As a kid, fish and chips were always a family favourite once a fortnight for a dinner treat or whilst on a picnic with friends. I grew up about five minutes away from the beach so there were about 10 different fish and chips shops that we could pick from.
In the almost four years I’ve been in Canberra I’ve had a near-constant craving for fish and chips. All that salty, battery, deep fried, lemony goodness. Absolutely terrible for your arteries but your tastebuds love it. Canberra is severely lacking in fish and chips shops! The only one I know of is just across the border in Queanbeyan at the little Karabar mall. From the few times I went there, everything was great except their fish. It was kind of floury and over battered. I have been told that there used to be a couple of places out Belconnen and Tuggeranong way but have inconsistent trading hours.
In the lead up to penning this piece, I asked a few Canberra-based friends if they had noticed the lack of fish and chips in the Capital and it seems I am not alone. Most people I spoke to had an immediate reaction of sheer disappointment that this deep fried deliciousness wasn’t really a ‘thing’ in Canberra. I assumed that perhaps this is because fish and chips are a ‘coastal’ food, but some of the people I spoke to were from country New South Wales and western parts of Sydney and they had a handful of fish and chips shops there.
I’ve always thought that if you opened up a little fish and chip takeaway store down at Lake Burley Griffin, possibly near Waters Edge restaurant, (I know there is a small takeaway shop down near the bike hire but from what I can remember they only do burgers) it would make an absolute killing in summer and on the evenings of public events like SkyFire. You could add on a little gelato bar and you’re set. There are not many options for food when you are down at the lake for a bike ride or walking your dog so I think a new addition of fish and chips would go well. However, in the middle of winter on an icy-cold Canberra night I don’t think customers would be fighting each other to get down to the lake for a piece of barramundi, so business might lag some months of the year.
So where are all the fish and chips shops hiding? Do they exist? Or do Canberrans not share the same love of potato scallops and calamari and chips with chicken salt that I do?
If there is an amazing fish and chip shop tucked away in an obscure suburb I would love to know about it.