As a child growing up in working class England, a packet of fish and chips was a bit of a luxury and seen as a Saturday night treat. I was the one that ran down to the chip shop, stood in the queue and insisted on chips “fresh out”. At that time, cod was the only fish available but that’s now changed. The raping of the North Sea by huge sophisticated trawlers has resulted in the total shortage of good quality eating fish including cod.

Fish and Chips - Tasmanian Tradition

Fish and chips: Tasmanian tradition (photo by Roger Findlay)

Fish and Chips: Buy Them Now

by Roger Findlay

Bruce, down at the Dunalley Fish Market, has been in the game for many years and has regular contact with those that fish the southern seas. Like many others, he strongly opposes the intent of a Triabunna businessman in bringing a Super Trawler out of Holland to fish the waters around Tasmania. It is rumoured that the FV Margiris will be catching jack mackerel for feeding farmed salmon and (at a later stage) farmed tuna.

Fish and Chips - Dunalley Fish Market

Dunalley Fish Market: fish and chips (photo by Roger Findlay)

Because of the shortage of good eating fish, the prices have escalated to an unrealistic level. For those just wanting a packet of fish and chips at the right price, Bruce has had to change the fish species he uses. He told me that people won’t tolerate price rises but they are receptive to changing the type of fish they eat.

Dunalley Fish Market

For $10, Bruce presented me with a huge packet containing chunks of flake, Australian salmon, tuna and hand-cut chips. Marvellous value and enough to keep you going for a week!

To many, Bruce is seen purely as a fish and chip man but they would be wrong in thinking that’s all he’s ever done. In the past, Bruce worked for the Red Cross on humanitarian projects in several third-world countries. I admire the man and I love his fish and chips too. Good onya Bruce!

Fish Bar, King Street, Sandy Bay

The Fish Bar in King Street, Sandy Bay serves a good plate-full. It’s a combination of fishmonger and café with liquor licence. I had been here before when it was really busy but this time, half-way through the afternoon, it was quiet.

Fish and Chips - Fish Bar

The Fish Bar: Sandy Bay (photo by Roger Findlay)

I chose a fillet of fish from the window and asked the smiley gentleman for a photo. In no time at all the grilled fish and chips were presented to the table with salad, lemon wedge & tartar sauce.

A lovely plate-full for around $23 with a soft drink. Not a massive portion of fish but it was cooked to perfection. I would say that the Fish Bar fills the gap between a chippy and a restaurant where you would pay much more for the equivalent. Try it and let me know.

Fish and Chips - Fish Bar, Sandy Bay

Fish and chips: The Fish Bar (photo by Roger Findlay)

Childhood Memories of Fish and Chips

As we sat huddled around the fire in our two bedroom terrace house, my hands were kept warm by the heat coming through the dripping infused pages of the Guardian Journal that housed a translucent cod fillet with chips from a King Edward potato. My mother read her paper while blowing cool breath onto a hot chip.

Daddy began to sing a song he made up:

Fish and chips – all covered in golden batter
Oh to think of them, oh to dream of them
Makes you smack your lips
Fish and chips……

And the repetitive song went on and on until the fish and chips had gone. We were in paradise and couldn’t wait for next Saturday. For this to happen again, my dad needed some overtime at the Gas Board!

Editor’s Note ~ We left this message on our Facebook page…

It seems you can get a good serve of fish and chips all over Tasmania. Roger shares a couple of his personal favourites, and YOU can give your favourite chippie a plug too. Just scroll down to the bottom of the article and leave a reply telling us why we should all go there.

Obviously we welcome everyone’s thoughts about the best fish and chips in Tasmania, whether you follow us on Facebook or not, so comment away!

Roger Findlay spends all his holidays in Tasmania, then writes about the experience for Think Tasmania. If you’d like Roger to visit you in the name of research (so we can publish information about your business), please contact us.

Map: Fish and Chips, Tasmania…

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