After over 150 posts of me talking about myself I want to hear about you! I want to hear the all time best foodie experiences of you guys – my foodvixen readers. It doesn’t have to be fancy and it certainly doesn’t have to be expensive – the best meals are often the cheapest meals! For me food is all about the experience – who you dined with, where you dined or what you ate. It doesn’t have to be overseas, it could be a memorable picnic on the Cairns Esplanade or fish and chips at Palm Cove… Whatever is it I want to hear about it! For those of you that have followed my blog some of you might remember me recounting my top foodie experiences in previous posts but for those of you that missed it, I’ll recount one more time in the hope of unlocking some of your top foodie experiences.
1. Peking Duck in Beijing – I travelled to China for the first time in 2006 and as part of the tour we were on my family and I ended up at a restaurant in the heart of Beijing. I had never had Peking Duck before – the world famous dish that actually originates from Beijing and was first prepared during the Imperial era – nor did I know what it entailed. The duck was sliced in front of our table by the chef and then the waitresses showed us how to eat it with spring onions, cucumber, sweet bean sauce all wrapped up in a little pancake. The thin and crispy skin of the duck was out of this world and to this day I still dream about returning to Beijing to eat their amazing Peking Duck.
2. Oysters in Florida – Before the big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – 2004 to be exact. My family and I did an RV tour of the USA and we stopped in at the Eastpoint Oyster House in Florida for some fresh seafood. There is nothing my family loves more than fresh seafood – apart from my sister who only just discovered wine (yes she hasn’t quite grown up yet). We bought 12 dozen oysters to eat between three of us – me, mum and dad. The oysters were only US$3.99 a dozen if you shucked them yourself. Having owned a seafood factory for many years my dad was and still is no stranger to shucking oysters. He would also tell you he once won a prawn peeling competition against the prawning peeling ladies that worked at his factory. What he won’t tell you is that he cheated and those ladies should have beat him hands down. Anyway we sat out of the front of the Eastpoint Oyster House on a rickety old table overlooking the Apalachicola Bay, surrounded by mountains of discarded old oyster shells and ate dozens of Apalachicola Bay oysters straight from the shell with savoury biscuits, hot sauce and lemon. Absolute bliss.
3. Chicken Biryani in Colombo – I travelled to my mother’s birth country in 2011 where I did a three week Intrepid tour with my cousin. The first day that we arrived in Sri Lanka we found ourselves at a rundown little restaurant on the main strip not far down from the famous Galle Face Hotel. We had no idea what to order so we pointed to what everyone else was having which turned out to be the best Chicken Biryani of my life for all of about 200 rupees (about AU$2). Although I was the only female in there the owner made us both feel very welcome, in fact he was beside himself with excitement at having some Australian tourists dine at his humble roadside restaurant. It was the perfect beginning to what was an amazing 3 week adventure in Sri Lanka.
4. Stand up noodles in Osaka – Tachigui soba is a fast food that is unique to Japan and literally means ‘standing up eating’ soba noodles. I first travelled to Japan in 2009 where my friends and I stumbled upon a tiny Tachigui soba bar in the Osaka suburb of Fukushima (no not that Fukushima). The four of us crammed into the noodle bar on a cold and wet day and slurped our steaming hot bowls of noodles with a couple of friendly Japanese business men who found it all highly amusing. It was my first introduction to stand-up noodles and I made sure that I returned to this very place in my most recent trip to Japan in November last year.
Others moments worth a mention are gobbling up cherries the size of a baby’s fist at the Salamanca Markets in Hobart, baby back ribs in a dingy bar in Nashville, a birthday picnic organised by my love MS and courtesy of Davy at Mama Coco at Lake Eacham, a 10 course degustation atop the Rialto in Melbourne at Vue De Monde also with my love, xiao long bao amongst Chinese breakfast-goers in Shanghai and fish and chips on Bondi Beach in Sydney. I could go on forever here because I have had some truly memorable foodie moments in my travels. As you can tell I love food and I love travel but this was only supposed to be a relatively short post. Now it’s over to you x
New on the scene on the corner of Shields and Abbott Street in the Cairns CBD is Frydays Fish and Chippery which has been open for a few weeks now. Driving along Abbott Street it’s a little hard not to notice the bright blue neon signs advertising the new eatery. After driving around and around for a park early last week so I could grab some groceries from Woolies I ended up finding a park near Frydays and went over to have a look at their menu. The menu at Frydays Fish and Chippery is pretty much stock standard for what you would normally find at a Fish and Chip shop with a few more gourmet options like Sweet Potato Chips and Tempura Batter thrown in. There is everything from burgers to salads to Coconut Crumbed Prawns with over 10 different types of sauce to choose from including Nahm Jim and Goats Cheese Aioli (yum!). The prices on the menu at Frydays are also very reasonable and it’s nice to see somewhere not charging through the roof just because of their location.
Looking for somewhere to grab a quick dinner before I flew out for work last Friday and so I didn’t have to rely on the ‘Curry or the Pasta’ on the plane MS and I went to Frydays. We went in for dinner at about 6.30pm, just in time to catch all the bats leaving for the evening much to the delight of the tourists. The corner of Abbott and Shields Street is a very busy corner and certainly a prime position for a Fish and Chip Shop, although obviously not a prime position for just any cafe since the last two (Harry’s and some New York Pizza place didn’t last very long). MS and I sat down at one of the communal type benches on the Abbott Street side of Frydays and had a look over the menus. MS had whinged and complained that he didn’t want to go somewhere with greasy food for dinner but since it was my so called ‘last supper’ he didn’t really have a choice.
In the end he found something on the menu that he wanted and I went up to the counter to order – Two pieces of Spanish Mackerel with Tempura Batter (AU$8 each), two serves of Sweet Potato Chips (AU$5 each) and a ‘Tasty Tempter’ of Lemon and Parmesan Herb Crumbed Calamari (AU$9.50) with some Garlic Aioli for MS and some Cocktail Sauce for me. In the end it came to just over AU$36 which I thought was fairly reasonable. The guy that served me at the counter was helpful and friendly and I noticed about 5 or 6 staff in the back. The place looks to be pretty much entirely run by backpackers and although the owners are locals they weren’t anywhere to be seen. I sat back down at our communal table and noticed a couple of American tourists at the table next to us, a backpacker waiting for his takeaway at the end of our table and a couple of locals (I think) sitting at a small table on the Shield Street side.
After about five minutes a waitress bought out a glass of ice with a can of Coke for MS and then about five minutes later our food arrived – each fillet served on a bamboo cutting board alongside the a bowl of Sweet Potato Chips with a small bowl of green salad. The Lemon and Parmesan Herb Crumbed Calamari came out on a separate board inside a small deep fryer serving basket, a super cute way of serving it. On the side was the small dish of Tartare Sauce and another small bowl of green salad.
Firstly, I noticed that both of our Mackerel fillets had the wrong batter. The batter that we had on our fish was more like the other option of Beer Batter rather than the light and crisp Tempura Batter that we had ordered. It was thick and greasy, as you would expect Beer Batter to be but we didn’t take it back since we were pushed for time with me having to fly out in the next hour. It was nice but like I said it was too greasy and I couldn’t finish all of my fish (I always finish my fish) since the grease filled me up too much. The Sweet Potato Chips were beautiful and sweet with just a slight crispness to them. Although I thought the serving size was a little bit small for AU$5 in the end I couldn’t finish them all anyway. The sauces that we ordered were stuffed up and instead we received one Tartare (so that meant we had two because one came with the Calamari) and one Garlic Aioli. I caught one of the waitresses attention as she walked past and off she went to fetch a small dish of Cocktail Sauce. She replaced a Tartare with the Cocktail Sauce and took away the extra Tartare. She could have at least left it. What if I had already dipped one of my chips in that spare Tartare? Was it going to someone else for them to dip their chips in it or down the drain? My guess is the first one.
The Calamari was lovely and tender with a really yummy Lemon and Parmesan Herb Crumb enveloped around it. Upon ordering at the counter I asked the guy serving me if it was local squid to which the other guy listening in the background replied that it wasn’t sourced in Cairns but it was indeed Australian squid. That’s all I wanted to know and I was more than happy with that answer. I thought that the serving size for the squid was very reasonable for AU$9.50 and although MS and I did our best to eat it all we couldn’t finish it. I think the fish took up just a little too much room in both of our stomachs. The one thing that I must comment on is the dire state of the three green salads served to us. Each of them looked like they had been sitting in the little bowls all day and looked very withered and tiresome. Neither MS or I touched our salads and I kind of got the feeling that we weren’t the only ones that hadn’t touched those particular salads on that particular day. I had a look at the salads in the window and there are a few other salads to choose from with your Fish and Chips like Potato Salad and Cous Cous Salad. I am pretty sure these ones cost extra which is why we just ended up with the plain old green salad (with an emphasis on old).
Despite the greasy fish and the ordinary salad I did actually enjoy my meal, MS however did not. He claimed that the food was too greasy. I tried to remind him that we did in fact just dine at a Fish and Chip shop so technically it was always going to be greasy. What does he know about tasty food anyway? Most of all I enjoyed the proximity of Frydays in relation to everything that was going on. It’s a great spot to people watch especially, as I said, in the early evening when the bats are flying over. Tourists really are absolutely captivated by them. I like the fresh and vibrant design of the place and the communal benches out the front (there are tables for those that don’t want to sit at a communal bench). The service was good although we did get asked by two waitstaff how everything was within about five minutes of each other. That will all iron out over time. I think with few minor tweaks with the food and service and the owners of Frydays Fish and Chippery are most certainly onto a winner. Up until Frydays turned up Cairns CBD was lacking in the fish and chip shop department so it’s opening can only mean good news for locals and tourists that enjoy a bit a fried food (I know I do).
Frydays Fish and Chippery
Cnr Shields and Abbott Streets, Cairns QLD 4870
Ph: (07) 4041 1918
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun 9am – 10pm
After a big weekend of adventures for MS and I (no Amateurs for us) we didn’t feel like cooking nor going anywhere for dinner last night. With a penchant for something deep fried we both decided on a good old serve of fish and chips for dinner. We tried the Earlville Fish Bar but their phone rang out. We drove down to Sheridan St to Sheridan Gourmet Seafood to see if we could get some there but by all accounts they appear to have closed down. So we went a little further along to another Fish and Chip shop on Sheridan St near the IGA (can’t think of the name) but apparently they had run out of squid. That was a deal breaker (I WANTED SQUID) so we drove further along to Ocean World but they close at 7pm. After a bit more driving around we ended up on Pease St at Ramsden’s Fish and Chips and after some umming and ahhing we ordered a serve of chips, two pieces of battered Spanish Mackerel, 5 pieces of Salt and Pepper Squid, 5 pieces of Calamari and some Tartare Sauce for AU$24.40. It was good, not amazing and the serving size was ok but I guess I am still stuck in 1998 when a couple of bucks got you a mountain of chips from the takeaway shop across the road from my high school. Anyway, the purpose of this post is to find the Best Fish and Chips in Cairns. As a local I am ashamed that I have no idea where to get good Fish and Chips anymore so I am calling on my readers to help me out. Where can I get the Best Fish and Chips in Cairns?