March 8, 2013

NZ Bucket List: crayfish on the beach

Eating crayfish in Kaikoura is pretty much the first thing you’re meant to do on this east coast town of New Zealand’s South Island.

The name Kaikoura is the Maori word for eating crayfish (kai = food/eat, koura = crayfish/rock lobster for you non Kiwi readers). You’ll find take away shops and the famous Nins Bin (below) serving up the fresh crustacean cooked the way you like it all over this sleepy little seaside town.

So that’s exactly what we did. We drove just north of Kaikoura and found the windswept caravan on the seashore, chose our freshly caught critter and ate it, accompanied by a bottle of local sauvignon blanc of course.

Nin's Bin Kaikoura
Order your cray inside and sit at the picnic table or down on the beach. Magic!

Last week I put that tick on my New Zealand bucket list.

Miriama Nin's Bin
Miriama whipped up our cray and if you point the Eftpos machine out the door, you can pay on credit

Nin’s Bin is the photogenic caravan that features in all the guide books sitting in a car park on a remote part of the seashore about 15 minutes north of Kaikoura. But in fact there are several stand alone caravans like this and back in town, loads more takeaway shops sell crayfish.

If you haven’t picked up a cheeky Marlborough sauvignon blanc from one of the many wineries between here and Christchurch – or here and Blenheim if you’re coming south, then pop into the bottle store in the surprisingly bustling town of Kaikoura. You can also get a chilled one, which is nicer and your next mission is to find some plastic cups.

But don’t worry about opening the bottle, all our white wines are screw cap in New Zealand!

Then head off to Nin’s Bin. Make sure you have some money to throw around too because these delicacies from the sea don’t come cheap. Expect to pay what you’d pay at the local fish monger or supermarket. They’re priced on weight/size and range from NZ$60-$90-ish each.

Already precooked, the shell is bright orange and Miriama used her very practical sword of a knife, which is fixed to the wall to slice it in half, pick out the poo pipe and serve it with wedges of lemon either cold or she’ll throw it in a hot wok with garlic butter for an extra $8. I know, that’s a lot for a slab of butter!

But hey, I figured I’m here now. And how can one put a price on a Bucket List tick?

Nin's Bin crayfish
This is the life!

About Megan Singleton

Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!

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