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The Kai Kart is a small trailer not far from the elementary school, anchored to the ground and serving up a small assortment of fried fish, chips, burgers and other assorted deep-fried delicacies…and it will turn out to be the most satisfying of all the island’s dining destinations. We don’t know this at the moment, however, and just ask for two helpings of fried blue cod and chips to take the edge from our hunger. The fish is heavenly, with a deep buttery flavor I’ve never before experienced in a fish, and the chips aren’t bad either. In fact, this is the best fried fish I’ve ever tasted. With a sugary/lemony L&P soda (“World Famous in New Zealand”), it’s an inexpensive, snacky delight. Our dining companions are a procession of sweaty, and often somewhat smelly, backpackers and trampers emerging from overnight and multi-day hikes, and they seem just as pleased as we are. (2/05)

Here’s something else about which we can feel good: the unparalleled excellence of blue cod. Back at the Kai Kart, ravenous after our long hike, we devour another delicious pile of fish and chips, smiling more than talking, lost in thought and emotion and in the hedonism of deep-fried goodness. I sample enormous fried squid rings and fried green-lipped mussels (the latter of which would be large-scaled heaven for devotées of fried belly clams), but neither quite lives up to the majesty of the cod. This is the Cod, our Cod. We shall have no other cods before it… (2/05)


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