aussies manage to cross over so easily and vice versa.. 🙂

    Isn’t there some forehead touching involved (I’ve only seen it on tv, so I could be wrong)? And all power to the mighty All-Blacks!

    • you are referring to a hongi.. that is a rubbing of noses, or sharing of the breath, this is only for very official respectful occassions, there can be cheek kisses then too though.. and you are right about those kiwi’s loving aussie.. I have many old students living there.. c

  11. Your posts always bring such a smile to my face. But I feel as the token Aussie here I should point out to all foriengners that to be understood in NZ you must actually say ‘fush and chups’. The advice on the barbies is gospel though, mighty embarrassing if you don’t know you’re supposed to being your own meat and
    beer/wine. Fabulous writing 🙂

  12. Oh, my goodness, so much to remember. It is a good thing I will not be going to NZ. But if I was, I would most definitely follow your advice. As always, an entertaining post. I am learning so much from you. I do love salads.

  13. What a nice writing again… I love every time much more New Zealand. But there would be the only address I want to visit is dear Cecilia, her family, her home… Maybe we meet with her there too. Once again I should have said this, but I want to repeate it again, I read in one of journals that it was said that the most peaceful place in the world is New Zealand… There are so many reasons now to visit there. Thank you dear Cecilia, by the way I loved this barbie 🙂 With my love, nia

    • You will know when i go home next, but you can’t drive there and you often drive places.. you will need a plane nia and then i will show you the sights! c

  14. Hi Cecilia. I want to go to NZ now! I am, as we speak, practicing my eyebrow twinging! Nearly got it!
    Fabulous post can’t wait to read about the Rugby.
    Regards Florence x

    • Now remember florence.. it is all about the lack of twing.. almost a suggestion of movement.. you will get it.. I have faith.. c

  15. Fabulous. LOVE it. Except that you’ve made me CRAVE good fish and chips, not as readily available a commodity in north Texas as it was back in Seattle! And the tutorial will come in handy when we FINALLY get to visit NZ!!

      • Be careful what you say, darling! I’m on the verge of tearing on back to the closet where I just stashed my suitcase on getting home the other day and pack ‘er right back up for NZ. Wheels up! 😉

  16. Another lovely fun filled read C. We call jandals slip slops here in South Africa and barbies braais. We share loads of similarities with you as with Australia – must be a good Southern hemisphere thing then.
    Have a super day.
    🙂 Mandy

    • I do wonder why the SA’s and Aus and NZ are so similiar, we even have a cast to our accents that is very close, maybe the commonwealth? c

  17. After a week of working on this thing..i THINK i’m back online…Young Dumb and full of American… Well, Okay, scratch the young part.
    Probably goes without saying..I’ve really missed you girl

  18. Oh, you’re making me homesick for pineapple fritters and greasy chips, especially now it’s getting cold.

    Interesting the subtle language differences between Oz and NZ. I’d never noticed before.

    • It is a great study. I have lived in a few different countries and sometimes have to think of where I am and the local name of something so that people understand me! All in English. c

  19. in South Africa, we call those sandals SLOPS – cause of the sound they make. The Aussies call them thongs. A bit of a funny one, as thongs are actually underwear for us 🙂

  20. Brilliant story! When we were over there we loved our ‘Fush and Chups’ and even had three types of fish on one meal.We loved the sweet potato chips and still to this day make them ourselves. One thing we didn’t like was the Paua fritter..vile! We have a photo of what was the ‘Best Fish and Chip Shop’ in the world and it was in Crompton, S.Island.

    • Oh how wonderful to have that good photo, When I go home next i am going to be (photo) document everything. I never even thought I would need a shot of a Fish and Chip shop! And i hate Paua fritters too. May as well eat a shandal! I am thinking of trying to import some kumara seed so that i can grow it out here, it has such a special taste – the NZ sweet potato.. c

  21. Fish & chips sounds delicious. It reminds me of Frank McCourt when he licked the newspaper that wrapped his fish and chips and his tongue turned black from the ink.

  22. As soon as you wrote the word “sausage” I was hooked and started thinking of dishes with sausages in them. I mean can you tell I’m hungry LOL. Loved reading this

    • Yeah brats are not so bad, but in NZ we have a huge range of sausages.. every butcher makes his own, not lilke yours tho.. c

  23. I was initially shocked before when I saw people using newspapers for wrap in fish and chips, I thought that only happened in the Philippines where we put bakery items on old telephone book paper. Anyways, I loved the rugby game and it was awesome, so proud to be here in NZ, GO ALL BLACKS!!!

  24. Oh my! So many things I didn’t know about NZ!
    I should print this out for future reference – just in case I should go there.

  25. No wonder so many South Africans move to NZ – there are a lot of things in common! Except maybe the weather? I think you would love SA, C, you should visit 🙂

    • Well yes the weather in NZ can be cold. And when it is cold it is a kind of wet cold and it gets straight into your bones, I would love to get out to SA one day. i want to sit on someones porch with a gin sling and watch giraffes walk past! .. c

  26. I´ve been, loved it and fortunately had already perfected the Italian and Spanish eyebrow twitches so managed to “translate” them!! Didn´t know about the TF though…very funny 🙂

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