Smoked snoek

Never having been to South Africa, and was wondering what these things were and taste like:

QUOTE: “I have lived away from South Africa for a long time and never stopped pining for native treats, especially SNOEK. Once, I found some smoked snoek that someone imported to Taiwan, but I remember it has being somewhat PAP. Peppermint Crisps and Peck’s Anchovette are now, thankfully, available here. Mrs. H S Ball’s Chutney: I have never met a South African who does not pine for that product.”

I could claim now to be a Snoek expert having travelled the country for decades, but really I have no idea what I am talking about, same as you. So we could open up a “I do not know anything about SouthAfrica” club and maybe try some of their local beers in our conventions.

Nevertheless, if you simply google, you will get:

Snoek (Thyrsites atun) is a medium-size, pelagic predator (max. size 9 kg; Nepgen, 1979a) inhabiting the coastal waters of the temperate Southern Hemisphere; it is found from the surface to the seabed, to depths of 550 m (Kailola et al., 1993). Occurring off southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the east and west coasts of southern South America, Tristan da Cunha, and the islands of Amsterdam and St. Paul (Nakamura and Parin, 1993), snoek have successfully colonized environments as diverse as oceanic island, west coast upwelling, and subtropical convergence ecosystems. It is an important food fish throughout much of its distribution, supporting moderate fisheries (<1000 metric tons [t]/yr) off southern Australia, Chile, and Tristan de Chuna, and substantial fisheries (>10,000 t/yr) off New Zealand and Southern Africa (Andrew et al., 1995; FAO, 1997).

Nevertheless, smoking it will probably inhibit its predatory ability.

Nevertheless, if you simply google, you will get:

Snoek (Thyrsites atun) is a medium-size, pelagic predator (max. size 9 kg; Nepgen, 1979a) inhabiting the coastal waters of the temperate Southern Hemisphere…[/quote]

Thanks, Honest Bob, but I want to hear the response from some who has tasted the stuff for real. Google doesn’t do it in this case. Waiting for alleycat to chime in.

I grew up on Snoek. Smoked, pated, braaied, fried, deep-fried, stewed…

Essentially it’s a peasant fish: Oily and bony.

Yet it is utterly delicious, or so I remember.

We bought them from the back of fishermen’s pickup trucks:

The other treats you mention:

Peppermint Crisps: A candy bar filled with green peppermint crystaline stuff that looks like that stuff from the start of Superman. What’s it called again.

Peck’s: Mashed Anchovies, coloured pink (otherwise it would be all grey and disgusting), spread. Great on toast with a cuppa sweet milk tea. Recommend using condensed milk in the tea.

Mrs Balls: Sweet Chutney used to liven up mediocre curries and stews. Alos good on boerewors rolls.

Thanks, Alleycat.

  1. What does PAP mean? QUOTE: “I remember it being somewhat pap.”

Not very tasty? Not fresh? Oily?

  1. RE Peck’s: Mashed Anchovies, coloured pink (otherwise it would be all grey and disgusting), spread. Great on toast. Can we buy any here in Taibei?

Pap is Afrikaans for soft. Never seen any SA products anywhere except for Ceres fruit juices.

Well, start importing!

Well, start importing![/quote]


Some of my friends here in the 80s boycotted Ceres fruit juice because of the situation in South Africa at the time.

Dang Liberals. :wink:

That’s so funny. Years ago when I was a student in this study abroad program here this old American couple in the group made this big point about that as well and would give anyone a hard time if they caught them drinking it. That juice was one of the weird things about Taiwan at the time–tons of crappy nothing and no variety at the supermarkets with the exception of the South African juices in 80 different flavors.

lane119, there is a short article by Calvin Trillin in The New Yorker of a few months back about snoek. Trillin, famous American glutton, wrote about a SA friend who turned him on to snoek years ago. If you’re American, you’ll enjoy it, I’m sure; he’s pretty amusing, imo. Trillin writes funny poetry, too.

PAP means the snoek is soft, and that’s bad. In fact, I believe that a famous Afrikaaner saying exists - something like ‘bad as pap snoek’ or something similar, only in Afrikaans - that’s used in the vernacular to indicate disgust with some thing. I obviously don’t speak Afrikaans; maybe Alleycat can help supply it here?

From what I got of it, snoek suffers the same connotation in SA as does carp in the US. Some people love it, others don’t. Like carp, imo, most of the bad rap snoek gets seems to come from where it feeds (bottom) rather than on just how that geography ‘ruins’ or influences its flavor.

Trillin wrote a very funny piece a few years back about hunting Cajun boudin* blanc in New York City, not finding it (basically), and having a friend in Louisiana ship it to him in NYC; ultimately I think he led a kind of consumer revolution in his neighborhood that culminated in a boudin joint opening there and Trillin being happy because he can now ship good boudin to his outta-the-nest daughter. If you have access to any back issues, you’d probably enjoy both articles.

*–It’s a sausage; like snoek, if improperly prepared boudin really, really sucks.

boudin (boo-daan) is delicious stuff. as cajun as it gets, and food is a way of life for the cajun.
Boudin blanc or boudin rouge (only if its fresh).
Boudin blanc

Are these meant to be South African? Grew up with both in Australia. Yummy. Peppermint Crisp(s) are great - love the way the innards break into violently green shards. Peck’s has a whole line of meat- and fish-based sandwich spreads, if I recall correctly. Very intense, very salty, and didn’t keep for very long so they came in tiny jars. Nice on sandwiches and crackers. If anywhere, they’d probably be in Jason’s, which seems to import a lot of stuff commonly found in Oz.

Now there’s a FISH!!
Snoek commonly occurs in the sea off the Western Cape and is VERY common in Cape Town and surrounds. Buy them fresh off a truck or bakkie, go home & light the fire, and braai the whole snoek in tinfoil and garlic & lemon butter. THE most delicious thing EVER!! Smoked snoek is, well, just snoek that has been smoked. Fantastic on sandwiches and in salads, or just like that.
The one thing that I love more than Mrs Ball’s chutney is All Gold tomato sauce!!