By Karen Leiva
One of my most favourite travel and food memories is from a fish fry in Galapagos Islands. My partner and I had heard the fish fry happens every night; the only direction to find its location was ‘near the pier.’ It would be impossible to miss it: fishermen were docked bringing in their hauls from the day, while others were lined up around stalls cleaning the fish by the water.
All that fish attracts a lot of attention, particularly from hordes of pelicans surrounding the cleaning stations. At one point, I realized there was even a seal in the middle of a swarm of pelicans also trying to get its share. And, if you look over the pier, you’re bound to see small reef sharks coming up for whatever left overs are thrown overboard.
Alongside the commotion, one family set up a barbecue area with deep fryers, preparing the catch of the day along with slices of fried plantain, rice, onions and a spicy salsa. The first time we went to the fish fry, red snapper, lightly battered and fried, was served up whole – head and all –on our plates. There really is nothing as good as ocean to plate! It was simple, but delicious.
Over the course of the next week, following extraordinary days of swimming with seals, hiking and turtle spotting, we returned as often as we could to the fish fry. Every time, the catch of the day varied between tuna and snapper, but on the last day we had a special treat: langoustines, a shell fish similar to a lobster.
We sat on the small make-shift patio while a local dance troupe performed modern dance at a nearby square, entertaining tourists and locals alike. All the while, the pelicans kept fluttering by while we dug into our dinner of langoustine and snapper. It really couldn’t get much better than that!