One of the best things about living in Taiwan is the abundance of great food at low prices. Since I am somewhat of a pig, I love eating. In New Zealand, I was looking forward to having some mouth watering steaks, lamb chops, sausages, meatpies and other foods we take for granted in the west, but are too pricey or not easily available in Taiwan. I was spending buckets of cash (NZ is more expensive than Canada) going to restaurants and gorging on western food.
So, when I heard about something called the “Collingwood wild food fair”, my inner portly cherub started singing with pure joy.
The deal is NZ$ 25 (US$ – 20 ish) for entry, then an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord. Seafood, meat, breads, pastries – everything. Not a bad deal – so the Collingwood wild food fair HAD to happen.
On the auspicious day of this event, armed with a raging appetite and the budget for the days food, I happily handed over the money to a smiling gentleman at the gate and proceeded to drive into the campground where my heaven awaited.
It was set up like a country fair – stalls next to each other with an open area in the middle. There was a stage (truck) set up where a band (2 people) were playing country favourites (Kenny Rogers, Garth Brooks etc…). There was also an area set up for kids to play (inflatable waterslide, bouncy ball area).
After the initial look-around, my growling stomach reminded me why I was here, so I hustled over to the food. Most of the food stands looked to be mostly BBQ areas with different types of meats. The first one was seafood. Here’s the menu:
It was all free and unlimited. Quashing my initial instinct to get 4 of each, I tempered it down to 1. There were still many stands to go. The mussels were deliciously large and juicy, the sauces – stong and flavourful. Washing this appetizer down with some water, I went over to the next kiosk.
A huge, jolly Kiwi smiled as I approached. He was sweating over a BBQ while his assistant cut up the meat into smaller portions.
“What’ll it be?” she asked with a cute smile “Rabbit steak? or meatballs?”
“Both?” I ventured.
“Sweet as!” She slopped a nice fat piece of steak and some meatballs onto my plate. I wolfed down the steak, and only then had the presence of mind to take a picture, so here are some rabbit meatballs:
Moving on, I saw this at the next station:
Next to this and this:
Yes Please! Venison and goat are awesome, and I’d never had ostrich or kangaroo before. Unfortunately, I was intent on gorging, so the pictures were taken as an afterthought, but the signs give you an idea of the awesomeness being experienced at that moment.
As I carried on down the line (passing and eating all types of fish, steak, pastries and at one point wallaby – I wasn’t even sure what that was at the time!) I continued to ride on cloud 9, totally forgetting to take pictures.
Finally I approached the last stand:
It’s a little unclear from the picture, but this stand had pig brains, pig eyes, pig snouts, lamb liver, chicken heart and (I think) sheep kidney.
Now, Taiwan has more than it’s own share of new culinary experiences – kind of expected in Asia, but I didn’t expect to have the same thing in New Zealand. Delighted, I tried everything except the snout. For some reason, I felt uncomfortable biting into a pig’s nose. Yah, I know – eyeballs and brains are kosher, but not the snout – go figure! Here’s a closer look:
The rest of the fair was rounded off with some pastries and a bar, neither of which I had room for. I’d gone up and down the line 3 times, and was totally satiated.
Profanity alert….it was fucking awesome!
We left a short while after (having stayed about 2 hours) to continue our travels. I later found out that had we stayed, we would have been able to partake in pig and sheep roasts which happen towards the end of the day. Bugger!
The Collingwood wild food fair is held as a fundraiser for the local rugby team. The treats offered vary every year, and it seems the longer you stay, the more stuff you get to try. Researching up more on this, I found out that New Zealand has more of these kinds of events – on a larger scale than what we experienced in Collingwood.
Here’s a website for the Collingwood, NZ event: http://itson.co.nz/2013/2973-collingwood-summer-food-fair
And for a larger fair in Hokitika, NZ: http://www.wildfoods.co.nz/index.cfm/1,51,0,0,html
So if you are in Collingwood area at the right time, make sure you check out this wonderfully meaty affair. Here’s where it is: