Today is Auckland Anniversary day so I thought I’d make a relevant post. I know I already talked about the Auckland Seafood Festival on my last post. However, that was just a tidbit and today, I’m sharing my experience of the actual festival as I went on Saturday night and I was able to try the food on offer.
I also wanted to post this because you still have a chance to go to the Auckland Seafood Festival because it’s on today from 11am – 4pm. If you fancy some great seafood, head over to the city and also enjoy Auckland’s day.
If you haven’t been to the festival, this year’s payment system is through a shell card.
You get the shell card before you enter and this is the only currency that will let you buy food inside. $1 = $1 shell so you don’t lose money. There is a $2 bond for the card which you get back at the end of the festival when you exit.
I think this is a pretty good system because it saves the stalls from longer queues if people have cash or card. They just scan the card for payment and they tell you how much balance you have. There were a few top-up kiosks too and people roaming around so you can top-up while you’re sitting by the table.
I went on the Saturday night session from 5pm – 11pm and as you can see from the photo above, at around 6pm, it was still hot and bright in the city. It was a scorching summer day. There are two ‘stages’ inside. The one above is the chill lounge which is by the Zomato stall.
I took this photo from the launch. This is The Sound Shell area. It was so busy and packed when I came so I couldn’t take a proper photo. At night, they had Josh Keys, Clicks, Anika Moa and Tiki Taane playing.
Moving on to food…
This was the first thing I tried which are dumplings from the House of Dumplings.
They were seriously good dumplings. The dumpling wrapper are all handmade and the texture and thickness were spot on. I love how they have different styles/colours for each type too.
We tried the Japanese Sake Fresh Salmon Fennel Celeriac, Crystal Prawn Garlic Chives and the Cantonese Chicken Fresh Coriander. They were $2.50 and I think they were worth it.
I liked the illustrations on their stall too.
For the sauce, House of Dumplings have their own sauces: Mum’s Sauce and Chilli Oil. Mum’s sauce is tangy soy and the latter is szechuan and peppercorn. I opted for the Mum’s sauce because I can’t handle spicy food.
Moving on to the basic but a kiwi essential, the classic fish and chips.
I got this from Fillet n’ Fries. This stall only offers only the fish and chips or just a cup of chips. I got envious from seeing other people eat it so I got myself one.
It has a crumbed market fist, fresh cut fries, tartare sauce and side of coleslaw. For $10, I think this was a pretty good deal. You can’t beat fish and chips on a summer day.
The service was just okay though but I can’t blame them too much because it was so busy and it wouldn’t be difficult to stuff or forget orders when you have to constantly bring one out.
I think this year, the layout is pretty good and there were plenty of tables and chairs and areas of shade. You can get a map when you enter which has all the stalled and the full menu from each one.
I liked this because the menu had all the prices listed as well.
If you get thirsty, there were a few drinks stations too especially if you want beer or wine. We opted for Charlie’s Juice which is my favourite anyway.
It got pretty packed as the night went on. The stalls are placed one one side though so there were plenty of space to walk around. I remember when I went 2 years ago the stalls were in the middle and it got a bit chaotic.
I was a bit safe this year as I stuck to what I already know and like. However, one day I’ll try this 100% paua on bread. For me, it looks a bit scary but people were lining up for it so it must be quite good too. This was from the A Touch of Aotearoa stall.
There were also non-seafood options and dessert stalls. There’s the famous churros stall and french crepes. I didn’t try dessert as we went to Milse afterwards. The oysters and scampi were selling like hotcakes. I think for oysters, they’re pretty reasonably priced at the festival.
At the Clevedon Coast Oysters, you can get a half shell 6 for $10. At the Kono-Kiwa stall, bluff oysters were 3 for $12 and at Sanford Oysters, 6 freshly schucked bluff oysters were $24.
When I looked at the menu, the most expensive food at the festival was a combination of 6 oysters + champagne for $38 and it was from Oysters and Champagne stall. The crayfish half tail was a close second.
Overall, I had a great experience at the Auckland Seafood Festival. I wish I planned it out more and didn’t get so full so quickly though. I really need to venture out of my comfort zone too and try other seafood. I love prawns, crab, calamari and fish in general but oysters and mussels aren’t my favourite.
If you do love seafood though, I highly recommend going to the festival and as I said at the start of this post, you still have a chance because it’s still on today. If I’m not mistaken, if you’re going to Laneway music festival, you can get a cheaper ticket at the ASF too which a sweet deal.
Because it’s Auckland Anniversary Day, there’s also the regatta in the morning and some fireworks at night. Whatever you’re doing, I hope you enjoy your day and that you’ve had a great long weekend. It sucks we have to go back to work but we have another long weekend coming up.
If you haven’t seen my previous post about the ASF launch plus my outfit photos, click here.