buying snoek

Muizenberg Beach, December 23rd 2014, 11AM:

We are looking for Snoek, a delicious fish (actually of the Baracuda family) and a local specialty of the South African Cape area. So where to find such a rare delicacy? Forget the local grocer, we are heading to the beach to see if we can find a fisher who sells freshly caught Snoek. Rumor has it, that they are on Muizenberg Beach, so that's where we are heading that day. And sure enough after quite a long drive along this breathtakingly beautiful beach, there they are: at an intersection alongside the road we see a group of fishermen setting up a makeshift shop and most importantly unloading cases of freshly caught Snoek. All of this is quite an exciting scenario: A group of men argue in a mix of languages of Afrikaans and English, the fishermen shout out commands about the set-up of their little stand. I almost got caught in a net used to build a 'roof' over the merchandise, and I barely dare taking any photos, since this entire operation has a decidedly illegal feel to it.

And then it's suddenly our turn. Which fish? 60 Rand, which equals roughly 6 US dollars, and that's for the entire fish! A nod is all it takes. The fish is now cleaned with a scary looking knife, the main fisher, who seems to run this entire operations, is doing the cleaning himself, and amazingly skillfully so. The main body of the Snoek is subdivided in steak size bits and the whole thing without bones, head or tail ends up in a simple plastic bag and...in my hands. Why all of that feels like a victory is unclear to me, but we are driving in the most elated state of mind.

Later that day we start a fire, and grill the entire fish. The fresh taste of the Snoek, the special flavor of this local delicacy and the memories of buying it right on the beach that same day make for unforgettable memories.

Can't wait to return to the Cape, and to have some Snook!